When I made these vadaams last January, it was still winter and it was hot. Lately, I am beginning to see no difference between summer and winter in this part of the earth. A few years back, I was teased by people around for wrapping myself in sweaters during winter, but now, I don't remember pulling them out even once in the recent years. Now that the heat is on, Vadaams and pickles will be the talk of every household and almost every one of us will have a childhood memory of accompanying our mothers and grandmothers to the terrace while they made the vadaams, licking the cooked batter ignoring their warnings that it will cause stomach ache. The best part was, nibbling on the salty, spiced, half dried and half wet vadaams, that tasted more delicious even in its raw form.
It's a crazy obsession among south Indian women that no matter how old they are or ailing, they insist on making vadaams and pickles all by their hand and I still wonder how my grandmother was able to stir up a huge quantity of vadaam batter every year without complaining. Even though it involved braving the scorching heat, above the head and below the feet, this laborious task was performed with perfection, an amazing dedication and a unique quality that I see and admire in every grandmother on earth. I guess it their years of experience and the desire to impart their knowledge and skills on the next generation, that prevents them from sitting idle.
The following recipe for the vadaam is from one such old lady, who happens to be my better half's aunt from palayankottai. Inspired by her rice and onion vadaams that she brings us every year and since it tasted a little different and delicious than the vadaams made back home ( the addition of onion to the vadaam makes the difference) I adapted the recipe to use kodo millet to make these vadaams.
Kodo millet 1 cup
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Dried red chilly 1
Water 3 cups
Rinse and soak kodo millet for 3 hours.
Grind the millet to a fine batter and leave it to ferment overnight.
The next morning make a paste of cumin+Shallots+Red chilly and add to the fermented batter.
Stir in salt, asafoetida and 1 1/2 cup of water and cook on low heat stirring continuously.
When the batter begins to thicken add the remaining water and continue to stir until the batter is cooked and appears glossy. ( It is cooked when the batter does not stick to wet fingers when touched)
Spread a tbsp of the cooked batter on a greased banana leaf placed on a perforated plate and steam cook for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
Peal the vadaam gently from the leaf and spread on a baking paper and leave it to dry. Usually a day of sun drying is sufficient. Mine took 3 days, because I made them last January when there wasn't much heat.
If the batter by any chance turns into lumps, run the batter in a mixie jar until smooth and continue to cook till done.
If the vadaams are not properly steamed it will stick to the baking paper, so make sure it is well cooked.
You can follow the recipe using rice or any other minor millet.