Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chegodilu - Crunchy, spicy yet light. Did I say 'addictive'?

Tomorrow is Groundhog's day and it is customary belief that the groundhog will come out of its burrow to see its own shadow. If there is a shadow, apparently it goes right back to its hibernation, continues to sleep for another few weeks but if no shadow falls, it starts roaming around on the surface :-), what was all that about? Groundhog feeling, sensing the arrival of Spring. And why am I talking about the groundhog day? Something strange seems to be happening and I am not an expert on global warming. It is Feb 1 and we haven't even had a decent winter yet(I know, my friends on the east coast will jump at me for saying this after being buried in inches of snow), where I live it has been a very mild winter with hardly any rains and last week we started to notice buds in our Camallia flowers and this weekend they have already bloomed and many petals have fallen on the ground with the wind!! No matter what the groundhog sees and decides to do tomorrow but I feel the plants have already sensed an early spring. Happy Groundhog's day anyways :-) and here is a picture of how our Camillias are looking right now. Pretty, aren't they?
Today also happens to be the Superbowl Sunday when most fans are either burrowed in their homes watching the game or actually watching it from the stadium. It has been a week of superbowl fever all over the place. Seattle very proudly is backing the home team and showing the pride in all conceivable (and some very imaginative) forms of support. Downtown Seattle is dressed up with various good luck messages on the buildings, we had a party and spirit day at work last Friday. The game started an hour back with Seahawks playing the Patriots for their 2nd consecutive SuperBowl trophy, game has just entered the 2nd half and Hawks are leading. We are watching the game (I am trying to type in this post while watching the game, I know that is not very 'fan'ly but I honestly can't sit glued to the screen especially when those ads are playing) at home, rooting for the Hawks.

Update at 7:05PM, Hawks lost, wish I had posted this out earlier. The final few seconds of the game was not really good sportsmanship at all :-(

Will tell you what happened later on if I haven't published this post before the game is over :-). I made some delicious sweet potato muffins, salad and a big bowl of spicy mixture made with rice crispies. Recipes will show up one of these days on the blog, I promise.
Onto today's recipe, I have some crunchy, crispy chegodilu - a deep fried snack from Andhra. Now if you have not heard the name before, here is a breakdown. I am told 'godi' is the metal chain lock used in old homes for protection. It refers to the shape of the snack. If this is too complicated to imagine, just think of modern day ear rings or hoops. Chegodilu (plural) resembles a thick ear hoop/ring. Now, if you follow my blog on a somewhat regular basis, you know I grew up in Karnataka. You probably are wondering why I am talking about chegodilu and not the famous 'kodubale' from Karnataka. I agree when you look at the pictures, it would scream kodubale for those of us coming from Karnataka but here is the difference.. before I explain the difference, let me tell you a quick anecdote.

Kodubale (I don't have the recipe on the blog, gasp, what a shame! given that it is my favoritest of all spicy snacks in this whole world), I promise I won't make you wait for too long, it is just that I want it to be perfect when I present it :-). I make Kodubale quite often and we have shared it with many family members & friends. Everytime I made this and we gave it to someone on BH's side, amma would say "not our chegodilu, kaani chaala bavuntayi" :-)"which translates to "not our Chegodilu, but these are very tasty too" which would pique me about the undiscovered chegodilu. I had to wait quite a few years to actually taste the real deal chegodilu and first impression for someone who grew up on kodubale was that they were very good, but not as good as Kodubale :)).
When I made them at home for the first time, DD took a bite and said, "Oh, these are chakbales ('Chak' from chakli and 'bale' from kodubale)" and I think that is a very apt name because the rice flour is unadultrated in this unlike the kodubale so you taste a hint of chakli. Hence our name for this delicacy at home is chakbale.

So what exactly is the difference between the kodubale and chakbale? Chakbale is made with rice flour, red chili powder adds the heat and asafoetida gives the sharpness. But kodubale is a complex combination of tastes and textures, much more balanced and will talk about it another time. These chakbales are quick to make, stay fresh for a week if kept in an dry, airtight container and finally very addictive (there goes the plan of keeping them for a week :-)). So let us get going to make some chakbales chegodilu before the winter wraps up completely and the groundhogs start to rule the world. Shall we?
What do you need to make Chegodilu?
2 cups water
1.5 cups rice flour
1 Tbsp soaked moong dal
1 Tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp red chili powder
1/8 Tsp asafoetida
6-8 curry leaves - chopped finely
1 Tsp oil
2-3 cups of oil to deep fry

How do you make Chegodilu? 
  • Add water in a pan on medium heat. 
  • Add soaked moong dal, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, red chili powder, chopped curry leaves, 1 Tsp oil and asafoetida and let it come to a rolling boil. 
  • Lower the heat, add rice flour in a continuous and slow flow to the boiling water. 
  • Mix quickly with a spoon, switch off, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat oil to deep fry in a wide pan. 
  • Take half of the cooked mixture onto a flat surface, dip your hand in cold water and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. This is important to prevent chegodilu from cracking.
  • Keep the remaining mixture covered. 
  • Take small key lime size balls of the smooth dough, roll them to resemble pencils, when you reach about 3 inches long, turn the two ends towards each other and press them together with a little overlap. 
  • Prepare a few (as many as your pan can hold without crowding) chegodilu. 
  • Once the oil is hot (my 'no thermometer' test for this is to drop a pinch of the dough and if it comes bubbling to the top immediately, then the oil has reached the right temperature), add the prepared chegodilu one by one in to the oil. 
  • Let them come to the surface on their own (do not disturb at this stage or they will break), flip each one over slowly to the other side. 
  • Let them cook (2-3 minutes) on medium heat until they are golden brown all around and the bubbles in the oil die down. 
  • Take them onto a tissue lined plate and let cool. 
  • Enjoy the crunchy Chegodilu with a cuppa. 
  • Store remaining (if any) in a ziplock or air tight container up to 2 weeks. 
  • Before kneading the dough, taste the cooked mixture for salt, spice level etc and adjust while kneading. 
  • If you are making a large batch, keep the unused dough covered with a damp paper towel so it doesn't go dry. 
  • You can make the chegodilu any size of your choice. 
  • These stay good for a couple of weeks if left untouched :-)
Wisdom from making it multiple times :-):
  • Instead of soaking the moong dal, dry roast it until light pink and add water to the pan to start cooking it. This gives you a pleasant & unexpected bite instead of the softer soaked moong dal effect. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow...mouth watering Chegodeelu with very attractive pictures. i must taste them. nice recipe and healthy too, because they are made of rice floor.

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Chakabales. .that's a nice name :) a fusion of chehodi. ..looks very tempting