Papad and Wadiyan
Papad and waditan in amritsar and location Outside the Temple are many shops and dhabas catering to pilgrims and the casual tourist. I was told the best place to buy the famed spicy Amritsari wadis and papads was right there. I picked on one that claimed to be dealing in these commodities for over a 100 years. Seemed like they would know what a good wadi should be.Wadis are available with varying degrees of spicy-ness. I naturally, asked for the spiciest ones. Then I had to pick between 'with or without plums'. Hmm... with plums sounded nice, but plain ones are classic. So I got both. When I was paying for them there was some confusion regarding which were which - after discussing at length I managed to confuse the shopkeeper as well . To tell you the truth, I couldn't tell even after cooking, unless by some strange coincidence, I ended up keeping all of one kind for myself and distributing the other between family and friends. Family and friends, those of you with better sense of taste, please stand up and let us know if you detected any note of tart plums in yours.
When choosing papads I had a choice between mild, medium, and hot. No prizes for guessing which ones I bought. The traditional Punjabi papad is much thicker than the Punjabi masala sold by Lijjat. Thick papads are best served fried - the hot oil aids thorough cooking. The thinner one can be cooked on a open flame, over coals, in the toaster, or even the microwave oven.
Wadi-making is a household industry all over Punjab and every maker has her own take on the spices to use. The main ingredient of Punjabi wadis is some kind of lentil, soaked and ground, combined with spices. The Amritsari wadis are made with urad dal and spices such as whole peppercorns, and crushed red chillies. A handful of the spicy batter is impressed with the thumb to create a small hollow and put to dry in the sun. When dry they may be stored in airtight containers for months. Wadis made with moong dal are called mangodies and are less spicy.
I remember wadis at times such as now when the heat is trying to sap our energies and kill our appetites. A tiny bit of wadi, fried in a little oil before adding the aromatics, make the taste buds sit up and take notice, and gets the juices flowing. If you have never used these before, you'll be amazed at how aromatic a tiny piece of wadi can be. The flavour is concentrated and intense and I find one piece quite sufficient to use in a dish for six people. Of course, the wadi may vary in size. Punjabis, like the Kashmiris, mostly tend to think bigger is better - so traditional wadis are large - half of a tennis ball in size.
The wadi finds its way into many vegetarian preparations in the traditional cuisine of Punjab. But wadi-aloo is a classic, and the only way I know !
Some other Punjabi ways with the wadi ::
wadi with radish (mooli-wadi subzi)
wadi with eggplant
Here is my take on the Punjabi classic:
(Potatoes with spicy lentil-chunks)
4 medium floury potatoes (such as Agra potatoes), peeled and cubed (3/4" cubes)
1 Amritsari wadi, crushed into uneven bits not larger than 1/2"
One bunch spring onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 t (heaped) coriander powder
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t red chilli powder (omit if you like it mild)
1 t cumin seeds
pinch of heeng
1 T oil
1/2 C chopped coriander leaves and stems
Prepare all the vegetables. Heat oil to nearly smoking in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds followed by the heeng. Stir and add the wadi pieces. Fry till browned - maybe a minute or less. Add the onions (white parts first) and fry till they become translucent. Add the potatoes and stir around for a minute. Add the remaining spices and stir till fried; a couple of minutes. Add the onion (green parts), tomatoes, salt, and half of the coriander leaves. Stir again for another minute, add a cup and a half of water and cook under pressure for 7 minutes. Let the pressure subside. Add the remaining coriander leaves and serve with roti or rice. A bowl of yoghurt or raita is a good accompaniment.
The Punjabi beans like Kabooli Chana and Rajma entered my mom's kitchen when Kapoor aunty became my Moushi's neighbor. My moushi (maternal aunt) who used to live in the same neighborhood as ours, imported all those authentic Punjabi recipes to our home.
Punjabi Chhole (Chickpeas)
Chhole bhature is an absolutely decadent treat that is a must-try if you visit Delhi. It is one of Delhi's many Punjabi specialties. It is also something I cook less often. Only because of a personal preference for rajma (red kidney beans). I have been working on that for the last six months though.
Permanent link to Pindi Chole/Chana
Pindi Chole/Chana (Ek) December 4, 2007 at 6:24 pm (India, Pakistan, Punjabi, Rawalpindi, channa/ gram, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, legumes/pulses- whole or split) Yes, I know I ought to be blogging about pecan pie, mashed potatoes, Lithuanian mushrooms and beets, Hungarian
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Paneer Pyaaz Paratha
Onion Cheese Parathas ~ Stuffed Indian flat bread Ask anyone? Parathas are all time favorite for Indians and that too if you have it at Dhaba or at your Punjabi friend's place. My recent indulgence with parathas is quiet a story. I love trying different types of stuffed parathas, and amongst them aloo, gobi and mooli are my top favorites.