Koozh vadams are crisp accompaniments to south Indian meals, made from raw rice and sago. These beloved snacks are first fermented, then sun-dried and stored in air-tight jars, to last for several months.
Vadams, or sandige (in Kannada) and vadiyalu (in Telugu), are made of fermented and lightly cooked rice gruel. They are first dried, then deep fried until they puff up and become airy, crisp morsels that can elevate even the most boring meal. Read more about their fascinating history here.
Koozh Vadam Recipe
(Makes approximately 20 vadams)
1 cup raw rice
1/4 cup sago
3-4 (or to taste) green chillies
1 tsp jeera 1 tsp
1/2 tsp carom seeds
Salt to taste
2 cups water
Soak the raw rice and sago pearls overnight in 1 cup water (or enough to soak them thoroughly).
The next morning, grind both into a very fine batter, adding a little of the soaking water at a time. Make sure the batter is fine and not grainy or lumpy. It should be of pouring consistency, but not too watery.
Allow the mixture to ferment for a few hours for the vadam to acquire a slight tang. You could also omit this step; it will not make a big difference to the final flavour.
Grind the green chillies separately into a paste.
Heat a nonstick pan or kadhai, add the batter to it and season with salt, green chillies and carom seeds, if using. If it is too thick, add a little water at this stage.
Cook it on a low flame, while stirring continuously until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. It should look glossy and still pliable.
While the mixture is still warm, wet your fingers and roll it out into small balls.
Spread them out evenly on a plastic sheet covered with a clean, white cloth or on a steel thali. Allow them to dry in direct sunlight for at least three or four days.
Store in an airtight container, and deep fry in oil as needed.
For other flavour variations, try finely chopped onions and coriander, or chilli powder.
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