1 medium Onion chopped
1 Tsp Mustard seeds (Rai/Avalu)
1 Tsp oil
1/2 rice cooker cup split black gram (Urad/Minappappu)
Ash gourd (Boodida gummadikaya)
Dry red chilli flakes (or chopped green chilli) to taste
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
2 pinches Asafoetida
A Cauldron of oil for deep frying
1. Wash minappappu, cover with 1" water & soak for 3 hours. Drain away excess water and grind into a coarse/grainy tight paste/dough (Do not grind it too smooth, the vadiyalu soak up lot of oil during deep frying if made with fine ground dough.).
2. Cut the Ash gourd into smaller manageable chunks, carve out the white fleshy part of the vegetable and discard the tough peel. Chop the white flesh into small (1/2") pieces. Set aside.
3. Add asafoetida, Cumin, chillies and salt to the Minappappu dough and mix in thoroughly.
4. Place the cauldron of oil on heat for deep frying.
Arrange a single layer of few Ash gourd pieces over your fingers (as shown in the photo), scoop up some Minappappu dough onto the Ash gourd pieces (again as shown in photo). Minappappu dough is a very sticky substance, so the ash gourd pieces stick together easily without breaking apart. Drop the dollop into the oil. Repeat until the surface of the oil is full of floating frying dollops. Fry them until they turn golden brown, stir them to evenly brown all sides. Remove onto a plate lined with blotting paper and set aside.
5. Remove leaves from Amaranth greens, discard the stems (You could use them to make Totakura Kadala pulusu). Wash the leaves in cold running water, drain in a colander. Take a bunch of leaves, chop them lengthwise & breadthwise so that they are fine chopped.
6. Heat 1 Tsp oil in a pan. When it is hot, add Mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chopped onion. When it browns, add chopped Amaranth greens & salt. Cover & cook until they are soft, around 7 minutes for the small quantity mentioned above. You may add a tablespoon of water if needed.
7. Mix in the Vadiyalu into the cooked greens, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve with hot rice and ghee.
You can alter the tempering as per your wish, like adding turmeric, more green chillies, include tamarind paste.
Culture & Health:
This dish is traditionally made with real 'vadiyalu'. The dollops of ash gourd-minappappu paste are dried in bright sunlight for two days and stored. These dried 'vadiyalu' are then fried and added to the Totakura.
Whereas, the vadiyalu described in this recipe are actually just a kind of vada/garey, a fried dollop of fresh dough, an instant/quick way of making vadiyalu.
This preparation is very good for health, the goodness of minappappu protein, green leafy vegetable (Amaranth) and Ash gourd, which is believed to be a very sacred vegetable full of positive energy according to Ayurveda/Yoga/Hinduism.
My sister taught me this recipe!