The hall was absolutely silent as the speaker went on to an interesting part of his discourse – Krishna’s dance atop the multi-headed snake Kaliya.
“Appa, I have a doubt,” my son whispered into his father’s ear.
The two of them had gone to a religious discourse-cum-bhajan session themed around Krishna last weekend. My husband listens to a lot of bhajans and slokas at home, and our son has taken after him. During weekends, the hubby often plays You Tube recordings of this particular religious speaker at home, and my son is a big fan of a few songs rendered by him.
“Shhhh…this will get over in five minutes. Tell me once it is over.”
“But all I want to know is how this uncle managed to escape from inside the laptop!” the little fellow asked, curiosity writ large on his face.
Needless to say, my husband had a tough time stifling his laughter.
Talking of Krishna, the last few days have been busy at home with preparations for Krishna jayanthi, the birthday of Lord Krishna. The day calls for elaborate preparations and decoration. Little Krishna’s footprints are made with kolam from the entrance of the house right to the area in the pooja room decorated with Krishna’s photos especially for the occasion. Many bhakshanams (sweet and savoury snacks) are prepared – murukku, thattai, seedai, vella seedai, thenguzhal and mullu thenguzhalare ones we most often prepare at home. Apart from these, some other items like payasam, vadai, aval and fruits are also offered for neiveidhyam – an offering to the Lord, which is partaken as prasadam after the pooja is over.
While I normally leave my mother-in-law to prepare most of the bhakshanams, I help her in shaping thattai and seedai. A few years ago, I had attempted to bake some of the thattais instead of deep-frying them. There were mixed reactions to them – my hubby and his colleagues were quite appreciative of them, but most others preferred the texture of the deep-fried ones. I thought the problem with the baked version was that they felt somewhat gritty compared to the traditional ones.
This year I wanted to try hands at baked thattais using millet flour instead of rice flour. I also wanted to give the butter a miss, since I was hoping to share them with a couple of vegan friends. So, I used organic coconut oil in place of butter. To give the thattais a richer mouth-feel I added more coconut oil per cup of flour than the quantity of butter.
I also remember flipping the thattais midway when I baked them last time. Today, I upped the temperature a little and baked them like I bake cookies. Though you definitely can’t compare with deep fried thattais, these definitely taste good and not gritty like they did last time!
Millet thattais – baked
Thinai (foxtail millet) flour * – 250 gm
Urad dal (Black gram) flour~ – 3-4 tbsp
Coconut oil – 4 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – a few, chopped
Roasted gram – 1 tbsp
Dry coconut (kopra), grated – 3-4 tbsp (you could use fresh too)
Water – as required
*I ground 300 gm of thinai at home in the mixie and sieved it a few times. I had about 50 gm of more coarse flour left in the sieve that I saved for other use. Use fine flour for the thattai. You could use store-bought thinai flour too
~ Dry roast whole urad dal till it becomes fragrant; do not to let it turn red/brown. Grind it into a fine powder once cool. Use this to make thattais.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Add coconut oil and rub into the flour
Add enough water (roughly ¾ cup) to make soft pliable dough (like you’d make for pooris)
Preheat the oven to 190 deg C
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Drizzle some oil on the paper and spread on the paper
Pinch out rounded ½ tbsp-sized balls of dough and flatten them out to circles with 2-2.5 inch diameter directly on the parchment paper. I could fit in about 10 thattai per batch
I also oiled my fingertips and dabbed the flattened thattais with the oil. This is optional
Bake in the 190 deg oven for about 20 minutes. You might need a few minutes less or more, depending on your oven and the thickness of the thattais
Cool completely and store in an airtight box
Note: I got about 2 dozen thattais with these measures
PS: I must apologise for the poor quality of images. My camera is under repair and this is the best i could manage with my phone camera!