Amma Inikki Ribbon Pakodam Pannina (Amma made Ribbon Pakodam today!)

Amma Inikki Ribbon Pakodam Pannina (Amma made Ribbon Pakodam today!)
Ribbon Pakodam


It’s Monday and it’s that time of the day when the morning hustle-bustle is ebbing away. I’ve just concluded the breakfast session, Meera and Arjun have finished their morning lessons and are enjoying a well-deserved break. Raghav’s fast at work. My morning cup of tea is sizzling on the stove and I’m looking forward to sipping it at leisure.

I pick up the phone and call my mother. We’ve only said our hellos when my father announced – ” Inikki Amma Ribbon Pakodam pannina” (Amma made ribbon pakodam today). My ears perk up at the mention of the popular snack item. I quickly strain the tea and move over to the breakfast nook, find a comfortable spot by the window and sit there.

Amma continues to describe it – ” Romba nanna vandudu di, yennaiye kudikalai” (It turned out really well. Didn’t soak up too much oil at all). “Yennaiye kudikalai” being one of the benchmarks of a good bakshanam (a blanket term for South-Indian snacks). My legs are tired from a manic morning of making several batches of idlis and chutney, but I feel a familiar itch and an all too familiar voice whispering into my ears –Ask for the recipe!

So I ask Amma for the recipe and quickly recollect my ratios. You see, all recipes for bakshanams in Tamil start with a ratio – rendukku onu (2:1) or Yettukku onnu (8:1) as is in the case of kai murukku etc. Anyway coming back to ribbon pakodam, Amma says that it’s very easy to make and proceeds to explain the recipe in 3 simple steps.

“Rendarai Arisi Maavukku oru Kadala maavu Yeduthukko ( For every 2.5 cups of rice flour, take a cup of Besan).

Adula (to that) add some salt,red chilli powder, hing, butter or hot oil and mix well), she says.

The voice is louder now and is temptingly saying – You’ve never made Ribbon Pakodam before. if you start now, you can finish making it before it’s time to prep for lunch and get Meera settled for her next class.

Amma tells me the next step which is to add enough water to bring it into a dough neither too tight nor too soft. The rest I already know and I’m only half listening because I’m presently in the kitchen pantry rummaging for the ingredients. Keep the flame on low while pressing the dough into the oil and then increase the flame, I hear her tell me.

I’m still on the call with her when I measure out 1 1/4 cup of rice flour and 1/2 cup of Chickpea flour/Besan. To this I add, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp of red chilli , 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida) and 1 tbsp butter.

I tell her that Im going to make it right away and hang up before she could protest about overextending myself. Yendi izhuthu vittukarai (why are you straining yourself?), she’d often say

I quickly pull the dough together with less than 3/4 cup of water. I heat some oil in a kadai (typically, I’d do this first, but I was preoccupied). I fish out my Naazhi (mold) and insert the ribbon pakodam jaali (shape), which is like two slits on a round plate. I stuff some dough and press some of it into the hot oil. It cooks in no time. I check for salt and the spice level and its spot on. I make the rest of it in two quick successions.

Just as I’m finishing up making the last batch, M&A come to me asking for a snack. I dole out some of the freshly made pakodams and they LOVE it! I’m over the moon! “I told you it’d be worth it”, the voice says.

The kids demolished their bowls and I had demolished a severe case of Monday Morning Blues!


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