Drumstick Fritters,Yam Fries and Picnics

Late last night I had a brain wave. I was thinking about the various dishes that had to prepared for the next week's theme of Blogging Marathon and that's when it occurred.

I was thinking of so many occasions and totally missed Picnics!! How could I forget!!

Growing up in a hill station has its own advantages. There are some disadvantages as well,but I am not going to elaborate that now.

One of the biggest advantage is the climate. It is cool through out the year and really cold in winter and I loved that climate.

The one thing that we would look forward to is the summer vacations. The main reason- No school or homework and since we lived in the hill station we used to have guests all through summer. That was fun too. But the most happiest part of summer vacation is the picnics that we used to go.

Mom and her friends used to organize picnics to the famous Botanical gardens. We friends, most of us in the same age group ,would be so excited and wait for that day with all eagerness.We would have visited that place hundreds of times yet going on a picnic with friends was special.

Mom and her friends used to plan the menu for the day. Each one would take up a meal or dish. One would plan a rice variety and another aunty would plan for the side dishes. Then there were snacks and drinks. The best part would be mom asking me suggestions on the menu. I would feel so grown up and important!!

When the actual picnic day came, there would be no need to wake us up. We would be ready without being told to hurry up and we would leave early to avoid the tourist rush.

We kids used to run to our favorite tree and 'book' the place while mom and her friends carried the loads of food for all of us.Large bags with huge ever silver containers of food and plenty of bottles of juice and cans of water would be the major 'luggage'.Everything was home made.

After rounds of playing games and running around, it would be time for the mid morning snack. They used to make us sit in a huge circle and distribute snacks and drinks which we used to enjoy and eat.Everyone around us, especially the tourists would watch us with amusement.We never really bothered about that though.

Then it would be time to take a look at the botanical garden.Mom and her friends would relax under the shades of the tree .After having got up very early to get the dishes ready and herding us to the Garden, they did need a few hours to relax and catch up with some gossips.We kids used to wander around the huge Botanical garden area Probably it was safer in those days to let the kids wander on their own!

Around 1pm we used to return to the place where mom was and get ready for an elaborate lunch. There used to be  many dishes and side dishes that we would feel stuffed at the end of it.None of the moms used to mind the way we ate or how much we giggled for no reason at all.

After lunch it would be time to rest. Naturally the heavy lunch made us sleepy. We used to laze around on the lawn and keep giggling and talking about everything possible other than studies of course.

Just before it was time to leave, we used be served some snacks and cool drinks and we would take a long walk in the garden before heading home....

I miss the place and my friends and of course the picnics.

When I came up with this theme last night, I decided to get a few suggestions from Lil Angel's side and take her on a picnic.

When I told her my idea,she was eager to go on a picnic and gave me suggestions on pairing the dishes. She was jumping excitedly and asked me if I was taking her to the Botanical Garden. She has heard this picnic story so many times that she relates picnics to the Botanical Gardens!

Since it is not feasible to go there today,that place being miles away from where I live now, we went on a picnic to out backyard.No jokes...Seriously that was the best place we could go.

Under the trees and the advantage of being able to rush into the house in case we forgot something for the picnic, I felt it was the most ideal place.Luckily Lil Angel loved this idea and joined in.

So the whole morning I was cooking and baking for the picnic which started around noon!

Picnic Menu

Mid morning snacks

Drumstick vadai / Murungakkaai Vadai
Lemon tea and Pink guava juice


Tamarind rice
Curd rice and pickle
Yam fries

Tea time snacks

Marble cake
Rose milk

Let me start with the mid morning snacks...

We have a huge drumstick tree in our backyard. This year we are having a bumper crop of drumsticks. For the past 3 months, almost everyday , drumstick finds its way into the kitchen and makes its presence felt in sambar, more kuzhambu and dry curries.So today I made vadai with it.....

Lil Angel wanted pink guava juice. I wanted a cup of hot coffee with the fritters but she suggested lemon tea and I readily changed my mind.

Lil dude slept through most part of the backyard picnic.....

I used:

Gram dal-1 cup
Toor dal-3/4 cup
Drumsticks -3
Red chillies- 2
Saunf - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves a few
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry
  1. Soak the dals and red chili for 2 hours.
  2. Trim the edges of the drum stick and cut it into 3" pieces and pressure cook it for 3 whistles.
  3. When the pressure releases, gather the pulp and keep aside.
  4. Drain the water from the dals and grind to a coarse batter without adding water.[ If needed sprinkle a little water.]
  5. Remove it into a container and add the pulp, saunf, salt, chopped curry leaves and mix well.
  6. Heat oil for deep frying.
  7. When the oil is hot , make small balls of the batter, flatten it lightly and gently drop it into the oil.
  8. Cook till it is golden brown on both sides.
  9. Remove with the slotted spoon and serve hot with chutney / tomato sauce. 

Tamarind rice or Puli sadham and curd rice are eternal favorites of picnic goers and travellers in South India. So that is what I made today. Tamarind rice and curd rice are Lil Angel's favorite and she loves those colourful crispies.....

I tried a new way to make yam fries and it was a great side dish for curd rice...

For yam fries I used :

Yam / Senaikizhangu - 1 small, peeled and cut into big cubes
Corn flour - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Garam  masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

  1. In a large vessel bring water to boil. 
  2. Add the turmeric powder and the yam cubes. Cover and cook till yam is 3/4th cooked.
  3. Drain and keep aside.
  4. In another bowl make a batter of corn flour, salt, chili powder, kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and coriander powder.
  5. Put in the cooked yam cubes and mix well so that the batter coats the yam pieces. Add more corn flour if needed.
  6. Heat oil for deep frying,
  7. When the oil is hot, drop the batter coated yam cubes and fry till golden brown.
  8. Drain well and serve as a side dish.

Finally it is tea time. Lil Angel wanted rose milk to go with the snacks. I made a marble cake and marble cup cakes and served it with sev and rose milk.

By the time I was done clicking and we sat for the picnic, only 1 cup cake survived!

I shall post the marble cake recipe later in the blogging marathon this month...

Today we were lucky to have an over cast sky so that was a real blessing for us.These kept us company when we enjoyed the day in our back yard. Lil Dude got up just hen we were ready to have the cake and he enjoyed his share with a huge grin.

I was pretty tired after cooking the whole morning and later clicking them all but all that vanished when Lil Angel told me that she loved the picnic and enjoyed all that I had prepared.What else do I need to feel rejuvinated!!!!

Before I finish this post, here are a few clicks of my favorite Botanical garden...

Our favorite tree.We loved sitting under the shades of this tree....

Last year we went there on a one day trip and mom and me recollected those lovely days as we walked though the garden...

I will be back with yet another occasion and dishes fit for it in my next post for this marathon...

Labels: , , , ,