Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My World: Winter Wonderland and Guntapanganalu

The city and its suburbs crawl at a snail's pace in the face of snow storms, much to the amusement of a certain Chicago native who has taken up temporary residence in the city. The last time the city shut down in January due to a heavy snow fall and his two daughters stayed home from school, he did not hide his disdain for us wimps.

There is just no comparison, however, between DC and Chicago when it comes to extreme winter weather. We may get a handful of winter storms a year - just enough to keep the kids happy, and the parents and schools from pulling their hair out. So this area just does not see the wisdom in spending millions of dollars on preemptive management of snow storms.

Perhaps that criticism, however undeserved, stung - DC schools decided to open late rather than shut down completely yesterday. Schools in the suburbs felt no such compunction. The snow day alert went out to the parents even before the first snow flake floated down to the ground.

By the time morning rolled around, that decision certainly appeared wise. The Washington area had its first real winter storm of the season. Thick, powdery snow hung heavily on the evergreens and formed neat beds on the deck, patio, railings and steps.

The sun came out a little while later. While it made no dent in the piles of snow all around, it did make interesting patterns.

A woman walked her dog in the woods, stopping occasionally to take pictures. The dog saw its chance and gamboled away out of shot. The woman had intended to continue on, but when there was no sign of her dog, she retraced her steps in the direction from which she came.

A snow day, lots of shoveling and the cold weather all pointed to a hot, spicy brunch. So guntapanganalu it was, with coconut chutney. For those who don't know, guntapanganalu are small, round, roasted puffs made of dosa batter to which finely chopped onions, green chillies and coriander leaves (cilantro) have been added. They are made in a special cast iron pan, usually with about seven pits (in Telugu, guntalu - hence the name for the dish), placed directly over the flame.

My mother, who is on a perpetual quest to make my life easier, had purchased a non-stick version before I went to India the last time around. They are infinitely easier to handle.

Dipped in spicy chutney, they are delicious. The problem with these, unlike the regular dosas, is that you lose count of how many you eat!

If you live in the US and don't have one of those pans, kitchen equipment stores sell pans for making sweet pancake puffs. From what I've seen, it seems like you could use that pan to make guntapanganalus. Now I've taken to making pancake puffs in my own non-stick pan too. They turn out great and the kids have a blast pouring syrup over the puffs.

All in all, a good snow day.

To check out more MyWorld posts, visit That's My World.


Ugich Konitari said...

These have got to be what are called "appey" here. And although eating them frequently at a friends place never left me time to find out the recipe :-), your blog has clarified everything. Wonderful.

Yes. The snow looks wonderful. But not a patch on the appey !

Louise said...

I,too, live where snow removal equipment is not an investment. At the first flake of snow, school is delayed,then canceled. (They mean well,but it never melts off in 2 hours.)

Yours is beautiful. I especially love the porch photo.

Anonymous said...

I loved that picture on the porch! Sooo beautiful! And so different from where I'm at right now!
Greetings from West Africa,

Kavi said...

Resembles something we call Paniyaram ! And the version with the Jaggery addition is my favourite !


Arija said...

Love your photos, especially the one with the seat on the verandah. Would adore to join you with those delicious pancake puffs!

Indrani said...

Hey, I got carried away in the end... what a combination of cool stuffs and hot stuffs. :)

Unknown said...

Lovely photos, but the guntapanganalu took precedence over all the other pictures for me. I also want non stick pan to make those in.

Praba Ram said...

oh yes! I remember that pan...you make awesome pancake puffs, don't you? my 6 yr old still talks about 'em and she actually slurped her tongue when I showed her the picture... I need to invest in one of this...and the snow equipment! :-)

hey, I made pooris y'day - speaking of human nature in your earlier post - the craving to make something puffy and hot in this cold, cold weather! :-) been enjoying all the reads! :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, that was quite a heavy layer of snow, and the kids were just thrilled to bits! So was I, since I got some good pictures of them playing outside :)

I first had guntalu a few years ago here, apparently my side of teluguland don't use it... In any case, they are amazing in versatility and also I've found that the Germans have an exact same dish. The pan's available on Amazon, and now I shall go buy it! :)


Sylvia K said...

Really beautiful shots! We've all had lots of snow this year! I would definitely like to enjoy your brunch! looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

OOh Paniyaram! Drool....with Maggi Hot and sweet ketchup. Torture...that is what this is!

You know there are two versions of this pan? The shallower one, which is what you seem to have is Paniyaram in Tamil...the deeper ones are appams - and while appams are traditionally sweet, my mother used to make this savoury version of appams when we were kids...in the traditional brass appa-kaaral which weighs a ton. I actually like it better than the non-stick version I have - paraoia probably, but I keep imagining chemical smells from mine :-)


Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Ugich, I like your sense of priorities! :) Now I hope you will make some appeys and let us know how they turned out!

@ Louise, thank you! That porch is half the reason we live in this house. :) We were in New Mexico during Thanksgiving of 2007. Loved how the snow transformed the landscape!

@ Kavi, how do you make that - just add grated jaggery to regular dosa batter?

@ Arija, thank you for evoking wonderful memories with the use of the word verandah. Gosh it's been so long since I heard that word!

@ Indrani, thanks!

@ TGFI, your priorities are straight too! Me like! Head on over to Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon as Rads suggested. :)

@ Praba, awwww. Thanks and come back and we'll make some more!

@ Rads, wow, didn't know about the German dish. And yay for Amazon! Hope you have fun making it!

@ Sylvia, wish there was some way to magically transport them to you and Araji. Glad you liked the pics!

@ M, love the traditional ones too. I have one with me, but it's a pain to clean it. It gets greasy and gets stained very fast. But I know exactly what you mean about the chemical smells. They usually go away after the first couple of uses though.

Also, I thought appams were much larger than paniyaarams right? But smaller than dosas? My mom just made those in the regular pans.


Anonymous said...

Have seen it on the food blogs, looks damn cute
For people like me who can never ever make dosa but would love to eat one, this should be the solution


Carver said...

Great post and beautiful shots of your winter wonderland.

david mcmahon said...

Thank you for the visit and the kind comment.

My favourite is definitely the porch photo.

Snow is so very different from our scorching (and scorched) landscape right now.

Choxbox said...

awesome! the snow landscape looks edible too!

karrvakarela said...

I think I need to pay you guys a visit. When are you making guntapanganalu again?

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Sandeepa, I hope you try it. You'll love them!

@ Carver, thank you!

@ David, thank you for visiting. Glad you like that pic. I have numerous shots of the porch in different seasons, but my favorite is the ones of winter. And I really do hope you guys get some relief soon.

@ Chox, thanks!

@ KK, whenever you get here. :)

Anonymous said...

those look yummy:) and am sure, not easy to monitor while eating them all. MY world entry is up too.

Catherine said...

ooooooooh! ALL That snow is wonderfully beautiful...at a distance!!

Nino's Mum said...

Beautiful pictures Suj: you've that rare house, one that looks beautiful in every season, that becomes a part of every new feeling. Thought of you when I read the news of the snowing in, saw some lovely pictures of people sking next to capitol hill.
And while I have never had guntapanganalus (quite a mouthful!), they look super addictive. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think diameter defines Appams, as much as content. My grandmother told me that the traditional Appa-Karal is from Kerala, so when she was younger, Tamil Appams were made pretty much like Adirsams, in a "bandli". Once appa-karals were avaialable in TN, everyone switched over, as it was easier to make them that way. Paniyarams (Kuzhi-Paniyaram, if you want to be technical) were always made in this kind of pan, but were a specialty of certain communities, so only owned those pans.

And my paranoia on non-stick goes a long way - I've had my non-stick one for 5 years now, and I *still* think it smells :-) It doesn't help that this is the only non-stick pan I own.

It's not cold at all where I live (TX), but your post inspired me to make them yesterday, to the great detriment of dinner :-) :-)
BTW, a quick substitute: our local whole foods clone place has pancake mix in bins - it is unsweetened, so I just add the seasoning to it, and make it with that - tastespretty decent.


Anonymous said...

Where we live, it's just enough for a scanty version of the snow storm you are talking about to declare it a 'bad weather day' :) We live near Dallas, TX and snow is such a rarity that the system here is not equiped to handle even the slightest snow-fall that occurs a couple of times during the entire winter!

Those 'Paddu', that's what they are called in mangalore kannada, looked delicious. I have the same non-stick pan like yours'. I think i am gonna try making those today:)

Anonymous said...

Sujatha, I love the snow, only in the movies or pics :))
Can't handle it in real life, I guess that's why I love living down south in Dallas, TX (phew!)
But every time I miss the snow :) I fly over to Toronto, Canada or Buffalo, NY where my cousins live and enjoy it from the warm indoors :)
Luvly pics btw...Photography ka shauq hai kya?
I found my way here from Siri's blog btw :)

DotThoughts said...

yum yum yum. The guntpangloos look delish. That's what my grandmom calls them. It just brought so many childhood memories.

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ M, wow! Thanks for the info. Clarifies things! And thanks for the tip about the flour. I'm so glad you got to make it yesterday. Was debating whether to include those two pics. Now I'm glad I did! :)

@ Lak, did you see the Ellen video from a couple of weeks back? Gladys was talking about exactly what you said. :) Let me know how the paddus turned out!

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Lubi, welcome! Glad to see you here. And thank you. Yeah, love to take pics. Some of them turn out good. Most of them not. :(

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Marites, going over right now to check it out. Thanks for visiting.

@ Catherine, :). Thanks for visiting. Loved the lent story on your blog.:)

@ NM, thank you. We feel the same way! :) Let me know if you want me to send you the recipe. Very easy to make, actually.

Anonymous said...

Oh yum, I am so hungry now...

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Khara Chutney and guntapanganalus .... yum yum yum !!!!!

Unknown said...

Nothing beats a crispy dosa for me, and they're not that hard to make, but these look intriguing!

Is there pulya in these, mixed in the batter? I assume you have to precook any extras like onions?

An interesting alternative to dosas, or even idlis! Will definitely look for a pan like that.

Cheers, JOHN :0)

अविनाश said...


Sujatha Bagal said...

@ John, no pre-cooking nuthin'. Just add everything raw, but make sure the onions (and green chillis if using) are chopped finely. There's no palya in this either. Very easy to made. Just one step added to regular dosa (adding onions and coriander and chillis) and a different shape. That's it.

@ Siri, CA, :)

@ Avinash, thanks. :)

Vani said...

First time here. Found you when I was searching for a CKC, Mysore site. Loved your winter pics and from the few posts, your writing as well. Will be back later for a more leisurely look. Nice to "meet" a fellow-CKCian! :)

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Vani, hi! Nice to meet you too! When were you in CKC. Looks like we might have a nice little CKC group going here. CA (Cantaloupe's Amma) is from CKC too. Glad you like my blog. Looking forward to seeing you back here. :)