Recipe & Food Styling | Millet Adai with Vegetable Avial – Choose a job you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Jack Canfield
I’ve been doing commercial food styling projects for over 5 years now, and it’s been an amazing journey so far.
The assignments that come my way are freelance projects, Ad shoots, magazine tie ups and television commercials of various brands and companies. I absolutely love my job, as every new project brings in the opportunity to meet new people and acquire different skill sets.
But off late, I was feeling a drift in my preferences towards still Ad shoots and magazine assignments over more tedious & hectic television commercials. The former requires you to pay attention to minute details and involves more food styling than a TVC (television commercial) which demands longer working hours and less of food styling.
“No pain, no gain…well, there are situations in life when you have to endure pain to make a difference and say yes to new experiences. I understand that a tvc is too much for you to handle, but it is wise to step outside your comfort zone once in a while.” my hubby replied casually while having a discussion about one another tvc over the dinner.
I have to accept that I wasn’t comfortable working for television commercials during the initial days and have rejected a couple of tvc shoots for the same reason.
But there are a few projects where the workplace was light and there was absolutely no stress at all. I am so glad that I have been a part of some of the wonderful production houses and projects in the city.
And the recent television commercial I worked for is no less. The commercial was shot by Kadhai films for Gold winner brand. Everyone in the production house made sure that I was comfortable right from the word go. The positive energy radiated by the young and talented trio, Hari, Farooq and Varsha created magic on the people around the set. No wonder that the shoot started and ended on a very happy note!
The shoot location was at the out skirts of Chennai and I had to start as early as 6 am in morning after cooking and packing breakfast and lunch for children and hubby.
I was given ample time to organize and plan about the shots and there were many tricky shots which I planned and got approved for the commercial.
First batch of flat Vadai for test shots..these Vadai are made to look flat and slightly hard to match the story-line for the commercial.
The actors, photographer and the director in action for the tricky Idly shot on day one.
And the table was set for the product shot with Idly, medu Vadai, Sambhar, masal vadai and various accompaniments to make it look like a scrumptious spread.
This was the last shot for the day, I suggested small gunny bags filled with lentils as props for the same. The bags were stitched in no time by the art department and the shot was completed.
Oh yes…happy endings are best achieved by clicking a group picture 🙂
The shoot on day one ended at 1.30 am and I reached home around 3 am. I barely closed my eyes and it was time again to start for the 2nd day shoot. Hectic it was…but to be true, I enjoyed my work so much that I never felt anxious or stressed out even for a minute on the set.
How true is the saying..”Choose a job you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life“.
The second day shoot ended little early and I was back home by 9 pm. I had already prepared Avial and the batter for millet Adai the previous night and it was easy for my children to help themselves prepare the Adai for dinner.
1. Savory Millet Crepes or Adai
- 1 cups of mixed millet
- 2 tbsp. green gram
- 2 tbsp. Bengal gram
- 1 large onion
- 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 3 dry red chilly
- 3-4 garlic pearls
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- A pinch of asafoetida powder
- Salt to taste
- Fresh coriander leaves or drumstick leaves
- Oil as required
Method; I use a mix of various millet to make Adai, Barnyard, foxtail, Kodo and little millet in same proportion.
Wash and soak millet and grams separately for 3-4 hours.
Finely chop the onion and coriander leaves.
Grind dry red chilly and garlic pearls with a teaspoon of water.
Drain excess water from soaked millet and grams and grind it coarsely in the same grinder with the ground chilly paste.
Take out the batter in a large vessel and mix salt, grated ginger, cumin seeds, finely chopped onion, coriander leaves or drumstick leaves and asafoetida powder in it.
The batter can be used immediately or can be left to rest for a few hours before making Adai.
Heat a tawa or skillet, pour a ladle full of batter on it and spread it immediately with the back of the lade to form a thin circle.
Drizzle a little oil around the adai and let it cook for 1-2 minutes till brown spots appear, flip to other side and repeat the same.
Serve this healthy Adai with chutney or avail.
2. Vegetable Stew or Avial
- 1 raw banana
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 100 gms Yam
- 1 drumstick
- Few flat/french beans
- 1/2 cup curd
- 2 tsp. pure coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. grated coconut
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 green chilly
Method; Prep all the vegetables and cut into 2 inch long pieces.
Boil all the vegetables with turmeric powder and about 1/2 cup of water in a large vessel or use a pressure cooker for quick cooking.
Cook the vegetables for just one whistle if using a pressure cooker, the vegetables should remain crisp.
Grind grated coconut, cumin seeds and green chilly into fine paste.
Add ground coconut paste and salt in the pressure cooker and let it simmer (without the lid) for 2-3 minutes.
Take out the cooked vegetables in coconut gravy in another vessel, add coconut oil and beaten curd in it and combine well.
Serve vegetable Avial with Adai or any other Indian dishes of your choice.
- The batter for Adai can be used immediately after grinding or can be left for fermenting for few hours before use.
- You can replace millet with raw rice and lentils to make Adai.
- A few teaspoons of raw rice added while grinding the Adai batter will make the Adai crisper.
- Make sure to chop the onion very finely else it will become difficult to spread the Adai evenly.