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Updated: February 20, 2014 17:07 IST

Soft, crisp vadas!

MOUSHMI KISHORE
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Vadas are the traditional favourite of south Indian cuisine.
Special Arrangement Vadas are the traditional favourite of south Indian cuisine.

Vadas are a popular snack countrywide. Try your hand at these tasty variations

Crisp on the outside and soft inside, vadas served with chutney, taste delicious. Dahi vada is popular everywhere in India. Different communities have their own variation of this recipe. Dahi vadas can be eaten separately or as part of a meal. The vadas can be made in advance and refrigerated. You need to soak them in hot water before serving. The curd has to be fresh. Some like to add sugar to the curd, or temper it with curry leaves and mustard seeds, or garnish it with tamarind chutney. Vadas are part and parcel of south Indian cuisine. You may use moong dal instead of urad dal, or a combination of different dals for making them. Grind the batter with enough water to make a soft, but not watery, dough. It’s the consistency of the batter that determines how soft and shapely the vadas turn out. Take care to make vadas as soon as the batter is prepared, as they will take in too much oil if left to ferment. You may add a little maida while preparing the batter. The vadas will be soft. While frying these, you have to start with hot oil and then reduce the flame, to cook the dal without scorching the outer surface.

Here are a few easy-to-prepare vada recipes.

Beetroot Vadas

Ingredients:

Beetroot: 250 gm

Channa dal: 125 gm

Cashew nuts: 50 gm

Onion, minced: 1

Coriander leaves, chopped: a handful

Green chillies, minced: 2

Ginger, minced: 1-inch piece

Garam masala: quarter teaspoon

Cooking soda: a pinch

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

Method:

Peel and grate the beetroot finely. Fry the dal in a little oil to a golden colour and grind it to a paste. Fry the cashew nuts and pound them coarsely. Mix this with the rest of the ingredients in a pan, except the soda, and cook on a low flame, till the mixture turns thick. Remove from fire, cool, add soda, and knead to a smooth paste. Divide the paste into small balls and form each one into a round vada. Deep-fry in oil till golden in colour. Drain thoroughly and serve hot with chutney.

Banana Flower Vadas

Ingredients:

Banana flower: 1 small

Channa dal: one-and-a-half cups

Moong dal: quarter cup

Urad dal: quarter cup

Coriander powder: 2 tsp

Cumin powder: 1 tsp

Turmeric powder: quarter tsp

Chilli powder: quarter tsp

Garam masala powder: 1 tsp

Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp

Green chillies, finely chopped: 4

Onion, chopped: 1

Coriander leaves, chopped: A handful

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

Method:

Clean the banana flower by removing the thick stalk at the centre of the flower. Finely chop the flower and soak overnight in thin buttermilk. Soak the dals overnight. Grind them in a blender coarsely. Mix the chopped flower. Add green chillies, coriander leaves, ginger-garlic paste, chopped onion, all masala powders and salt. Make a batter thick enough to make vadas. Divide the portion into small balls and flatten with palms. Heat oil in a pan and deep-fry vadas till golden brown in colour. Serve hot with sauce or chutney.

Masala Vadas

Ingredients:

Urad dal: 200 gm

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Green chillies, minced: 3

Ginger, finely minced: 1-inch piece

Curry leaves: A few

Onion, chopped: 1 small

Boiled vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, shelled peas, French beans, tomato: 100 gm

Asafoetida: A pinch

Chilli powder: half teaspoon

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

Method:

Wash and soak dal in lukewarm water for two hours. Then drain and grind dal to a smooth paste. Slice all the boiled vegetables and mix in the paste, along with the rest of the ingredients. Form vadas out of the paste mixture and deep-fry to a golden brown colour. Serve hot with green chutney.

Dahi Vadas

Ingredients:

Urad dal: half cup

Ginger, minced: A half-inch piece

Coriander leaves, chopped: A handful

Green chillies, chopped: 2

Raisins: half tbsp

Almonds, sliced: 3

Pistachios, sliced: 6

Baking powder: A pinch

Fresh, thick curd: 2 cups

Garam masala: 1 tsp

Roasted and ground cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Chilli powder: half tsp

Chaat masala: quarter tsp

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

For garnishing: Tamarind chutney

Method:

Soak dal overnight in water. Drain and grind to a fine paste. Mix in baking powder, chillies, ginger, coriander leaves, salt and chilli powder and knead to a smooth mixture. Shape the mixture into small round balls or vadas, around a couple of nuts and a raisin. Heat oil in a pan. Deep-fry the vadas till golden brown in colour. Drain and then soak in hot water. Squeeze out water and place them in a deep, glass dish. Cover with chutney, then pour beaten curd on the top. Sprinkle garam masala, ground cumin powder, chilli powder and chaat masala.

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