Food

A sneak-peak into Thiruvananthapuram’s own snack: the humble karavada

Karavada at Venkadesa Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram

Karavada at Venkadesa Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

Ask old-timers from the capital city and they tell you how the spicy dal fritters used to be ubiquitous before other fried savouries commandeered snack trays in tea stalls

 

It works like second nature for 70-year-old R Periyasamy as he rolls dough into large balls and carefully drops them into a vat of boiling oil. After a round of bhajjis and bondas, the ‘vada master’ at Venkadesa Bhavan in West Fort has got down to his speciality: karavada, or spicy dal fritters.

It is Thiruvananthapuram’s own traditional fried snack. Ask old-timers from the capital city and they will tell you how the humble karavada used to be ubiquitous before other fried savouries commandeered snack trays in tea stalls. Deriving its name from its distinct spicy flavour, the vada variety, which at first glance resembles a bonda, still has many eager takers in the city.

“I’ve been making karavada here for 28 years and it’s a snack that has always been quite popular in the outlet, perhaps because it’s not that common at tea stalls and hotels any more. Many like it as it’s crisp and spicy and is best had with coconut or onion chutney,” says Periyasamy.

R Periyasamy holding a tray of karavada

R Periyasamy holding a tray of karavada   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

 

A variety of lentils is mixed with doppi/ponni rice and urad dal as the primary ingredients, into which is added grated ginger, green chilli, curry leaf, asafoetida and at times a smattering of red chilli powder. The mixture is ground to make the batter and a wee bit of pattani parippu (yellow split pea) is added at the end. The dough balls are fried until the crust turns golden-brown and crisp, while the insides remain tender.

At Balaji Cafe at Vazhappally Junction, karavada is a hot favourite in the mornings and evenings. “We have always served karavada since the shop was opened in the 80s. In fact, it’s the first snack we prepare every day,” says Rama Chandran, owner of the hotel. Here, it comes with thenga chammanthi (coconut chutney) while sambar is optional. The snack also comes in the form of rasa vada at the eatery. “Though, uzhunnu vada and parippu vada are traditionally used to make rasa vada, karavada too suits well for the purpose. The flavour of rasam enhances the taste of the snack that then becomes spongy,” adds Rama Chandran.

Karavada

Karavada   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

 

At Potty’s Restaurant at Thampanoor, the spicy snack is even listed in its online delivery menu. R Suresh, owner, says thanks to the restaurant’s location close to the bustling transit point of Thampanoor, many travellers from outside the district often drop in to try out the ‘exotic’ snack. “Some have a go at karavada for the novelty factor. Sometimes, I explain to such customers what the snack is about. I jokingly tell them it’s parippu vada’s big brother,” says Suresh with a laugh.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2020 7:23:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/a-sneak-peak-into-thiruvananthapurams-own-snack-the-humble-karavada/article28890546.ece

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