Medu Vadai/Urad Dal Vada – Happy Pongal!
Wish you all a very Happy Pongal!! Hope all of you had a great day
Festivals always make you nostalgic, don’t they? Well, I become totally nostalgic on festivals and bore my husband with all the things I did back home as a child and make him nostalgic too..hehe…and he gets all excited and tells me about all the kites he had. And believe it or not, we have the same discussion every year hehe..
For those of you who are not aware of this festival in India, we celebrate it over three days. Its like our thanksgiving, after a bountiful harvest. ‘Pongal’ is a sweet/savory dish prepared with the newly harvested rice.
As a child, for me the best thing during pongal was eating sugarcanes to my heart’s content on the endless afternoons after school, sitting in our garden:). January is the sugarcane harvest season in Southern India. The place we lived in, was the city outskirts and thus we had a lot of sugarcane fields pretty close by. So in the harvest season we used to buy tons of sugarcanes, and I loved to eat them just like that, using only my hands and mouth, no cutting-into-small-pieces-using-a-knife :D. We would have all the kids in the neighborhood join us and what a gala time we had!! Sometimes I just want to be a kid all over again, huh!!
Yesterday’s menu at my place was all traditional..Chakara/Sakkarai Pongal, Uzhundu (Urad dal) Vadai and Arachuvitta Sambar!
Today, I’m posting the recipe for Uzhundu Vadai or Urad Dal vadai. These are very traditional south Indian snacks, that are made with soaked black gram. They are crispy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. My all time favorite! They look like donuts and are a little difficult to shape, it just takes some patience and practice. I did not have time to take step by step pics, but I shall definitely update the steps in near future.
Uzhundu(Urad Dal) Vadai
Urad Dal/Black Gram(skinned) – 1 cup
Green Chilies/Serrano pepper – 7-8 no.
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Curry leaves – 6-7(chopped finely)
Coriander seeds/Cilantro – 1 tbsp(chopped)
Onion – 1 small(optional but highly recommended,chopped finely)
Salt – to taste
Oil – for deep frying
Optional: You could also add some grated carrots and cabbage. For those of you who cannot eat onions on the festival day, replace onions with cabbage. Trust me, you wouldn’t know the difference!! Cabbage tastes exactly like onions in deep fried dishes.
- Soak the urad dal in water for at least 2 hours.
- Grind green chilies, ginger and soaked urad dal into a smooth batter, adding as little water as possible. The batter should be thick, creamy and not pourable.
- Add salt, curry leaves, cilantro and onions to the batter and mix thoroughly.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Now, shaping the vada is a little tricky and takes some practice. Usually the vada is in the shape of a doughnut. There are two method in which this can be done. You can take a small ball of the batter, and place it on a plastic sheet/leaf, greased with some water. Make a hole in the center with your finger and slide this into hot oil very carefully.
Alternately, if the batter is a little runny, I just dip my hands in some water, take some batter in my hand, make a hole with my thumb and slide it into the hot oil. This can be very very dangerous, so please do not try this if you are a novice. If both the above methods seem difficult, just drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil and fry till it is golden brown on both sides, and the bubbles surrounding the vada have subsided.
Tip: If the batter is too runny to handle, add a couple of tbsp of Chickpea flour/Besan to adjust the consistency.
You can serve these with any kind of chutney and/or sambar. Or eat them just like that! Actually, these vada’s soaked in curd(Dahi Vada) or rasam(Rasa Vadai) are true delicacies. I shall post these recipes soon!