Vada is a common term for many different types of savoury fritter-type snacks from South India. It seems that Vada was popular among ancient Tamils in South India during 100 BCE-300 CE, so they have a long history.
Vada can vary in shape and size, but are usually either doughnut- or disc-shaped between 5 and 8 cm across. They are made from urad gram or chickpeas.
This Vada recipe comes from the Tamil cuisine of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. It is made with steamed wheat flour. You can buy this from your Indian Grocery, but you can also make your own.
More about Vada
There are many different types of vada. As well as being commonly prepared at home, vada are popular street foods. They are eaten throughout the day but most commonly as a part of breakfast alongside idlis with sambar.
Vada are typically and traditionally served along with a main course such as Dosa, Idli, or Pongal. Nowadays it is also an à la carte item and is eaten as a light snack or an accompaniment to another dish. Vada are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy and are served with a variety of accompaniments ranging from a watery sambar to coconut chutney to curd.
Vada are also an indispensable part of the menu in Hindu festivals with garlands of Vada offered to Hanuman on auspicious days in South Indian Temples. This makes a great Diwali snack also.
The recipe uses steamed wheat flour. You can buy this from your Indian Grocery, but if you prefer, follow the instructions below for perfect steamed wheat flour.
Steamed Wheat Flour
Source : traditional
Prep time:5 mins
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: makes about 1.5 cups or more.
2 cups wheat flour (you can, of course, steam a lot more. Steam a Kg if you are going to use a lot)
Wrap the flour in a white cloth, or very fine cheesecloth. Before folding it up, you can drizzle around a little sesame oil, about 1 – 1.5 tspn.
Heat water in a steamer, and place the cloth of flour in the steaming compartment. Steam for 2 hours.
The flour will be a semi hard mass. Break it apart with a fork and then put it through a sieve to obtain fine flour.
Keep the flour in an airtight container. Use it to make puttu, idiyappan, murukku, seedai etc.
Paruthithurai Vadai | Thattai Vadai | Crunchy Crackers from Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Source : adapted from Sri Lankan Cuisine
Cuisine: Tamil, Jaffna, Sri Lankan
Prep time:5 mins plus 2 hours soaking time
Cooking time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Serves: makes 50 – 60.
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup steamed wheat flour (see above)
1 cup split, skinless urad dal
2 – 3 green chillies (or to taste)
1 dried red chilli
1 white onion
2 branches curry leaves, chopped
1 Tblspn fennel seeds
Salt to taste
water as required
oil or ghee for frying
Soak the split urad dal for 2 – 6 hours. Overnight is fine, or even put on to soak in the morning and make in the evening.
Grind the onion, green chillies and red chillies together to make a paste.
Mix all ingredients together except the water and oil. Mix well.
Now add enough water, gradually, until a nice dough is formed.
Roll the dough into small balls. You will get about 60. Flatten each ball on a non-stick surface such as a silicone mat, pastry board or any flat surface. Press them out so that they are thin discs. Alternatively you can roll out the dough and cut discs with a small cookie cutter.
[I did it this way: greased my hands with a little ghee, and spread a tiny amount of flour on a board. Take 4 or 5 small balls, press them in your hands with your palm. Place onto the board and flatten out. Place them in the oil. Get 4 or 5 more discs ready, and while the previous lot is cooking, roll some more balls from the dough. In this way, it was a smooth process, and the dough was not sitting between making balls and cooking for more than a few moments. You will need to add more ghee to your hands and flour to the board periodically. If the dough sticks to the board use a cutting knife to slice underneath – it works well this way. ]
Deep fry the vadai in batches until they are golden brown. Once cooked, place on paper towel or grease absorbing paper.
Store for many days in an air tight container.
What is the chutney, I hear you ask? Hahaha, it is pesto. It goes great with these vadai for afternoon tea. 🙂
You can substitute the steamed wheat flour with rice flour if you wish. Dry roast it in a pan before using in the recipe. However, this would not be the traditional Paruthithurai Vadai
Did you know that sesame and almond oils are great for the body and help to minimise mental and physical stress? Cold pressed coconut oil is also very good. It is great to coat the body, including your hair, once a week, giving yourself a self-massage in the mornings before your shower, or on a Sunday night perhaps before a relaxing bath. Try it, it is Wonderful!