Wadiyan (also spelled Varian and Badiyan) are large balls of dried lentils, peculiar to the cuisine of the Punjab. They are sun dried spicy urad dal balls that serve to spice a dish and also to thicken the gravy. They are very spicy and each bite sends a burst of flavour to your tastebuds. They are also quite meaty in texture, and thus a good option for your non-vegetarian friends.
This dish cooks the wadi and potatoes in a tomato-onion-spiced gravy for a relative quick, definitely easy meal. Wadi go very well with potatoes, but can be cooked with other vegetables too. Today I have used a mixture of potatoes and sweet potatoes, or you can use butternut and potatoes. These mixtures are not really traditional, but work very well in the modern kitchen.
Because the wadi are extra spicy, not a lot of other spice is needed in the dish.
Punjabi Aloo Wadiyan
2 large spicy wadiyan
2 large onions
1 – 2 green chillies, depending on taste
1 garlic clove
1 cm ginger root
2 large tomatoes
2 Tblspn ghee
sea salt to taste
0.25 tspn Indian red chilli powder, depending on taste
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
0.25 tspn garam masala
coriander leaves, to garnish
Peel the potatoes and cut into medium-large pieces.
Grind or blend the onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger to a coarse paste. Chop the tomatoes into small dice (or puree) and set aside.
Break the wariyan into small pieces. Heat 1 Tblspn ghee and fry them lightly. Remove from the oil and keep aside.
Add the remaining ghee to the pan. Add the blended onion paste and saute until golden or light brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Stir well and cook until it is well mixed.
Add the potatoes and fried wadiyan to the tomato mix in the pan and cook uncovered while stirring continuously for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and cook, covered, on a low heat until the potatoes are tender and the gravy thickens.
Remove from the heat, stir in the garam masala, cover and leave for 5 minutes for the flavours to meld.
Place in a serving dish, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or chapatis.
recipe notes and alternatives
Use a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes, or potatoes and butternut pumpkin for variations.
Yoghurt can be added to the sauce as well. Add when first adding the potatoes to the tomato onion mixture.