Amavadai are deep fried lentil patties that are spiced and, in this recipe, soaked in yoghurt. There are many ways of soaking and serving in yoghurt and we show just one simple one. These vadai are often served at festivals and weddings.
Horse gram and matki (moth beans) are often confused. Similar in colour, both are grown in dry almost inhospitable land on vines. Both have an earthy taste and require good soaking before cooking. They are even used to make similar dishes. However, they are different, with different shapes, textures and tastes. Many authors and bloggers confuse them.
Horse gram has a shape that is like small flattened discs, and matki is tiny with a bullet shape. Horse Gram has more colour variation. Those are the best ways to tell them apart. (Read more about these two lentils here.)
Today we are making vadai with horse gram. A coarse mix is made with the gram, spices and herbs, and then the vadai are deep fried for a glorious snack. It is a crispy and delicious vadai, you will love them. Today I had them with some mango that I roasted with chilli flakes, a roasted tomato chutney, some slices of radish and onion, and a mango pickle.
Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.
Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Matki dishes. Check out our Vada and Indian Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.
Truth be told, making Indian batters from lentils or pulses is a challenge. The Indian grinder is not available here, nor the ubiquitous mixi with its multiple contains all for a different purpose. My Indian friends pop over to India at least once a year, so their kitchens are purpose built for Indian cuisine.
You will find numerous people advise high speed blenders, like Vitamix, for grinding batters, and I bought one with this in mind (and my old blender had had its day). It was Ok, I have to say, but still hard work. At the same time I bought a popular high-mid-range food processor – high speed with a twin blade. I decided to experiment with it to make batter for these vadai, and am really happy with the result. Quick and easy, no need to use a tamper to push, as with the blender, and I wiped the batter down only twice. There was no need to add extra water. To say I am over the moon is an understatement.
These deep fried vadai, a simple form of Medhu (Medu) Vada, are made from Urad dal with a few spices. They are the type that are soaked in yoghurt for 30 mins – on their own they are a little dry. They can also be soaked in Sambar, or, as I do when I am in a hurry, serve with a bowl of seasoned yoghurt and dip each bite into the yoghurt so that you get a luxurious amount over the vadai.
Aama Vadai (also called Paruppu Vadai or Masala Vadai) is a traditional snack that is made during Tamil New Year and also Ramnavami. Made from a variety of lentils and spiced with chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and coriander, it is a delicious snack. It is also a very popular street food snack in South India.
Aama means tortoise in Tamil. But never fear, they do not contain tortoises, it is named this way because of the hard crispy outer shell of the vadai.
We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.
The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.
The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.
A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.
I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.
I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.
Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.
This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)
You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.
It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.
These are wonderful vadai that incorporate beetroot, and are a specialty of Chetinand (an area of Tamil Nadu). They make delicious snacks, but can also be served as an accompaniment to a meal.
Like all of India’s deep fried snacks, these are healthy-ish, meaning that they are made from wonderful, fresh and balanced ingredients, yet are deep fried. Of course, eat in moderation. If you can.
Vada are interesting food items – a compact way to get lentils, vegetables and spices into the diet. They are eaten with a meal or as a snack during the day, grabbed from a walla on the street, or packed into tiffins to take to work or on long trips. Perfect balls of healthy ingredients that are always at hand.
Browse all of our Vada recipes, our Beetroot dishes, all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.
Red cabbage rarely features in our kitchen, but today it is very present on the kitchen bench. We have been trialling a dish of broad bean mash with bulgur which coats red cabbage cooked with sultanas. They are not perfect yet, but we share with you the process because, boy, they are delicious.
Red cabbage with apple, sultanas and pine nuts is a standard European dish, delicious in its own right. And we often incorporate broad beans into kofta/vada/kibbeh type dishes. Today they come together into these lovely mid morning snacks. The recipe is very loose – my apologies – we are still playing with quantities. If you make them, let us know how they turn out.
You will adore these green croquettes – how spectacularly coloured they are, especially for Winter when foods can be darker hued. They make great snacks, dipped into the creamy sauce. They will become a favourite, I am sure, and the croquette/fritter mixture can be made and shaped the day before you want to cook them. Keep them in the freezer to help with the shaping of the croquettes, and bring them out 30 – 60 mins before cooking.
This is sort of an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. But his recipes use eggs and we do not cook with eggs. So the recipe has been altered significantly. Yet we still credit Ottolenghi with the inspiration. We replaced the eggs with chickpea flour and used a chickpea flour batter. It is a change that worked extremely well, and the result is amazing. We have not crumbed our croquettes, but you can do that. We did use a little polenta on some to give extra crispness.
Untypically, these taste healthy and fresh, yet still have that addictive, moreish streak of all fried things.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Similar recipes include Spring Onion and Quinoa Cakes, Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters, Vadai with Yoghurt, Aama Vadai, Masala Vadai, Broad Bean, Bulgar and Cabbage Kofta, Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Kothimbir Wada.
Browse all of our Snacks here and our Pea recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes. Continue reading “Pea and Mint Croquettes”
We have been using up the last of the broad beans, and turned the very last of them into a cross between South Indian Vadai and Middle Eastern Falafel. Whatever, they are gorgeous!
The trick is to grind some blanched broad beans with herbs and curry leaves, then add besan, and shallow fry or deep fry them until cooked and crispy. They are gorgeous with some fresh Indian chutney and a bowl of rasam. We use the Western Fava Beans (aka Broad Beans) not the Indian Broad Beans, Avarakkai, for this dish.
Are you looking for Rasam? We have a couple of dozen rasam recipes here.