278.sun dried vadi onion shaak

May 30, 2013mayurisjikoni
Blog post

An exotic dish

I made vadi and onion vegetable a few days ago. Ajay got excited and commented that I made an exotic dish. It has been eons since I last make vadi doongri nu shaak. I remember helping my mum to make huge quantities of vadis. In India and Kenya, vadis are traditionally made during summer or hot season, dried in the sun and stored for future use.What are vadis you may ask? Vadis are basically lentil chunks dried in the sun. The types of lentils used to make the vadis differs, depending on the region of India. Punjabis usually make it out of moong dal (split green gram lentils) or urad dal (split black gram lentils). Usually the ones made in Gujarat are from chora dal (cowpea lentils). Some mix in chana dal (split chickpea lentils) or moong dal. The lentils are soaked in warm water overnight. Next day the lentils are processed, without water into a dry coarse batter. Spices like freshly minced ginger and chillis are added along with salt and coarse pepper powder. Some also add freshly minced coriander or fenugreek. You take a small amount of batter and drop it onto a tray or large plastic sheet. These little chunks are dried in the sun for a day or two till the vadis are absolutely crunchy. The vadis are stored in an airtight container. My grandmother told us that many many years ago, fresh vegetables were not available throughout the year. So when vegetables were scarce, her mum would make vadi nu shaak (vegetable). Its now considered an exotic dish as not many homes make it. I find vadis a very versatile ingredient to store, as it can be used to add a whole new texture and flavour to common curries. I don’t make vadis at home anymore as its not possible to dry them in the sun when one lives in an apartment. However I get my supply from my bhabhi (sister in law) in Nairobi. She buys them from a lady who makes them in huge quantities and sells. Traditonally, a wedding in a Patel household would begin with women of the house making the vadis and singing wedding songs. I wonder if is still done, as its quite impossible to do so when its snowing or raining! So if you can get some ready made vadis, try out this recipe. Goes well with khichdi.

6 servings

1 cup sliced onions
1 cup vadi
½ cup finely diced tomatoes
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jiru)
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp salt
½ to ¾ cup water
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add hing, onions and vadis.
  3. Keep on stirring the mixture till the vadis turn light brown in colour.
  4. Add chilli and ginger paste and stir fry for a few seconds.
  5. Add haldi, salt, tomatoes and water. Mix gently. Cover the pan and let the vadis cook for 4 to 5 minutes or till the vadis are done.
  6. Add dhana jiru ,pepper powder,fresh coriander and red chilli powder if you are using any. Mix well and serve with khichdi or parathas or chappatis.
Tips :
  • The amount of water required will depend on how old the vadis are. The older they are, the more water will be required. Its  better to use less initially as you can always add more water when the vadis are cooking.
  • As the vadis get older, they become slightly brown. So when you are stir frying them with the onions, and they are already light brown in colour, let it become a darker shade of brown.
  • The vadis will break up if over cooked. 
  • If you want to add vadi to a curry, just add it while its simmering.
  • The amount of spices required will depend on how spicy the vadis are. So taste one before you start cooking. 
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