The week passed by so fast, its already FoodieMonday Bloghop day. Our 33rd theme is #rice. When the theme was decided, I bought the ingredients to make a coconut rice pudding. But during the course of the week the rice was not used for the pudding but for vadas. When family visits, its food, food and more food. Its been really nice to have my dad, kaka, kaki and foi here. In between going out and having long chatting sessions, I try to cook something. I decided to make vadas as I wanted to make a quick but satisfying snack. Accompanied with a coconut chutney, this snack is perfect to take the edge off the nail biting Twenty 20 cricket matches that are going on right now, to serve as breakfast, or as a side dish for a lunch or dinner. This is going to be a very short post as I have to rush out in a while.
What are vadas?
Well call them vadas, bhajji, bhajia, pakora, pakoda, fakkura are basically fritters that are very popular as snack in the Indian sub Continent. Come rainy season or the monsoons and all stat craving for hot spicy vadas with an equally exciting flavorful dip or chutney. The basic ingredients in a vada are vegetables, and grain flour or grain and spices. Deep fry them to crunchiness and enjoy with a cup of hot masala tea.
With people avoiding deep fried food on a daily basis and yet craving for vadas, the paniyaram (appe, aebleskiver) pan comes to the rescue. Delicious vadas, bhajia, pakodas can be made using the pan with very little oil.
Which grains or grain flours are commonly used?
Sometimes the grain flour is used on its own or in a combination of two or more flours. Is all depends on individual taste and region of India. The same goes for grains, use one or a combination. The grains are usually soaked for several hours and then ground to a coarse paste before making vadas. Some of the grains or grain flours that are commonly used for vadas are:
- chickpea flour, split chickpeas
- rice, rice flour, cooked rice
- moong, moong dal, moong flour
- puy lentils
- black grams, split black grams
- cowpeas, split cowpeas
What vegetables/fresh herbs can you add?
Usually any kind of vegetable is added to the batter along with fresh herbs. The most commonly used vegetables and herbs are:
- green chillis
What kind of spices are added?
The type of spices and quantities varies according to ones taste. Some of the most common spices used are:
- turmeric powder
- red chilli powder
- carom seeds (ajwain, ajmo)
- fennel seeds (valiyari, saunf)
- garam masala
- clove powder
- cinnamon powder
- pepper, coarse or powder
- cumin seeds or powder
To make the vadas a little soft from the inside, about a tablespoon or two of hot oil is added to the batter.
Consistency of the batter:
The batter should not be too dry or too watery. Generally you should be able to shape it roughly or should be spoonable.If its too watery then it will disintegrate while frying in the hot oil. If the batter is dry then the vadas will try out hard.
Temperature of the oil:
I don’t think people at home use an oil thermometer. The general rule is that when you put a small piece of the batter in the oil it should sizzle and come up. If it doesn’t sizzle then the oil is not hot. If it gets brown too quickly then the oil is just too hot. I generally like to keep the oil hot on medium flame. Adjust the flame or heat from medium to low as and when required.
What do you serve vadas with?
You can serve it with any homemade chutney, dips, tomato ketchup or yogurt.
I have shared both the deep fried and ones made in an appe pan.
Makes approx 24
For the vadas:
2 cups cooked rice
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped coriander (dhania) or fenugreek (methi)
3 tbsp chickpea flour (besan, chana flour
1-2 green chillis, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
1¼ -1½ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped cashew nuts (kaju)
½ -1 tsp coarse pepper powder
a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
For the coconut chutney:
1 cup fresh grated coconut
¼ cup chopped coriander
10-12 mint leaves
1-2 green chillis
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ginger paste
¼-⅓ cup water
oil for deep frying
Preparation of the vadas:
- Put the cooked and cold rice in a bowl and mash it up lightly.
- Chop the curry leaves finely.
- Add all the ingredients to the rice and mix well.
- Wet your hands with water and take about a tablespoonful of the mixture and form a ball. Flatten it slightly.
- Heat the oil over medium heat till it is hot. To test, add a small piece of the rice mixture into the oil. It should come up immediately.
- Fry the vadas 5-6 at a time over medium heat till it is light golden in colour. Remember to turn them over in the oil frequently so they brown evenly.
- Serve hot vadas with a chutney of your choice or the coconut chutney.
- Put all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender and blitz for a few minutes.
- Remove the chutney into a serving bowl.
Preparation of Vada using an appe pan:
- Add a drop of oil into each cavity of the appe pan.
- Heat it over medium heat.
- Add a tablespoon of the batter into each cavity.
- Cover the pan and let the vada cook over low to medium heat till the underside becomes golden brown.
- Using a spoon or chopsticks, flip the vadas over for the other to cook and becomes golden brown. Add a drop of oil in each cavity again from the side.
- Serve hot vadas with your favorite chutney.
- When you wet your hands with water, its easy to roll the vadas.
- Can use any leftover rice like pulao, biryani or plain.
- If the rice is too soft, you may need more flour.
- Adjust the spices according to your taste.
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