It is a savoury snack shaped like a doughnut and made from black gram.
- 2 cups urad dal (split skinned black gram)
- 2 tbsp rice powder
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 green chilies finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped cabbage
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- ¼ tsp asafetida
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fenugreek powder (methi powder)
- Oil for deep frying vadas
- Wash the dal well in repeated changes of water until the water is clear. Soak the dal in 6 cups of cold water for 3 hours.
- Drain the dal completely, and place it in a food processor. Add the asafetida and salt, and process into a thick batter. Transfer the batter to a bowl and whisk the mixture for 3-4 minutes to put air into the batter.
- Add all ingredients and mix well.
- Heat oil in a deep pan or wok. When you are ready to fry, mix the baking soda into the batter.
- Moisten the palm of your left hand. Take a lump of batter and place it on the palm of moistened left hand. Now moisten your other hand with water, and press to flatten the batter into a round patty. Make a hole in the center of the patty. It should resemble a small doughnut.
- Slip the vada into the hot oil. Repeat quickly, and fry the vada in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding the pan. When they float to the surface, fry them, turning them to ensure even cooking, for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until they are reddish-brown and crisp.
- Remove and drain them on paper towels.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney.
- Use Peanut oil, Sunflower oil or Canola oil. These oils can heat up to higher temperatures without smoking. This is essential for cooking vadas.
- Fry vadas at the right temperature. Frying at too high temperature burns the batter. In too low temperature the batter soaks up oil and becomes greasy.
- To check temperature, drop a couple of bits of batter into the oil. At the right temperature, batter sinks a bit, but bobs right up and browns within 45 seconds. If the batter sinks, oil is not hot enough.
- If the oil smokes, it is too hot. Batter dances on the surface if oil is too hot.
- Do not overcrowd the oil. Carefully add the batter, leaving lots of space around each piece. Too much food causes oil temperature to drop and makes the food greasy.