This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. People will be putting out their chicken drummettes, and Buffalo wings, dip and chips, guacamole and nachos, all the usual suspects. For a really different snack, how about a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and absolutely delicious healthy treat? Okay, so it's fried. So nobody's perfect. Anyway you don't want to frighten the menfolk away by offering them something they think is too healthy.
Vadai are a specialty of the South Indian kitchen, and there are almost as many ways of making them as there are cooks with imaginations. The basic ingredients are dal, soaked and ground. Sometimes as a variation, potato is used. There maybe a combination of other spices and vegetables chopped and added, and there is always a tasty chutney, raita or even salsa could be served as a side dipper. Remember these are finger foods... perfect for parties and game days.
For my Foodbuzz 24 x24 dinner I served masala vadai, basically a spiced vadai seasoned with onion and cilantro. One batch of batter made a whole pile of vadai. The batter makes up fast in a food processor and then can be kept in the fridge until you're ready to fry. Easy peasy.
Here's what to do:
In a large bowl filled with 9 cups of water soak for 1 hour:
1 cup of toor dal
1 cup of urad dal
1 cup of chana dal
1 cup of finally chopped onion...
a 2 inch piece of chopped fresh ginger
6 finely chopped fresh green chilies
Mix it all together well.
I don't do a lot of frying, okay like almost never, so I don't own a deep fryer. Those of you who do are in luck with this one. I fried my vadai in a kadai, but any deep skillet will do.
Fill the skillet with vegetable oil and get it nice and hot. You want the oil very hot so the vadai fry up quickly and crisp.
While the oil in heating, fill a small bowl with water, cover a plate with a paper towel and place a cookie sheet in the oven and heat it to 200 degrees.
Once the oil is hot (be careful!) take a large spoonful of the batter, dampen one hand with a bit of cold water so the dough doesn't stick, and shape the dough into a round little patty. You can fry these but I prefer to give them the donut shape because... well, they're just cuter that way. Poke a hole through the dough with one finger, shape the little donut and then gently slip the vadai into the hot oil.
Apple Chutney, Mango Chutney or a cooling Coconut Raita like this one I found online and prepared for my dinner last Saturday night.
I had so much fun making vadai and they were so popular, that I'm going to be featuring them at my annual Oscar Watching Party, my birthday party and probably any other excuse for a celebration that's going to come my way. There certainly are enough vadai recipes out there to take me a long way.