Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscar Party At My House...When You Gotta Vada, I Gotta Recipe.

 Sunday night was the Fourth of July, Superbowl, Christmas and all the other holidays rolled into one, in other words... it was Oscar night at our house.
Okay, it was Oscar night at everybody else's house too, but it's a really really big night around here. Food...
 Fun, Siberian Huskies...
 Pictures and prizes...
 Terri Roberson won our Oscar ballot again this year... the woman is psychic!) and was presented with a lovely bottle of Tangerine Fig Balsamic Cuisine Sauce for use with cheese, desserts or just a long kinky weekend with Charley Sheen...
And this year for some reason... Pirate costumes.
   Our friend Chip couldn't make it to a Pirate-themed birthday party the night before, so he figured he'd just wear his costume the next night to our house. Hey, I just cook the food around here, I don't ask questions. Of course there were tiaras.
 Can't have an Oscar party without workin' the jools!
   Last nights' Oscar party was an Indian vegetarian affair, (yeah, there was one shrimp dish... nobody's perfect) and one of the featured dishes was my new favorite favorite food... vadas or vadai depending on how you spell 'em. They're vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, delicious and yeah, deep fried, but like... so what???? They're round and have a hole in the center and give off a definite donut vibe. But  they're savory, I mean SAVORY!!! Wow.
   There are also a lot of different varities of vadai made of various combos of lentils and vegetables and spices as I've discovered. I orginally made them as one of the dishes for my January 24 x 24 dinner party for Foodbuzz and I'm going to keep making them because I freakin' love them! They're for sure penciled in on the menu for my birthday party this month, and because they can be made ahead and then kept warm in the oven until you're ready for them, they are perfect, ideal, and tasty party-ready finger food. They're also easy. All you need are a bag of lentils, water, some vegetables and a food processor.
 This one is called Cabbage Vadai, because it contains cabbage, onion, peas, and cilantro.

Cabbage Vadai

Here's what to do:
 In a large bowl mix:
 1 cup of urad dal with 2 cups of water. Let it soak for 2 hours, then drain it well.
 Put the soaked dal in a blender or food processor along with:
  4 green chilies
 Salt to taste and grind it all up until it turns into a thick batter.
 Put the batter in a bowl.
 Now toss 1/2 cup of chopped cabbage into the food processor and grind up along with:
  1 large onion
  1 bunch of cilantro
 Mix the onion cabbage and cilantro mixture together with the ground dal and add in:
 2 Tbs of peas.
That's it. All that's left is the cooking.

Cooking The Vada:
    In a large skillet or kadhai, heat enough vegetable oil for deep-frying. Of course if you have a Fry Baby you're all set, but I haven't gone there... yet.
  When the oil is nice and hot, put a small amount of water in a bowl. This is used to keep the fingers moist while shaping the vada.
  Scoop a bit of dough out and shape it into a ball and poke a finger through it to make a hole. The vada should resemble a small donut. Slip the vada dough into the hot hot hot oil (carefully) and let it crisp up and brown to deliciousness.
 If your oil is hot enough, it shouldn't take long. Lift them out and let them drain on a plate covered with paper towels, then pop them into a 200 degree oven to keep them warm until you are ready to feed them to your guests.
   Serve them with a chutney or raita of your choice.
  These babys disappeared fast. The recipe I've given you makes about 15 or 20 and I doubled it for last night's do. We had 10 people and there were no left overs. Terri made some insanely fabulous cookies, a recipe which I'll be sharing with you soon. One featuring amazing Indian spices!! I ate 4 of them.
  Patsy, had some dog cookies and lots of pats and hugs, but was still disappointed that no Huskies were awarded any golden statues this year. In her universe, Eight Below would be nominated every year.
  The International Indian Film Academy Awards are going  to be held in June and there's got to be a way to watch that. I did get to see an excellent film that India submitted as their entry in the Best Foreign Film category this year. It's called Peepli Live. It didn't make the final 5 (many great films didn't) but it's terrific!
 If you've got Netflix, it's available there, you can even stream it. Here's a peek.

 Coming up next, more vegetarian delights for Meatless Monday and beyond, you can follow me on my Twitter page @kathygori


  1. This post made me smile--sounds like a lot of fun! And the food, wow!

  2. How much fun! Once again I wish we lived near each other. I would have worn my beaded dress that a friend of a friend wore to La Scala.

  3. What a perfect looking Vada! MIL makes a variation of this but it doesn't have any holes. This is getting made on March 8th for hubby's "Potluck Party" at his workplace!

  4. I love these! So flavorful...and what a show, eh?

  5. Loved this post! :-D
    Love the craziness of the South Asian community adapting and twisting recipes for all kinds of celebrations and events: strange, sometime sublime versions of 'American'/western snacks.. and the loaded thali with Hollywood pizzaz is a good one!

  6. The vadas look just right, Kathy! What a wonderful party. Wish I was there :)

  7. @sanjeeta kk,
    thanks, high praise coming from you Sanjeeta!

  8. @?,
    thanks so much, we all had great fun

  9. belinda @zomppa,
    yes, it was some show. I was really disappointed though. I love Franco and Hathaway but it just seemed pokey ..not enough pacing

  10. @janis,
    that would have been fun. I have a bunch of gowns from attending awards shows..one of these days I'll have to put one on. Except I get all grungy when I cook and need something I can sweat in. Dress up is fun!

  11. @cool lassi, they are my new favorite thing to make!! There are so many different sorts.

  12. What great fun I would just once love to be a guest in your home on these fabulous events! Lovely photo's~

  13. Certainly is buzzing around your household. Loved the pirate and the prizes! Lol. these vadai donuts are an obvious hit. I said I was going to make them after you banquet but time flies and still haven't. Now that you've shown step-by-step there's no excuse. Looks brilliant.

  14. Now if I was super lazy, could I do donut holes instead? These look and sound great.

  15. Yes, there are many varieties but mom makes the plain one with holes in them. I never manage to make a perfect doughnut vadai cause I mess the batter's consistency..everytime! This time with little fear and determination I am going to try to perfect it..just like you have. If not, I will make it ball-shaped.What matters is the taste,right?

    Kathy, I have a question for you..Can you tell me how long they stay crisp(from pan to plate)..An hour or two? This will help me plan accordingly. Tx!

  16. @Cool Lassi,
    I've found that in a 200 degree oven they'll stay hot and crisp for at least an hour before serving. I'm going to make a big batch for my birthday party later this month and then I'll see how long I can keep them.
    Nothing has scared me more than the first time I made these..and yes, I figured if I couldn't make em with the hole I could at least me them taste good.

  17. Oooh, I may have added meat back to my diet but I still LOVE yummy vegetarian treats, and I can't wait to see more yummies like this. What a fun party you had!

  18. What fun! The food looks so good!

    I loooooved Anne Hathaway's dress! If only I could come up with a logical reason to wear something like that every day!!

  19. @Kathy: Tx for the tip. I will keep it warm in the oven before hubby comes to pick it up.



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