My Mom makes the best uzhunnu vadas I’ve eaten. Unfortunately I’ve never get to watch her make them since very rarely can we stand each other in the same room let alone a kitchen. Very often as I am gulping down some of her tasty delights, there occurs brief lapses in my senses and in the bliss of ecstasy I find my self proclaiming the usual foot-in- the-mouth/call-it-on-yourself declarations like: I’ve got to learn this from you !! And then of course I find her smirking and hear her insinuating, PRETEND under the breath remark(loud enough for the next door neighbor to hear): Oh that will need your butt to forsake the couch. Of course that sends me eating more than my stomach can handle and I walk away making sure my eyes reveal what my tongue so desperately wants to lash out, but dare not say: My ass will never leave the couch Ma and you forever will end up cooking for me ‘cause I’m going to make sure you outlive me and manipulated by me, your motherly instincts will continue to feed my greed whether you like it or not. Long story short, this IS my mothers recipe but I learnt it from my sister who, God bless her- has all the patience in the world to bear my mothers taunts.
The two main points to remember in order for the vadas to be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside is: 1> Use as little water as possible for grinding. 2> Aerate the batter thoroughly using a fork after grinding.
2 cups urad dal/ black gram
1 tsp crushed pepper
1 tsp grated and crushed ginger
2-3 green chilies finely chopped
2- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
10-12 torn curry leaves
1 tbsp diced coconut (optional. I don’t add this my mother does)
1/2 cup chopped onions
salt to taste
refined oil for deep frying
Soak urad dal in water for 5 –6 hours.
Grind it to a smooth batter without adding too much water.
Use a fork or a mixer and aerate the batter thoroughly.
Now add all the other ingredients except oil and mix well into the batter.
Heat oil in a deep pan.
Immerse the front of your palm in water and scoop a hand full of batter and shape it into a ball.
Use your thumb to make a hole at the center of the ball like a doughnut.
Flip your palm back side up on top of the hot oil and let the doughnut slump down smoothly on its own into the hot oil.
Fry each side for about a minute until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.