Beat the heat with this South Indian version of the popular Dahi Vada! Thayir Vadai as it is called in Tamizh is a significant departure from the North Indian version that has chutneys drizzled over it. I had posted the recipe for that some time back. You can find it here.
Today, I had family visiting and was making a South Indian brunch that included this Thayir Vadai. I was in a bit of rush, so I used some ready vadas today, but making the vadais is really not hard if one plans ahead.
Here is the recipe:
Urad dal (black lentil without the skin), Red chilies, Hing, Curry leaves, Oil, Buttermilk, Yogurt, Freshly grated coconut, Green chilies, Mustard seeds, Red chili powder, Fresh cilantro, Readymade boondi*.
- Soak 1/2 cup of urad dal** (or 1 cup. Please see Notes for Chef below) in 4 cups of water for 3 hours.
- Grind 5 tbsp of freshly grated coconut and 2 green chilies with some water to make a thickish paste.
- Whisk 2 cups of yogurt with a little water to get a dropping consistency. Add the ground coconut-chili paste + salt to taste and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours especially if your yogurt is not cold enough.
- Drain off the water from the urad dal and blend with very little water to a thick, fluffy, and smooth batter along with 2 red chilies.
- Take out the batter into a large bowl and add salt to taste and 1/4 tsp of hing.
- Cut up 4-5 curry leaves into small pieces and add to the batter. Mix well.
- In a big bowl, add 1/2 cup of buttermilk. To this, add 4 cups of hot water. Mix well and keep aside.
- Heat up oil in a wok for frying the vadais.
- Reduce the heat to medium high and drop dollops of batter into the oil. Fry till they get golden brown all over and take them out on a paper towel.
- When the vadais are hot, just drop them into the buttermilk-water mix.
- After 3-4 minutes, take them out with a slotted spoon and place them on a platter.
- Repeat for the rest of the vadais.
- After all the vadais have been fried and dunked into the buttermilk, gently pick up each vadai and give it a light squeeze to drain off any excess water.
- When the yogurt mix is well chilled, pour some on the base of a serving platter.
- Place the vadais on the yogurt.
- Now pour the yogurt on the vadais till they are covered fully. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Heat a little oil, and add 3 tbsp of mustard seeds and allow the to splutter.
- Just before serving, drizzle the mustard seeds all over the vadais.
- Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of red chili powder all over.
- Generously sprinkle fresh, crisp boondi all over.
- Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve immediately!
Notes to the chef:
*For those who are unfamiliar, ‘boondis’ are fried mini chickpea flour (gram flour/besan) balls that are homemade by enthusiastic cooks! They make for an addictive savory snack when the flour is mixed with spices and for a decadent dessert called ‘boondi laddoos!’ The savory boondis are available in plenty at the Indian grocery stores.
** My good friend Shoba asked me, so I wanted to point this out for those making this for the first time. If you are using a blender (especially the non-Indian kind), then you may want to soak 1 cup of urad dal. This is because blenders do not do a good job of grinding the dal to a smooth paste. If the batter is grainy, then the vadas/vadais do not taste good at all! If you have an Indian mixer/grinder, then you may be able to grind 1/2 cup dal to a fluffy batter. I always use my wet grinder to grind for vadas/vadais, so after a good soak, 1/2 cup dal, yields a really nice fluffy, smooth batter after grinding it for about 30 minutes.