Vadas are eaten all over India as snacks, this vada recipe is probably most typical of the Bengali region. Vadas can be made from all sorts of things; the base is usually some sort of lentil flour, often gram flour, and then you can add potato, cabbage, onions, - all manner of things.
Vada Pav is an ever present snack food all over India but particularly in Marharastra. These are Vadas in a bun - a sort of veggie burger. In this case the vada are made primarily of potato.
This is a red lentil (masoor daal) vada recipe with onions and potatoes. It is really quite hearty and an excellent supper snack that can also be used as a side dish.
Although this is a snack and quite easy to do, you need time to soak lentils so it's not a real spur of the moment thing.
1 cup masoor daal.
1 tablespoon urad daal
1 medium potato
1 medium onion
1 inch (2.5 cm) root ginger
6 curry leaves
A small handful of coriander leaves
2 teaspoons desiccated coconut
Oil for deep frying
Notes on Ingredients
Gram flour. This is used to bind the mixture and you may need only a little or a bit more
Chilli. You can use fresh chilli, dried chilli or chilli powder in this. I prefer dried chillis, about 2 is ok, but a fresh green chilli is also good.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Oil. Good quality vegetable oil is ok for this.
Soak all the daal for about 2 hours.
Peel the potato and dice it quite small (say ½ inch (1cm) dice)
Steam (for preference), boil or microwave the potato and set aside
Peel the onion, quarter and finely chop
Peel the ginger.
Chop up chilli if using fresh chilli; crush dried chillis
When the daal is soaked, drain it and rinse it.
Put the daal and the ginger into a blender and coarsely grind.
In a bowl, mix the ground lentils, the potato, the onion, coconut, chilli and the coriander leaves.
Crumble the curry leaves in and add salt and pepper to taste.
Now add enough gram flour so that you can form the mixture into patties about 2 to 3 inches across (5-7cm) and about ¼ to ½ inch thick (0.5- 1cm)
Get the oil hot and deep fry the vada until golden brown
Notes on Method
When grinding the daal it will still be wet from soaking but you may need to add a little more water to create a good paste.
Depending on your grinder and how much liquid is in the mixture you may need to add more or less gram flour. You are aiming for a sort of wet dough, not too firm but so that it will hold together.
This is one of hundreds of vada recipes and you can invent your own variations. You can regard the potato as optional or substitute other vegetables - peas, courgette, sweet potato - go nuts.
You may need to fry them 1 or 2 at a time depending on your pan
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