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Friday, September 27, 2019

Kalmi Vada

Vadas can be loosely translated as eggless fritters from the Indian subcontinent. They are quite popular in the region as appetizers,  breakfast food, street foods or a tasty snack to sneak in along with a cuppa on a cold or rainy day. Some are even a part of a festive platter. The deep fried vadas come in numerous varieties depending upon the grain / legume / flour base used to prepare them. Some varieties may include greens or vegetables and a few even come stuffed with a tasty and spicy vegetable filling. Whatever shape or size they come in, vadas are usually on the spicier side and may be served as it is or with some chutney / sauce on the side.

Given that vadas are an integral part of Indian cuisine, it is no surprise that a vada recipe appears in this final week of blogging marathon that is featuring regional snacks across India. We are travelling to Rajasthan, a state in the western part of India for today's recipe called kalmi vada. The recipe has a close resemblance to south Indian style masala vadas as both are based on chana dal aka Bengal gram or split chickpeas. Masala vadas have green chillies, cilantro and onions in the vada batter whereas these kalmi vadas also have some extra flavorful spices added to it. 

Unlike the other vada recipes, these vadas are fried twice. They are fried partially for the first time, removed and cut into pieces and fried again. This keeps them crispier for longer time compared to masala vadas, a fact I, who happens to be a fan of masala vadas loved. They are also used in the Delhi's famous kalmi vada chaat. This is one of the two recipes of this week's marathon I got to try for the first time and genuinely loved them. The other one is Ooty varkey which is coming later. We ate a few vadas which were utterly crispy and delicious and I made a kalmi vada chaat with the rest. This way, I could trick my son (who normally doesn't favor fried snacks) to taste the vadas and also could tick off one recipe in the third week of this BM without needing to plan / fry one more recipe. These kalmi vadas taste so good that they disappear fast. It is hard to have any leftovers but if you do in case, then use them in a chaat recipe to enjoy them in a new form. 

I came across two online versions. The first one is close to the south Indian masala vadas with the use of green chillies and cilantro. I got the second recipe from a Youtube video of a street hawker in Delhi selling the kalmi vada chaat.

1 cup Bengal gram / chana dal
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
Salt to taste
1 inch piece ginger
2 green chillies
A handful of minced cilantro 
Oil to fry


1 cup Bengal gram / chana dal
1/2 cup chana dal + 1/2 cup yellow moong dal 
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
Few cloves
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
Oil to fry

* Soak Bengal gram / chana dal for about 2 - 3 hours in water and drain. Keep aide a handful of soaked chana dal. Add all ingredients except cilantro and the oil to a food processor or blender. (If using the second set of ingredients grind everything together except oil and proceed with the recipe.)
* Grind the ingredients to a coarse thick batter, adding no water. Add a tbsp. of water if needed.
* Transfer the ground batter, the reserved chana dal and minced cilantro to a bowl and gently mix.
* Heat oil in a medium sized wok / frying pan on medium heat. Drop a pinch of batter into the hot oil. If it immediately swims to the surface then the oil is hot enough to fry. If it sinks to the bottom then oil needs some more heating. Don't bring the oil to a smoking point.
* Pinch a big lemon sized portion from the ground mixture and place it on your left hand. Pat it into a thick oblong or round disc using right hand fingers. (It is usually easily to shape them. If one finds it hard to shape them for any reason, add a tbsp. or two of chickpea flour to the batter and proceed.)
* Gently transfer the disc from your left hand to your right hand fingers and carefully drop it into the hot oil from the sides of the frying pan. Prepare discs this way one by one and drop as many discs as the pan can accommodate.  

* Fry them until they turn lightly golden brown on both sides on low medium heat. There is no need to let them completely cook since they are going to be fried again later. Remove them with a slotted spoon / ladle, draining as much oil as possible. Drain them on a plate covered with absorbent paper towel.
* Repeat the process with the remaining dough to make vadas and turn off the stove.

* Let them sit for a while to cool down. Cut each disc into two or three pieces. 

* Heat the oil again on medium flame to deep fry the vadas. Keep the cut pieces of partially fried vadas ready.

* Deep fry vadas in batches on low medium heat, flipping intermittently, until they turn golden brown both sides. They should turn crisp not hard.
* Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on absorbent paper towel.

* Serve them hot with green chutney or a sauce. Use them in a kalmi vada chaat recipe if you have any left overs.

Jowar Kothimbir Vadi

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Srivalli said...

Fantastic Suma, its really so wonderful that you managed one another one with this recipe. Its so good when kids enjoy whats made and they ask for more! Your vadas have turned out so good.

Amara’s cooking said...

Your vadas turned out really good Suma, leaving some soaked chana dal without blending to add to the batter is an awesome idea. It makes them little more grainer.

Harini R said...

These vadas have come out so well. I love the idea of adding some soaked chana dal. Muthayaallaga unnai vadala madhyana. I loved the idea of kalmi vada chaat as well.

sushma said...

Vadas turned out so good, LOvely pictures Suma

Narmadha said...

I want to grab a few Suma. They turned out absolutely delicious and looks mouthwatering