Vadas At Home. With A Hole!
The ‘Uzhunnu Vada’ or Vada as we know it, has always been a challenge to cook up in a home kitchen. Blending the dal to just the right consistency, and then to mould the ‘sticky dal blend’ by hand into the iconic shape with a ‘hole in the middle’, has been the bane or doomsday of many an enthusiastic home chef.
Ask no one else but Mr. Musthafa, the young visionary and creator of the ID brand of packaged breakfast and snack foods. Thanks to him, we can now cook up delicious dosas, idlis, masala dosas at home without whipping up the cumbersome batter or whirling and rolling out the parottas. Even for him, cracking the code of the ‘Vada’ in a convenient package was not an easy task. He had to scientifically design the packing, so that you just squeeze the dough out of the package with a contraption that guaranteed the ‘Hole’ in the Vada too.
Don’t get me wrong here, I love the crispy, fluffy and full blown Vadas, deep fried to perfection. Available at mostly any breakfast and stand-up ‘Darshini’ cafes anywhere in Bengaluru or in the South of India. Even in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata thanks to the Kamats, Shettys, Sharavana Bhavans and other enterprising South Indians who have ensured the status of Vada with chutney or sambar as India’s go to breakfast or all-day dining snack!
Like all challenged home chefs, I was looking out to make them in a jiffy in my home kitchen with the hole but without the blended dal and rice combo. My search led me to an enterprising cook who effortlessly tossed it up with slices of bread! Yes. Bread instead of the dal rice batter. Regardless of my doubts and inhibitions, I gave it a try.
It took just 6 Bread slices which I pinched into small pieces and mixed in the yoghurt, sliced onions, chopped green chillies and ginger as instructed. From the ensuing mould, I gently sculpted the Vadas by hand, with the ‘hole’ and gently dropped them into boiling oil. After some patient but keen waiting and then flipping them over, I managed to lay out the Vadas, all browned. Mind you, they were not as crispy or fluffy soft as you get them in hotels, but I managed to make them in less than 40 minutes from the start!
Remember to use curds at room temperature, don’t PRESS the mix too much and make sure you instantly mould them and fry them up or they will end up more like cutlets than Vadas!
Of course, I made the perfect coconut chutney with freshly grated coconut to accompany them. Like ID Fresh Food’s Musthafa says in his iconic speech at the Harvard Kennedy School ‘ Vadas’ have started disappearing from homes where there are no grandmothers, and no one in South India will ever eat a vada without a hole!
My Vadas have holes, but who would have thought to make them with Bread.
My stomach is happy!
He works for a retail organization in Bangalore and heads it online and branding division. He is a foodie by passion and therefore tries his hand at stuff in his home kitchen. While not dabbling in cooking during his days off he likes his music and of course trying out food. He prefers home cooked cuisine though restaurant fare guarantees a good outing with friends.