Vadai is a favourite savoury snack with its origins from South India. In Malaysia, many South Indian shops sell Vadai mostly at tea time but some sell them throughout the day as well. You also find Vadai sold in hawker stalls.
I am familiar with two types of Vadai - Ulunthu Vadai that is doughnut shaped and softer as compared with Paruppu Vadai that is rounded and is made with lentils and more crunchy. I'm sure there are other types of Vadai as well but these two are the most common.
Often in Malaysia, whenever you have family of friends coming over in the evening, you will buy a whole stack of Vadai to enjoy with a cup of tea (or coffee or cold drinks as may be the case). Vadai is just as famous as Currypuffs are in Malaysia.
I have to say that Vadai is the kind of thing that we would never imagine making. It looks too difficult and since its so easily available in the shops, we have never ever imagined making it.
The Lovely Wife however, decided she was going to try out a recipe from one of her Indian cookbooks. This Vadai is a little different. It is a version ofParuppu Vadai that uses spinach as one of the ingredients. That is rather uncommon and I believe made this Vadai all the more tasty.
This is her take on the recipe that comes from Indian Shortcuts to Success by Das Sreedharan
2 1/2 cups yellow split peas
250g spinach leaves, with stems removed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, chopped finely
1 inch ginger, minced
10 curry leaves, chopped
Soak the pentils in a large bowl for about an hour. Meanwhile, blanch the spinach in hot water until just cooked. Set aside to cook then chop finely.
Drain the lentils and then process in the food processor till it becomes a coarse paste. Don't grind it too fine as you want some texture to the paste. Tip into a large bowl and add the spinach, onion, ginger, chillies and curry leaves. Season with salt and then mix well.
Divide mixture into small portions and roll into the size of a golf ball with your hands. Flatten into a small round patty.
Heat some vegetable oil in a deep wok or frypan till hot. Deep fry the patties until a deep golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
To say the the Vadai turned out well would be an understatement. They were simply fabulous! As I said earlier, the spinach added a nice touch to the Vadai. Making the vadai was no where near as complicated as we thought it would be and actually it turned out to be rather easy.
This is the kind of food that people will be in awe of when they find that you prepared it at home. The Vadais didn't last very long and the main culprit that kept wolfing them down was none other than Me!
The Lovely Wife reckons that the next time she makes these, she will add some chopped dried chillis to the mix for a bit of a piquant zing. I can't wait till she makes it again...