Vadacurry is a yummy and wholesome side for idlies ,dosais and even chapathis. It is quintessentially south Indian and especially a Chennai delicacy so to say. It must’ve been a clever creation of an innovative chef who needed to use up either too much masala vadai batter or fried masala vadais.
So the traditional way of making Vadacurry involves making the basic masala vadai batter by soaking and grinding channa dhal with saunf and garlic ,adding onions and deep frying them in hot oil .Then a basic gravy is made with onion ,tomatoes, green chilies and masala powders and once it is cooked the fried vadai crumble is added and cooked until they soak in the masala and become semi soft .Now you know why this is such a yummy dish. And as always there is a healthier version where the vadai batter is steamed instead of fried.
This dish is very flexible as in you can add your own additions to make the gravy or the batter. There is no one way to make this yummy side .So I will give you my version.
I love deep frying, who doesn’t .But the steamed version is better especially if you are making it for dinner ,as it is lighter on the stomach . And I don’t add ground coconut as well.
For the vadai
Channa dhal -1cup
Green Chilies -2
Garlic pods -1
Saunf -1 tsp
Salt as required
For the Curry:
Tomato -1 big
Green chilies -2(or more according to required heat level)
Ginger garlic paste -1 tsp
Bay leaf -1
Cinnamon stick ½”
Chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder-1tsp each
Salt as required
Curry leaves and Coriander leaves for garnish
For making Vadai-(Deep fry method)
Soak the channa dhal for an hour, drain ,add to the blender with all the ingredients listed for vadai to a coarse paste with no water. Heat oil in a pan, break the batter into the oil as fritters and not as well rounded vadais. There’s no need to fry until golden brown, just until it crisps up. Drain on a paper towel.
For Vadai (steam method)
Make the batter as above ,then steam the batter in idli plates for about 10mins and then break them into small bit sized pcs.
For making Curry:
Add oil to pan , temper with saunf, bay leaf, cinnamon ,add finely chopped onions, sauté until transparent ,add in the slit green chilies ,curry leaves ,once they become a mush add in the GG paste and sauté until raw smell disappears then add masala powders and salt .Add just enough water to cover the gravy. Cook closed for 5 mins .Open the pan and add in the vadai crumbles mix well and cook close for another 5 mins .Then garnish with coriander.
You can add ground coconut to the gravy before adding in the Vadai crumbles.