Sunday, November 29, 2009




Coming from a strict Brahmin family from Gujarat , as a thirteen year old, I was thrown open to a totally different food culture when I came back to my Birth place after staying with my grandfather in Saurashtra for 11 years.
Till this time, I had not tasted Onions or Garlic.
My parents in Madras did not follow the Brahminic diet rules set by my grand father and thus I fell in love with any food that had Garlic or Onions in it.

Our lady cook Kamala Mami, an Iyer widow from Mayuram was a very fine cook of south Indian dishes but as she was a widow, she would not use Garlic in her food (Though she cooked with Onions).
She would not come to our house for cooking when she was observing Madi due to her "thittu"every month for four to five days.That is when we had to buy our breakfast from nearby Udipi hotel or a small eatery run by Dharmakartha of Srinivasa Temple opposit our house next to Elephant gate police station.
This Dharmakartha was a Naidu man who used to work in our printing press as a machineman.

His temple is where I had come across Vadai curry. Once he offered Vadai curry as a side dish with Idlies since he had run out of chutney and sambar.Idlies cost 2 paise in those days and I used to buy breakfast for two Annas (eight paise). Eventhough money was introduced for over six years in decimal denomination, we used to follow Anna, paisa etc.

I was just blown off my seat when I tasted Vadai Curry for the first time ever in my life. It tasted heavenly and it had all those "never eaten" spices in it. From that day onwards, I never missed a chance to get vadai curry from his place.

It is one of the greatest dish made out of leftovers. (Vadais In this case). Recently I prepared Vadai curry and I bring the recipe to you.


1 cup (200 gms)crumbled Left over dal vadas
2 nos Tomatoes diced
3 to 4 sliced green chillies
1" Ginger grated
3 to 4 Sliced Garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 cup Finely diced onion
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
cooking oil 30 ml
Salt 3/4 tsp (or to taste)


Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
2 No. Star Anis
Bay leaf – 2 nos
Cinnamon – 2 nos 1" pieces
3 to 4 cloves
Curry leaves 1 sprig


Arrange the ingredients as per the above given list.
You can use either fresh Masal-Vadas or leftover vadais. You can also use Medhu Vadais if you do not have Masal-Vadais.Just take care that you need to add medhu vadai pieces at the end when the gravy is ready otherwise you will end up having a lumpy Vadai Curry.

Picture 733


Take oil in a pan/wok and add tempering spices. When cloves puff up,add sliced green chillies,sliced garlic followed by onions. saute onion till it becomes translucent. Add tomato pieces followed by curry leaves. When tomatoes start leaving oil, add dry masalas like turmeric, chilli and Garam masala powders.Fry for a minute. Add about a cup of water , ginger and then add Crumpled Masal-vadais.
Cook for further two to three minutes, taste for salt.
Remember that leftover vadais have salt. So adjust accordingly.Now let it simmer till you get a thick curry.


vadai curry

Some people add crumbled vadais after tomato is sauted.This leaves a lumpy vadai-curry to be eaten with Dosai or Idlies. But I like my vadais a bit firmer so I add at the end.

Add cilantro and cover the pan. Serve piping hot with doisis or Idlies or Parathas.

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