|Course||Breakfast, Evening Snack|
|Place of origin||South India|
|Main ingredients||Lentils, Chillis, Onions, Curry Leaves|
|Variations||ULunthu Vadai, Paruppu Vadai, Masala Vadai, Keerai Vadai, Iraal Vadai, Thayir Vadai|
Vadai, also known as wada or vade (in Sri Lanka) or vadai or bara (pronounced "vah-daa", "vah-dey", "baraa" or "vah-die"), is a savoury fritter-type snack from South India. It is known as Vades in South Africa, where a large south Indian population is found .
Vadai is a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity. Although they are commonly prepared at home, but in street stalls and in railway stations, as well as inside the Indian Railways, they are available as a snack all day. Vadais are as well a typical street food in the South India and Sri Lanka. They are deep fried goodies; hence, a high calorie snack, typically about 300 Kilocal each,. Vadai is indispensable part of the menu on Hindu festivals. MiLagu Vadai aka Pepper Vadai Garland is offered to Hanuman on auspicious days in South Indian Temples.
The general way of preparing vadai is to make a thick batter of Black gram or coarsely ground Bengal dal. This mixture may then be subsequently seasoned by mixing with cumin seeds, onion, curry leaves, which are sometimes previously sauteed, and salt, chilies and/or black pepper grains. Often ginger and baking soda are added to the seasoning in shops to make them very fluffy. Homemade Vadais do not consists of baking soda. The individual vadais are then shaped and deep-fried.
Although battered and deep-fried, the finished product should not be too oily if prepared correctly, since steam build-up within the vadai pushes all oil away from within the vadai.
Vadai is typically and traditionally served along with a main course such as Thosai, Idli, or Pongal. Nowadays it is also ordered as an À la carte item but is never the main course and is had as a light snack or on the side of another dish and usually not separately as a meal. Vadais are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy and is served with a variety of dips ranging from Sambar to chutney to curd.
Vadai is almost always served with a helping of coconut chutney.
The main vadai types are:
- Medhu vadai or ulundhu vadai(Tamil), Uddina vade (Kannada ಉದ್ದಿನ ವಡೆ), Malayalam: ഉഴുന്നു വട Uzhunnu vada, Tamil: ulundhu vadai), Medhu vadai, made with Urad dal (black gram) flour. This vadai is shaped like a doughnut, with a hole in the middle (i.e. an approximate torus). It is the most common vadai type throughout North and South India.
- 'Masala vadai or paruppu vadai'(Tamil), 'Masala Vade'(Kannada : ಮಸಾಲ ವಡೆ), 'Masala Vada' (Telugu) Malayalam: പരിപ്പ് വട). A dal vadai whose main ingredient is toor dal. It is made with the whole lentils and is shaped roughly like a flying saucer. Also referred to as 'aamai vadai' (Tamil ஆமை வடை) since this vadai looks like a tortoise.
Other types of vadai are:
- Maddur vade (Kannada: ಮದ್ದೂರು ವಡೆ) is a type of onion vadai unique to the state of Karnataka. It is very popular in Maddur district of Karnataka and has a very different taste from any other vadais. This is typically larger than other vadai types, flat, crispy (to the point of breaking when flexed) and having no hole in the middle.
- Ambode, made from 'split chickpeas without the seed coat' i.e. 'kadale bele' in Kannada.
- Mosaru Vade(Kannada:ಮೊಸರು ವಡೆ), made by cooking a vadai normally, and then serving the vadai in a mix of yogurt and spices).
- EruLLi bajji (Kannada:'ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಬಜ್ಜಿ’) (Malayalam:'Uli vada'), made with onion. It is roughly round-shaped, and may or may not have a hole in the middle.
- Rava vadai, vadai made of semolina.
- Bonda, or Batata vadai, made with potatoes, garlic and spices coated with lentil paste and fried; this form is used in vada pav. In some regions, a Bonda is considered a distinct snack food, and is not held to be a type of vadai.
- Sabudana vadai is another variety of vadai popular in Maharashtra, made from Pearl Sago.
- Thavala vadai, a vadai made with different types of lentils.
- Keerai Vadai (Spinach Vadai) is made with spinach-type leaf vegetables along with lentils.
- Vada pav, A vadai served in a bun (known as a pav) with chutney is known as a vada pav, a common street food in Maharashtra, especially in Bombay.
- Keema Vadai, A vadai made from minced meat, typically smaller and more crisp than other vadai types with no hole in the middle.
Bhajani Cha Vadai: Vadai made from a flour made from Bajri, Jawar, Wheat, Rice, Channa Dal, Cumin, Coriander Seeds Etc. A speciality of Maharashtra, very nutritious too: