Vadalu / Gaarelu / Vada / Fried Lentil Dumplings
Vadalu or gaarelu ia always a specialty item. Its made mostly on festival days, weddings or any other functions or celebrations. At home, we sometimes make them as breakfast, pot lucks or any celebrations. Everyone at home eat them with out fussing too, which is good for me. These vadas are made with urad daal. You can use the white whole ones or the halves.
I make them plain for the kids or with onions, ginger, peppercorns, jeera and curry leaves for us.
Vadas, like idlis can be eaten with chutney, saambar as 'Sambaar vada' or with yogurt as 'Dahi vada'. My favorite is the dahi vada without a doubt. Eating vadas with chicken curry is also very yummy!!!
There is small trick to remember when making vadas. This according to me. If you want nice, crispy vadas, soak it for less time. Many people soak it overnight too. But thats not necessary. 1-3 hours is good enough. Old, refrigerated batter will absorb oil and vadas will be oily, so fresh batter is good. And also if you leave the batter outside without using for a long time, it will start to ferment quickly, so use it up within couple of hours. The thicker the batter too, less oil it will absorb.
1 cup urad daal, soaked for 1-3 hours and ground in a wet grinder or regular grinder or mixie to a thick batter
salt to taste
oil for frying
Ingredients to add to the batter (optional) (all ingredients are not necessary, you can add few, not add rest)
grated or chopped ginger
chopped green chillies
few curry leaves
few black peppercorns
Mix all the ingredients into the batter. Take a plastic sheet. I use a ziplock bag. Wet your hand with water and also the sheet with few drops of water. Take a lemon size ball of the batter and press down on the plastic sheet to a round shape. Make a hole in the middle and drop into oil. The hole is so that there is even cooking. Fry to golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper napkin. Serve hot with chutney, saambar or chicken curry. Enjoy!!!
Prep time: less than 5 min for each vada. Only time taken for soaking and grinding.
Tip: Don't use too much water to wet hand or sheet, this could make the batter thin or liquidy, and also when you drop it into oil, the oil might splatter due to water. So be careful.