Best ways to make crispy Cabbage Vada
Urad Dal (de-husked split black gram) vadas are a traditional south Indian treat, eaten as snack or as breakfast. When prepared well, it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and a joy to savor, more so when dunked in sambar or spicy rasam!
Here, the split black gram is soaked, ground to a paste , flavored with pepper, ginger, curry leaves and green chili (if preferred) and then deep-fried until golden. If the batter is not rendered fluffy before it is deep fried, the end result will be a hard, not so inviting vada. This has been the case until now, with my experiments, although full of flavor and yet well-received! (such is the love for vadas)
One interesting observation I noted from the vada recipe at Marudhu’s Kitchen was to use a wet grinder for fluffier batter. If you happen to have one, go for it. Or if you have a hand held mixer, such as the ones used for whipping up cream or egg whites, you could use that. Since I do not have a wet grinder not the hand held mixer, I had to think of ways and means towards a good end result.
To overcome this hurdle, if you follow the couple of hints I have mentioned in the instructions below, the result will be more welcoming.
We as a family are major fans of the vadas. To make it healthier, I have added red cabbage and red onion, making them more delicious too in the process.
As a child, I was not very fond of these delightful snacks, perhaps the intermittent encounters with whole peppercorns was a deterrent, I do not know! I have since come to regard and appreciate the flavors of traditional south Indian food, once my perspectives widened. I eagerly await the burst of peppery-ness now, as and when I bite into them.
Believe me there are many a fans of south Indian food, who would agree that vadas top the list for them !
urad dal – 1 cup (de-husked split black gram) washed, and soaked in 3 cups of water for 2 hours
red cabbage – chopped fine, 1/2 cup
red onion – chopped fine, 1/2 cup
ginger – 1 inch piece grated
whole peppercorns – 1 tbsp
currly leaves – 10-12 chopped
baking soda – 1/8 tsp (optional)
salt to taste
oil – to deep fry the vadas
- urad dal - 1 cup (de-husked split black gram) washed, and soaked in 3 cups of water for 2 hours
- red cabbage - chopped fine, ½ cup
- red onion - chopped fine, ½ cup
- ginger - 1 inch piece grated
- whole peppercorns - 1 tbsp
- currly leaves - 10-12 chopped
- baking soda - ⅛ tsp (optional)
- salt to taste
- oil - to deep fry the vadas
- wash the urad dal with water twice, discard the water. then, soak the dal with 3 cups of fresh water for 2 hours.
- after 2 hours, drain the water completely and grind the urad dal in the mixer/grinder or wet grinder to form a smooth paste, adding no water. for doing this, you might need to run the mixer in short bursts at the same time, cleaning the sides with a spatula on and off to allow proper grinding.
- now, take this ground urad dal into a bowl, add chopped red onion, red cabbage, whole peppercorns, chopped curry leaves, salt to taste and baking soda (if using it)
- at this stage, get the oil for deep-frying ready in a pan and switch on the heat.
- mix all the ingredients in the bowl. at this stage, the if the batter is too thick, you will need to loosen this a bit, otherwise the vadas will be too hard.
- to overcome that, take a small portion of the batter onto another small bowl, add a couple of spoonfuls of water to loosen it (do not add too much water here) and using a spatula beat it well to make it fluffy.
- now to check whether the oil is ready, drop a small portion of the batter into the oil. if it starts bubbling and comes up but doesn't brown straightaway, the oil is heated just enough.
- now, dip your hand in some water to pick up the batter - this helps in smoothing the outside, ensuring lesser 'spikes' on the surface of the vadas.
- pick up the batter, smooth-en it , then slowly drop it into the heated oil.
- repeat the same with the rest of the batter. make sure you dip your hand in water everytime you pick up the batter to form smooth vadas.
- do not over crowd the pan, instead fry only as many as you can accommodate in the quantity of oil, you are using to deep fry.
- now, using a perforated spatula, move the vadas around gently and flip and fry them until they turn golden.
- transfer the fried vadas onto an absorbent paper towel to soak up excess oil.
- serve with coconut chutney or dunked in rasam or sambar! enjoy!
the batter should be smooth and soft as you see in the picture. not runny or thick.
dip your hands in water before picking up the batter to ensure less 'spiky' vadas.
fry the vadas at medium heat so that it cooks well inside and remains crispy outside.
you can give the prepared batter a quick taste to ckeck for salt and spice before frying.
instead of using cabbage, you can just use red onions - that will taste great too.