Keerai Vadai

Courtesy of chef Jurgen Wevers, Icoa

Makes 8-10 pieces

  • ½ cup urad dal or white ulundhu
  • ½ cup tightly packed greens (Keerai or spinach leaves)
  • 2 small green chilis, medium spicy
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • 3 pinches asafoetida powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Soak dal for 2-3 hours and grind to a thick and smooth batter along with the green chilis.

Wash and separate the leaves from the stem of the keerai or spinach. Drain well before chopping finely. Add the greens, onion, asafoetida, salt, pepper and cumin seeds to the ground batter and mix well.

Heat enough oil to deep fry the vadai. Flatten a lemon-sized ball of batter in a greased (with water) Ziploc cover, or you can use a piece of banana leaf for this step.

After flattening, grease your hands again, make a hole in the center of the vada and drop it to the hot oil.

Cook on both sides over medium heat until golden brown in color. Heat the oil while you flatten each vada and lower the flame while you cook them, three or four at a time. Repeat the process until the batter is finished.

Enjoy the vadai with any spicy chutney and hot tea or coffee. It’s also perfect for kids as an evening snack.


Chef’s Tips:

“These vadai come out really crispy. If you want it crispier, add a teaspoon of rice flour.”

“Asafoetida is a pungent spice extracted from a plant of the giant fennel family, frequently used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking.”