Uzhunna vada are hugely popular at the many Keralan restaurants around the country. At restaurants, they are often served as a starter with other fried snacks but in Kerala they are usually served for breakfast like donuts and bagels are here. These may be deep fried but they are a lot better for you then sugary donuts and personally, I think they are one heck of a lot tastier too.
- 300g (1 ½ cups) plus 1 tablespoon white urad dhal lentil
- 20 chopped fresh curry leaves
- 3 green chillie – finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or equal amount of finely chopped ginger
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped coriander
- ½ level teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoon peppercorns roughly crushed
- Rapeseed oil for deep frying
- Roast one tablespoon of the urad dhal in a dry frying pan over medium high heat until the urad dhal is nicely browned. Set aside. Soak the urad dhal lentils in water for four hours. Then, place them in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth batter. You could add a couple tablespoons of water to do this if needed.
- Whisk all the other ingredients into the batter including the roasted lentils. Heat about 10cm (4 inches) rapeseed oil until visibly hot and ready to fry. Place a bowl of water next to your batter as it helps to have wet hands when forming the uzhunna vada. Dip a hand in the water and then pick up about a half handful of the batter. Work it into a ball and then stick your thumb down the middle so that it looks like a donut. This can also be done - and in my opinion it is a lot easier too - by forming the vada on a large spoon as pictured.
- Carefully drop it into the oil and then start forming your next uzhunna vada. Work quickly and cook in small batches of about four or five. Don’t worry too much if they don’t look perfect at first. You will get better at it.
- Allow the uzhunna vada to fry until golden brown. They should be nice and crispy on the exterior and soft and spongy inside. Keep warm while you make the rest. Serve with coriander and coconut chutney, chilli and coconut chutney and/or sambar.