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Vedai --- what's the secret?


Jason Perlow
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Rachel and I had the best rendition of these we've ever tasted at a local Indian buffet today -- these were puffy and crunchy, unlike many we have had at other buffet lunches that were dense, heavy and very greasy.

Suvir, do you have a good recipe for these?

For those of you who are not familiar with them, these are small, fried doughnut-shaped appetizers made out of lentils and rice flour, and seasoned with various spices.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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I will get you a good recipe next week.  But hot oil, 375 F is what they should be fried at.  And only once, till golden.  They should be eaten fresh.

Many buffet services refry them and make them seem really bad.  You were indeed lucky.  

While they are not difficult to make, it is an art to be able to fry them as doughnut shapes.  Many people simply make small dough balls at home instead of the doughnut shaped vadai.

They are great eaten by themselves when fresh and crispy or soaked in Saambhaar (spiced lentil sauce) or even dipped in a spicy yogurt sauce as a cold salad.

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It is the batter and the right amount of fermentation of the lentil too. Hot-oil of course. Again, In Chennai, and in Trivandrum tradition some have hard vadais, and others have it light and fluffy. YMMV- You'll get a sense by the types served by Madras mahal on Lex&27th Vs Dimple on 30th.

anil

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But Anil, have you had good Vadai served in Buffets?  I have often found the samosas, the pakoras and when I see vadas, served on platters alongside buffets to be very mediocre.  It is rare to find hot crips not too greasy specimens.

Have you had better luck?  Where?

I find even samosas in the US being mediocre like desserts.  What in India can be so simple and pleasureable has been made into a marriage of too many spices and way too many inconsistencies.

And yes, Vadas will change depending on how fermented the batter is and also on how litte water you use in grinding the lentils.  The lesser there is, the more fluffy it gets.

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  • 8 months later...
My friend, who is wonderful cook, adds about 1 tablespoon of whipped yogurt to the batter before deepfrying, she swears that is the secret to a good vada!

I use some yogurt when I process the beans and rice. It makes the vadas a little sour... and I like that.

But other than that... I had no idea what it would do...

How does it taste different for you? Have you tried this?

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