South Indian, Veg Recipes

Vada Curry

Vada Curry, What a magical dish after all! This has been a family favourite for ever since I can remember. This would be a great accompaniment with Dosa, Idly or Uthappams. This recipe has been perfected by my grandmom and is one of the first dishes penned down by her when she heard of my blogging idea.

Home is where Dosa is served with Vada Curry!

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This is a gem of a recipe from the South Indian Chettinad kitchen which is made of steamed or fried masala vada (dal vada) that is drenched in a tomato – onion curry. The main flavouring ingredients for this dish are the fennel seeds (Saunf) and garlic which make this curry fragrant. The dal is pre-soaked for a few hours, blended with seasonings, made into dumplings and steamed. It is cooked further in the tomato onion gravy with fennel seeds and garlic. The texture of this dish is apt as an accompaniment with buttery crisp Dosa. This is something that one wouldn’t wanna miss, especially Dosa lovers who have been having sambar all their lives.

Soaking time: 3 hours minimum

Cooking time: 35 mins


For the dumplings :

  • Chana Dal or (Split chickpeas) – 100 gm
  • Green Chillies – 1 nos
  • Baking Soda or Soda Bi Carb – a pinch
  • Salt to taste

For the curry :

  • Bay leaf – 1-2 nos
  • Fennel Seeds or Saunf – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon – 1/2″ stick
  • Cloves – 3-4 nos
  • Tomato – 2 medium sized
  • Onion – 2 medium sized
  • Garlic – 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder – 3/4 tablespoon
  • Red chilli Powder – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Curry leaves – 3-4 strands
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt to taste


  • Add the chilli, salt and baking soda to the soaked and drained chana dal. Blend it in a mixer grinder for a few seconds to get a coarse paste.
  • Shape the mixture into dumplings and steam them for 10 mins on a high flame on an oil greased idly plate.
  • Cut the dumpling into smaller pieces of roughly 1/2 inch cubes and keep aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil and add the bay leaves, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves. Fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and crushed garlic cloves and fry for 3-4 mins until the onions slightly turn golden brown.
  • Add the finely chopped tomatoes along with salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder.
  • After the tomatoes cook well, add 1 1/2 cups of water along with the curry leaves and let the mixture boil well.
  • Now add the cut steamed dumplings and let it cook for a few minutes until the dumpling absorb the liquid. More the time the curry rests, more it gets absorbed into the dumplings.

Tip: If you do not own an idly plate, oil an ordinary plate and place the dumpling on them. In a pressure cooker, add the water to it and place the dumpling plate on top of an inverted bowl (this is used to elevate to the plate from directly touching the boiling water). Make sure there is enough gap on the sides so that the steam comes in contact with the dumpling. Cover the lid of the cooker without its whistle and let it steam for 10 minutes. Alternatively a dumpling steamer can also be used.


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