A few weekends ago the hubby had gone off to India on a school project, and I decided to make a trip to Toronto. I love going back home, and getting spoiled rotten with delicious food by my mom and dad. This trip my mom decided she hadn't made anything 'good' (meaning deep fried) in a while, so she whipped up her amazing thayir vadai's (fried lentil doughnuts soaked in yogurt topped with coconut chutney). They were one of my childhood favourites. Food is a great way to trigger wonderful memories! Here is her recipe below, it sounds easy but I have yet to attempt it.
1 cup urad daal, 1 tbsp of rice, 6-7 green chillies, 1 tbsp ginger, a pinch of asafetida, a few curry leaves, 1/2 cup of grated coconut, 2 cups of yogurt, cilantro
1. Soak a cup of full dehusked urad daal along with a spoon of rice for an hour. Then wash and drain it well.
2. Grind the green chillies, ginger, salt, asafetida with the curry leaves. You need to add a little water to grind it. Add the soaked urad dal and grind till it becomes fluffy.
Note: Do not add water after you add the daal, as it will become too watery, the dough has to be soft and well ground , but not watery. It will splutter the oil as you try to deep fry them if it is too watery, and you can burn yourself!
3. Heat oil in the heavy bottom wok, test it with a small ball of dough, it should sizzle and rise up immediately.
4. Dip your hands in water , scoop the dough along the sides of the bowl and make a large hole with your thumb. Slide this gently into the oil as close to the sides as you can. The film of water on your fingers will help it slide effortlessly into the oil.
4. To make it into thayir vadai, arrange three or four sets of vadai in a flat bottom dish. Take yogurt (homemade works best) and pour over it when vadai is cooled off but still slightly warm . This will help it absorb all the water in the yogurt and leave a film of creamy yogurt on top. Blend half a cup of yogurt with fresh coconut , and green chillies to taste. Top each vadai with this chutney. Before serving the vadai you can decorate with fresh cilantro, or grated carrot in small amounts on top of each vadai. Some people also garnish with spluttered mustard seeds.
5. If you wish to do it for a party and wish to go fancy, my mom will add just a small handfull of boondi after making the vadai and use it to add crunch and color on top of the thair vadai.
Note: When the warm vadai is left in the yogurt it will soak up in three hours. Some people dip the vadai in hot water too, but that is optional.
My sister and I kept eating the vadai's at all times of the day. For lunch, then with our tea, then after we came home from partying at 3 in the morning. Thayir Vadais are a good thing!