Vadai and Pachai Sambal

Black gram, or urad dhal, plays an important role in the cuisine of the north. It is one of the gram varieties cultivated in the seasons in between paddy cultivation and is a major source of nutrition.

Today, I will share my mother’s recipe for her famous vadais as well as a green gram snack in my next post. Vadai can be breakfast food or a tea-time snack or can be served with lunch or dinner. It is the most common snack under the Tamil cuisine of the country and is quite popular around the country.

Vadai with Sambal

(a) Vadai

Cooking time: 20 – 30 mins + 4 hrs (fermenting time)

Makes 10 vadai



  • Urad dal/ black gram – 1 cup, skin removed
  • Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – 1, medium sized and chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Low fat oil (sunflower or canola) – ½ litre (for deep frying) + 1 tsp (for sauté)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Soak the black gram, without the skin, for 3 – 4 hours.
  2. Grind with a little water to thick batter.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and lightly sauté the chopped onion, chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan and the coriander leaves to the batter mix and add salt to taste. If you prefer, you can also add 1 tsp baking powder.
  5. Mix well and keep aside for 5 mins.
  6.  Heat ½ l oil in the pan.
  7. Take a piece of banana leaf or something equivalent, dab some water on the surface and put a spoonful of batter onto the leaf. Shape it into a round or elliptical shape with a hole in the middle, like a mini doughnut.
  8. Transfer to the oil pan, 3 to 4 at a time, and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  9. Serve with pachai sambal.

 (b) Pachai sambal

Preparation time: 5 – 10 mins

Serves 4

Pachai Sambal


  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – ¼, chopped
  • Ginger – ½ “ (optional)
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig, chopped
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Mix and grind all ingredients and add salt, to taste.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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