Vadai with Sambal

I have been enjoying writing on my other blog, Perspectives Quilt, this month reminiscing about past travels. I have also just opened up a Pinterest and Instagram account, both of which I had been avoiding not only because I was busy but also because I am not a good photographer. However, since opening both accounts last week, I have found that I pay a little more attention to whatever photos I do take. I know I haven’t been doing justice, with my photos, to the delicious food that my mother has made though I have been diligently recording and sharing her recipes through this blog. I have resolved to try and work on my food photography skills a little, where possible.

So, when my mother made some vadai for tea this evening, I decided that it would be a good time to start experimenting with natural light and angles. Nothing major. Just a series of photos turning my little bowl, with my teatime snack, around. This is the photo I ended up satisfied with, after dozens of photos, which I then applied an instagram filter on.

Vadai 01.JPG

Vadai with Sambal

What do you think? Does this photo make you want to have some vadai now?

Well, whether it makes you want to try some right now or not, please do try out my mother’s famous (among family and friends) recipe for homemade vadai with sambal. They are delicious and lovely to share at Iftar parties as well!

I am bringing this over to Fiesta Friday #124, initiated by Angie and co-hosted this week by Lindy@Love in the Kitchen and Liz@Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Vadai with Sambal

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print


  • 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


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


  1. Soak the black gram, without the skin, for 3 – 4 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked black gram, adding a little water, to prepare the thick vadai 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 the oil in the pan for deep-frying.
  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. Mix and grind all ingredients for the sambal and add salt, to taste.
  10. Serve the vadai with sambal and some Sri Lankan tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Kundu Thosai with Coconut Tamarind Sambal

A friend of my mother dropped by this morning with some breakfast treats that she had made so I decided to post the recipes for those two dishes. The first is kundu thosai with a coconut-tamarind sambal.

Kundu thosai with sambal

(a) Kundu thosai

Cooking time: 15 mins + preparation time: nearly 8 hours

Makes 24

Gundu thosai


  • Black gram/ Urad dal/ Ulunthu – ½ cup
  • Raw rice – 1 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Pepper – ¼ tsp
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Wheat flour – 2 tbsp
  • Oil, as required


  1. Soak ulunthu and rice for about 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked ulunthu and rice together with the fenugreek seeds, pepper, cumin seeds and turmeric powder.
  3. Mix the wheat flour in the blended mixture. The batter should be thick.
  4. Let the batter rest for about 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Place the special ‘kundu thosai’ pan on the stove on low heat.
  6. Pour a little oil in each of the 8 holes of the pan. Then, pour a tablespoon of batter in each.
  7. Cook the thosai for about 1 ½ to 2 mins each side. Flip to the other side so that both sides are browned.
  8. Serve hot with the coconut-tamarind sambal.

(b) Coconut-Tamarind Sambal

Time taken: 10 mins

Serves 4


  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Dried red chillies – 4 + 1
  • Onion – ¼ + ¼ , chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
  • Tamarind extract – ¼ cup
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, as required


  1. Soak four of the dried red chillies for a few minutes and then chop them up.
  2. Grind the soaked dried red chillies with the coconut and 1/4 onion and keep aside.
  3. Heat a tbsp or two of oil in a pan and fry the fennel seeds.
  4. When the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped ¼ onion and chopped dried red chilli and curry leaves.
  5. Add ¼ cup of tamarind extract to the pan and let it simmer.
  6. When the tamarind juice starts bubbling, add the ground chilli-onion-coconut mix and salt, to taste.
  7. Mix well and remove from heat.
  8. Serve with ‘Kundu’ thosai.

Recipe source: Ithayarani Jeyabalasingham.