Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ari Vada – Donut shaped savoury fritters with rice flour

Once again, I felt like that little girl who walked into the classroom , after a long leave of absence, fearing if friends would welcome her back into their group ,share same level of closeness or feel some sort of disconnect and to her surprise, she was delighted to notice that warm smile on her friends’ faces. That’s exactly what I experienced, a note of reassurance and support, while surfing through your comments on my last post. I was elated, to say the least! The knowledge that someone really kept checking this blog regulary for an update and was finally happy to see some activity here, made me feel really tickled. Thank you for letting me know that I was missed and for making me feel special :)

As I sit here listening to the crickets chirping outside and clock ticking fast way into midnight, my brain calls out to go for a quick post and a quick recipe; so here we go!

On those days when I blogged regularly, leap-frogging from one dish to another, following winding trails of faded memories, leading to another forgotten taste, my cousin-M Chechi who has been a constant support and follower of this blog, mailed me with a list of various tea-time snacks I could think of blogging and suggested that Usha aunty might be able to help me with the original names of many snacks as her mother was an expert in variety snacks. I replied saying ,” ….. and also y'day i thought about usha aunty's amma...i was not aware that she was a snack expert........but I remember,.she had taught mummy to make a deep fried snack....something with arippodi and ulli, mulaku and inji ....but i dont remember if she adds thairu to it...anyway....see ...this is how my thought path leads me to stuff i havent thought about in a while.....:) “. She reverted with a quick response correcting me , “Hey that deep fried snack of usha aunty's amma --- it is not curd but grated coconut. I sometimes try that. If you put a pinch of sodapodi, it becomes very soft.

Yes, it has always been “Usha Aunty’s Amma’s palaharam/snack” for our entire family for more than a decade . This deep fried savory snack made with rice flour, spiced up with the heat from green chillies and ginger was introduced to all the women in our family by Usha Aunty’s Amma, as “Easy Uzhunnu Vada” that can be made in a jiffy, when we have some impromptu guests. For its ease and use of readily available ingredients , I remember my mother serving it as our after school snack many a time ……that bite of onions, mild heat from the chillies and finally washing it down with a hot glass of tea …..aaahh…..that was heights of tea-time pleasure for a teenager like me!

Then why the name “Ari Vada” for my post? As you can see from the mail chat with my cousin, we always referred to this one as Usha Aunty’s Amma’s palaharam/snack, until the day I heard a more convincing name in a cooking segment telecast by a Malayalam TV Channel, while collecting info on Kalathappam. In this particular episode, the snack under discussion is featured as an old world favorite among the Muslim community from Balaramapuram, a place at the southern region of Kerala, especially at the time of breaking fast /Nombu Thura during the month of Ramadan. The only difference here is that egg and baking powder is not part of the featured recipe and the only explanation I can think of is that, the introduction of these two ingredients lately shares the same logic of some adding eggs and baking powder in making Pazhampori , mainly for more fluffiness and texture…. a perfect example of how recipes evolve over time!

During her stay here, my mother made this snack once to satisfy my pregnancy cravings as well as to feature it on blog. She suggested putting a hole in the middle to add to its overall aesthetic appeal. Also she was of the opinion that the similarity in appearance with Uzhunnu Vada, justifies the name ,” Easy Uzhunnu Vada”. Putting a hole in the middle is a personal choice, though technically it helps in cooking the dough evenly. Here’s how my mother prepared it:

  • 2 cups rice flour, roasted
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup big onion minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 10 green chillies, minced ( adjust to your tolerance)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • Around ¾ cup water ( varies depending on the rice flour)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients , except water and start mixing. Minced onion and grated coconut release some amount of water content and hence, be careful and start adding water little by little and mix until dough is soft and moist enough to roll on your palm. If you have time, let the dough rest for about 30 minutes before shaping them.
  • Heat oil over medium heat , in a deep frying pan and when oil is hot - check by dropping a tiny bit of the dough into the oil and if it comes to the top sizzling with bubbles around, then oil is ready for frying - start shaping the dough. You can do this either on your palm or on a plantain/banana leaf or on a parchment paper. Smear some oil or water on your chosen canvas; take a small amount of dough and roll them into a gooseberry size ball and then gently flatten it by pressing with your fingers ( Note: Dipping you fingers in water is a neat idea to avoid sticking at this stage; it also makes the transferring (to the frying pan) easier) and put a hole in the middle. Transfer it carefully to the hot oil and fry till it turns golden brown. Serve with hot tea/coffee.
Those who do not like to take the extra effort of putting the hole in the middle, may just stop with flattening the dough and shape and fry like Parippu Vada, another variety of lentil fritters.

While following a trail from the comments section, I discovered Fathima’s blog and came across this same snack dressed little differently, with a very sweet name, Mutta Surka. Her recipe looks more or less the same and what I loved about hers is the use of ableskiver pans/Unniappam Chatti to make it more healthy with less oil . Thank You, Fathima!


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  1. Yes, unless told, it looks like uzhunnu vada.. With roasted rice flour on hand, its indeed an instant snack.

  2. Let me go and try this out.
    Also a very late congratulations from me. Happy parenting! :)

  3. Wow never heard of this vada..looks very appealing...

  4. Arivada kollam, i will try some time. I tried your kozhalappam and plum cake came good.

  5. Looks yummy :)
    Parcel some pls :P

  6. look who is back with a bang!! :) will read the post now...

  7. glad you are back with delicious snack as always!

  8. Vadas look delicious dear.. Really tempting ones..

  9. Good that you are back. Was missing your recipes and photographs

  10. HI!!!
    I have just started reading your blog.. and must say.. loving it!!!
    I am quite a starter.. thought of asking a favour.. will u be able to post snaps as and when you are making it.. like in the case of this vada.. if you show the fotos of the dough, and how u shape it in your palm etc it might very helpful for people like me.. who have tried making a vada and been a big failure at it :(
    Thanks! your posts are awesome!!

  11. I’m surprised very much seeing ur space updated after a long break! Welcome back… missed ur stories so much!

  12. Dear Shn,

    I stumbled upon your blog few months back while blog hopping for some recipes and fell in love with everything about your space - the recipes, photographs and the nostalgic rambligs. I went through many of your posts that day unaware that your Little King was born and you were not blogging. After few hours of reading, I sadly realised that you had taken a break, so I kept coming and checking every now and then whether you have returned to updating your blog. I was happy to read your guest post in Ria's space and hoped that you will be able to get back to blogging again soon and here you are...:). I love reading your posts. Welcome back, I m very happy to see you back in action. Between, I'm a Keralite too and have a 15 month old daughter. I ve tried your beef fry and black forest cake and we all loved both of it.Thank you for such amazing recipes and detailed descriptions.

  13. Wooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwiiiieee...Welcome back mishamash.....i missed u much..hope u and family is well..

  14. Oh yes... This is almost similar to Mutta Surka... it is interesting how different regions have different names for kind of the same prep.. may be it is like you came up with the name Ari Vada :-) Thanks for visiting my blog...

  15. I must admit, even though I hate cooking, your blog inspires me to! I am dying to try out the recipes here.

  16. Warm welcome Shn! We missed you. And what a great start. Vada looks yummy. Thank you for not taking a longer break.

  17. Arivada..sounds great, will give this a try..thanks for sharing.

  18. So glad to know that you are feeling encouraged. Can't wait to see more recipes from you, btw, love this Ari Vada.

  19. thats one of my fav fried snacks amma makes... :D she even makes the same with rava.. and if there are left over vadas, she makes curry with them, be it parippu vada, uzhunnu vada, arivada.. hehe.. love it!! do try it out if u havent tried it yet.

  20. Thanks a bunch for all your encouraging words....feels really good to be back ..hope i can update this place more often..thanks a lot for dropping by :)

    Laxmi, as for your request, I wish I could give step by step pics but I have some time constraints....also most of the recipes that will be featured from here on are from my them again just to blog and to take pics is not at all a feasible option in my current situation...I am really sorry :(

  21. These looks so delicious and would love to have it with a cup of tea.And good to see you back.
    hugs and smiles

  22. Good to see you back blogging, and doing it really well as you do. I have never heard of this one, but i am trying it out for sure. Loved the photo too, it was just like i could pick one up from the screen.

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  24. Have a question- the consistency should be like that of uzhunnu vada batter or chapatti dough? Thanks and great to read your blog again

  25. Hey Mish, tried out your Ari Vada.. It was beautiful with tea, we finished in one sitting... Best thing is it can be made so easy and fast, now I'l have something to give guests when we run out of snacks :-)
    Thanks again..

  26. looks mom used to fry this in 'appakkara'..and that version of arivada tastes so good..


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