|Alternative names||wada, vade, vadai, bara|
|Place of origin||India|
|Region or state||India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, South Africa, Mauritius, Fiji|
|Similar dishes||Burmese fritters|
Vada is a category of savoury fried snacks native to South India. Vadas can be described variously as fritters, cutlets, or dumplings. Alternative names for this food include vadai, vade, and bada. Vadas are sometimes stuffed with vegetables and traditionally served with chutneys and sambar.
In North India and Pakistan, Bhalla is a similar food. It is sold in chaat shops and kiosks; Green bean paste is added with spices, which is then deep fried to make croquets. They are then garnished with dahi (yogurt), Saunth chutney (dried ginger and tamarind sauce) and spices. Bhalla is usually served cold unlike the Aloo Tikki.
The various types of vadas are made from different ingredients, ranging from legumes (such as medu vada of South India) to potatoes (such as batata vada of West India). They are often served as a breakfast item or a snack, and also used in other food preparations (such as dahi vada and vada pav).
According to K. T. Achaya, Vadai (Vada) was popular among ancient Tamils during 100 BCE – 300 CE. A type of vada is mentioned as "vataka" in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka. In this recipe, green beans are soaked, de-skinned, and ground to a paste. The paste is shaped into balls and deep-fried. Early literature from the present-day states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also mentions bara (vada) and mungaura (a vada made from mung).
Many immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar migrated to places such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, South Africa, Mauritius, and Fiji in the mid-19th century to the early 20th century as indentured laborers. Bara became an important part of the Indian cuisine in these countries. In Trinidad and Tobago, bara became a component of one of their most famous street foods called doubles. Doubles is served with two baras filled with curried channa and topped with various chutneys or achars.
Vadai (Vada) may be made from legumes, sago or potatoes. Commonly used legumes include pigeon pea, chickpea, black gram and green gram. Vegetables and other ingredients are added to improve taste and nutritive value.
For legume-based vadas, the legumes (dal) are soaked with water, and then ground to a batter. The batter is then seasoned with other ingredients, such as cumin seeds, onion, curry leaves (sometimes previously sauteed), salt, chillies or black pepper grains. Often ginger and baking soda are added to the seasoning in shops to increase the fluffy texture and improve fermentation for large batches. The mixture is then shaped and deep-fried, resulting in vadas with a crispy skin and fluffy centre. The preparation of kalmi vadas involves cutting the resulting product into pieces and re-frying them.
Vadas are often eaten as snacks or as an accompaniment to another dish. In restaurants, they can be ordered as an à la carte item, but are not the main course. They are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy. They are served with a variety of dips including sambar, watery or dry chutneys and dahi (yogurt, often called "curd" in Indian English).
Medu vadas are typically served along with a main course such as dosa, idli, or pongal. Sambar and coconut chutneys are the standard accompaniments for medu vadas.
|Nutritional value per 2 pieces (58 gm)|
|Energy||795 kJ (190 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||5 g|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
The various types of vadas include:
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