Masala Vada Curry ~ Paruppu Vadai Curry

Vada Curry
Spicy curry of coconut and tomatoes, with lentil dumplings

This one is a firm favorite when we eat out at Tamizh or Chettinadu places (I know they are not interchangeable words, but I am trying to keep it simple here)

I always thought it was impossibly laborious to first make the vadais and then the curry. A few weeks ago, my MIL sent us some paruppu vadais that she made on some occasion. Being a mother, things like diet and restraint fall on deaf ears and she sent us a cartload of these. After setting aside a few to eat as snacks, I made this curry for lunch the next day.

Not all of you may be as lucky, so you will have to make the vadais first. The recipe is as follows.

Masala Vada Curry (Serves 4)


For the Masala Vadas

Chana Dal                                           – 1 cup (soak for 1 hr)

Green Chillis                                     – 2 (paste or chopped finely)

Curry leaves                                     – a few

a big pinch of asafetida

Salt and chilli powder as per taste

oil for frying

Grind the soaked channa dal with very little water to a coarse paste. Add the chopped green chillies,  asafetida, chopped curry leaves, salt and red chilli powder to taste and mix well.

  1. With wet hands, make into small balls and flatten them.
  2. Heat the oil and deep fry till golden brown.
  3. Remove and drain on paper towels.

For the Curry

Grated fresh coconut                          – 2 tablespoons

Whole Cumin Seeds                            – ¼ teaspoon

Whole black pepper                            – ½ teaspoon

Onion                                                        – 1 large, sliced

Green chillies                                         – 1

Ginger Garlic Paste                             – 1 teaspoon

Coconut Milk                                         1/3 cup

Tomatoes                                                 – 2

Tamarind extract                                 – ½ cup

Oil                                                               – 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves a few

Coriander leaves for garnishing

  1. Grind to a fine paste with a little water, the coconut, whole cumin, whole black pepper and green chilli.
  2. Heat the oil, add the curry leaves and onions and ginger garlic paste and fry till the onions are pink.
  3. Add the ground masala and sauté till it is beginning to stick to the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook covered till it turns soft. Add ½ cup water and the tamarind extract and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the masala vadas and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and mix to taste. Add the coconut milk, simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
  6. Check for seasoning and adjust. Serve hot with plain steamed rice.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. nags says:

    i have memories of amazing vada curry tasted in madurai. i just get so confused what to eat it with because it’s so delicious on it’s own.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks yummy and great rom the colour and texture of the gravy.Will try definitely.Please clarify how you are getting such nice and rich golden colour for the gravy despite adding ingredients like tamarind extract, coconut milk.etcAre there any food colours added or is it due to the digital magic of modern technology in photography?

    1. arundati says:

      Hi Baskaran, you made me go back and check the picture! the photo has not been digitally touched up. that’s how the curry looked. the spices, onions and turmeric, when fried give it the rich hue. Also my tamarind is not the dark brown bordering on black variety.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Thank you Arundati for your reply. .I would certainly try this recipe Both your presentation and the picture are worth a word of praise

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