Vada: The South Indian Doughnut

vadaA vada is a type of South Indian fritter that often resembles a doughnut. It is made from a dough based on either ground lentils or beans, which is mixed with seasoning ingredients like onions, green chilies, black pepper, curry leaves, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and other spices. It is generally served hot and crunchy, with a fluffy center and a savory taste that goes well with a lot of Indian food.

This dish can be traced back to the ancient Tamil people, as far back as 100 BC. The earliest known mention of vada comes to us from a Sanskrit encyclopedia known as Manasollasa. The text describes a recipe for “vataka”, a green bean paste is shaped into a ball and deep-fried into something very similar to the modern variations.

Today, vada remains a popular food item for people throughout India. Diners will frequently eat it as a side dish along with dosas, idli, or similar dishes. It is also a common snack and street food, particularly during the Hindu festival of Onam and similar events. Shoppers enjoy buying them fresh out of the fryer, then dipping them in curd, coconut chutney, sambar, or other dips.

If you’ve never tried a vada before, we have several delicious options available at Spice Route in Bellevue. Try a medu vada with sambar and chutney, a dahi vada with yoghurt, a spicy sambar vada, or our specialty rasa vada, covered with sambar and spices. Come and try this South Indian favorite today!