I will admit that I have a hard time keeping up with all of the different names for Indian dishes, as the cuisine varies so much depending on every region's unique traditions and influences. Indian savories often have me a bit confused, even though I started cooking Indian food soon after adopting a vegetarian diet, and that was over twenty years ago.
One thing I do know is that Indian appetizers have always been one of my favorite aspects of dining out, and since growing keen on experimenting in my own kitchen, there is no match for homemade preparations. With some research and control over the quality of your ingredients and process, eating out will in all likelihood pale in comparison. I now find most of the offerings from local establishments greasy and bland in comparison to homemade. The only drawback is that many breads, patties, balls and fritters can take time and be a bit messy. It really is worth the effort though and oftentimes the savories, such as these chana dal patties complete with some tamarind sauce in this instance, easily make up the main portion of a lighter meal if the temptation to indulge doesn't overwhelm.
Vadas seem to be a new favorite of mine. Popular in South India traditionally, vadas are fried savories usually made with dal and spices that are now popular in many parts of India and beyond. Often disc or doughnut shaped, this popular street food can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack with any variety of chutneys, and are a fine feature of any celebratory meal.
These chana dal and peanut vadas came together in very little time at all, and instead of the usual deep-frying method I shallow fried them for a healthier appetizer or meal accompaniment. I adore little bites and I'm always happy to serve them up as the star of the meal. Serve with rice and a side vegetable curry and rest assured no one will leave the table hungry. The peanuts not only provide extra protein and nutty flavor but also serve to help bind the cake together, without any need for excess oil, eggs or flour. I was pleasantly surprised how well they held together when frying and after they were gone, I was eager to make up another batch. The thick, creamy coconut milk, tamarind and chili sauce that I served them with was the crowning glory.
I adapted this recipe from Raghavan Iyer's comprehensive guide to Indian cooking, 660 Curries. His book occupies a treasured space on a prominent bookshelf in my kitchen, and with so many ideas, including fusion-style dishes, I never get bored of exploring his tried and tested recipes and exploring new delights awaiting the curious and eager cook. Whether a novice or an experienced cook, I'm certain anyone with a keen interest in Indian cooking will embrace this book as I have for many years and many more to come.
|Chana Vada (Chana Dal Peanut Patties) with a Tamarind Chili Sauce|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from 660 Curries
Published on March 23, 2015
Shallow-fried Indian spiced chana dal and peanut patties served with a tangy, creamy and zesty tamarind, chili and coconut milk sauce
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I'm sharing this with Jacqueline's bookmarked recipe event and also My Legume Love Affair, a monthly event celebrating all things legumes, started by lovely Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, now administered by me and kindly hosted this month by Siri. There is still time to submit a recipe to both of these vegetarian recipe roundups.
Other little bites you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Potato Patties Stuffed with Spiced Green Peas (Aloo Matar Tikki)
Chickpea Potato Koftas with Ricotta Cheese
Paneer Tikka Masala
Vegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Chutney
On the top of the reading stack: Sweetly Raw Desserts: Raw Vegan Chocolates, Cakes, Cookies, Ice Cream, and More by Heather Pace
Audio Accompaniment: chirping birds