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Sambar Vada

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There was a potluck party at office last Thursday and we were assigned
to prepare some appetizer. Many ideas came to mind, but I was very keen
on recipes of every one’s like/choice and also simple enough to prepare
for 20+ people. I know if I would have assigned for any dessert, things
would be very easy. Ideas started with spring rolls and ended up with
very simple, easy to make sambar vadas. 

I love to say more about this south Indian delicacy. hmm. But how? OK, let me go this way. It is an savory doughnuts made using urid dal, soaked in hot sambar (a kind of gravy). The crispy doughnuts instantly absorb sambar and become very soft and spongy. Sambar prepared without any vegetables does suit this recipe well, but you can add them if you wish. Also, getting a perfect shape Vada is little tricky and it is entirely depends on adding correct quantity of water while preparing the batter. If you are not getting proper vada shape, drop them just like balls. The taste remains the same. 🙂

If the sambar is watery, soak vadas for 2-5 minutes before serving or else presoak the vadas in warm water for 5-10 minutes and then add to sambar. Its absolutely depends on how you prefer to eat.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 1 hour for soaking + 30 minutes for grinding
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 30-35 vadas


For Vada:

Urid Dal – 3 cups

Salt – to taste

Ginger – 1 inch, chopped

Onion – 1/2 cup, chopped

Green chillies – 2 no

Black pepper corns – 3 teaspoon

Oil – for deep frying

For Sambar:

Toor dal – 3/4 cup

Tamarind – 1 lemon size

Vegetables (carrot, beans and potato) – 1 cup (optional)

Shallots / Red Onions – 1/2 cup

Tomato – 1 no, chopped

Sambar masala – 2 tablespoon

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Curry leaves – 1 string

Mustard and urid dal – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 3 teaspoon

For Serving:

Onion – 1/2 cup, very finely chopped

Tomato – 1/2 cup, very finely chopped

Coriander leaves – 10 strings, chopped

Sev – 1/2 tablespoon (optional)


For Vada:

1) Wash and soak urid dal for an hour and grind it to a fine paste. Add only < 2 handful of water to make a perfect batter.

2) Towards the end of the grinding, add salt, onion, coriander leaves, green chilli, ginger and pepper to the batter and make fine paste.

3) Make sure the batter is only light thick to get soft vada.

4) Heat oil in a Kadai/Frying pan.

5) Take another bowl with water near to your batter pan.

6) Dip your right hand first into water and take a lemon size batter and gently make a hole in center (As in dough nuts) using your right hand thumb. Please see here for detailed vada making.

7) Put this vada into oil slowly.

8) Repeat this vada making step for the remaining batter. Each time dip your hand into the water to make perfect shape of vada.

9) At a time you can put 3 to 5 vadas depending upon your pan and vada size.

10) Turn to other side to fry the upper part of the vada.

11) Fry till it becomes golden brown in colour.

12) When vada is fried well, remove it from oil and transfer it to a plate/bowl with the paper towel which absorbs the excess oil and allow it to cool.

13) Take warm water in wide bowl and put vada on it and keep it aside for 10 minutes.(Optional)

14) Vadas are ready.

For Sambar:

1) Pressure cook the toor dal. Once cooked, mash using potato masher as much as possible. Keep aside.

2) Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes and extract juice from it. Keep aside.

3) Take a pan and heat oil. When it is hot add mustard and urid dal. Allow mustard seeds to splutter.

4) Add curry leaves followed by chopped onions and saute till onions are translucent.

5) Add tomato and cook till they completely mashes.

6) If you are using veggies, add now and sprinkle little water to cook them. Continue cooking till vegetables become soft.

7) Add salt, sambar masala and turmeric powder. Cook for 2 more minutes.

8) Add tamarind juice, mashed toor dal and two cups of water.

9) Boil it till it reaches the sambar consistency.

10) Sprinkle a big pinch of asafoetida and mix well.

11) Remove from stove and allow it to cool for a while.

12) Transfer to a wide bowl.

For Serving:

1) From warm water bowl, take vadas and squeeze out the water absorbed by very gently pressing them in between your palms.

2) Put the vadas into sambar bowl for 2 minutes.

3) While serving garnish with onion, tomato, coriander leaves and sev.

I am happy to send this recipe to Vatsala’s Potluck Dinner and and Srav’s culinary concepts.

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Sangeetha M

tats a perfect sambar vadai…so soft n soggy…very tempting beautiful presentation ums..nice..

Sangeetha M

sorry…its *UMA mistypo 🙂


Thaks sangee. This words are really motivating me. Its OK with the name. My friends call me by that name only.

Suja Manoj

Sambar vada looks tempting,yummy and spicy sambar..beautiful combo


आप के बताये तरीके से, आज ही घर पर बना कर खायेंगे।


wow very tempting sambar vada !! I love it !! Thanks for linking to my event dear !!


Reshmi Mahesh

Wow…I am drooling over your pics…super soft vada…tempting…

Vimitha Durai

Oh dear.. So tempting clicks. I love sambar vada and am drooling now. Looks so perfectly soaked and yum…

Sneha Benny

Sambar Vada looks so tempting !!!


Sambar vada is my favourite and this looks so delicious

Ongoing event: Fusion Food: Pasta


Sambar Vada.. Everyone's fav.. Looks so tempting.. Fantastic clicks.. You can add few curry leaves.. Vada will be still more flavorful.. Some in chennai add coriander leaves too..

Prathima Rao

This super yummy combo is beautifully captured Uma 🙂
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner


mouthwatering uma. i first order is sambar vada when i go to restaurents.nice clicks

Indian Khana

Looks fab Uma …love the clicks …and this is my DH fav ..he always order this ….thanks for visiting my space …do keep in touch


Looks fab Uma..Wonderful Presentation and this is one of my most fav dishes..Glad following u also..Thanks for dropping by my space dear


Drooling and mouthwatering . Lovely pictures.

Treat and Trick

Great presentation and looks fabulous!


Sambar vada looks tempting


So now you are making me hungry and it almost midnight :(. Looks yummy.

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This is killer sambhar vada…….I've had vada a lot of times & I make myself too But I only similar looking smabhar vada in Mumbai during my last India visit. Am drooling………


yummy & delicious…very tempting..great clicks Uma..glad to follow you…