Friday, November 14, 2008

Vada Bhaat and Kadhi

Justify FullIn my Thali: Clockwise -
Roasted udid papad, Godima Halwa (Sent by Vidya Shenoy Aunty) , Chakli sent by Chorghade Kaku, Dal Vada, Vada Bhaat and Kadhi

I was in the 8th standard when I got my first recipe book as a gift . It had the recipe of Nagpuri Vada bhaat. Now in Mumbai some of these things are not available even on Marathi restaraunt menus. So all these years I had just heard all my Marathi friends from Vidarbha region rave about it until last year.

We were invited for the Udyapan or the closing ceremony of Mahalaxmi vrat by my friends Shaliesh & Manisha. Shaila Kaku was also here in Blr so the Udyapan was a full fledged perfectly done celebration complete with homa, havan and naivedhya of 5 sweets!

The menu was elaborate and I don't remember all of it now but I remember my encounter with Vada Bhaat and Kadhi. So finally after so many years of not knowing what exactly it was I got to taste it from the hands of a sugran. More than the taste I like the attention given to the person served. It is an example of the Indian Hospitality and Agraha at its best.

While I am going to give the recipe below I must elaborate on the true Agraha that makes Vada bhaat and Kadhi stand out as a recipe that Vidarbha people talk about so much. This combo is always part of an elaborate meal. Yet this is not something that you can prepare before hand and serve. It requires the involvement of the host all the time.

When serving first you serve a pile of rice. Then the vada on the side. Mostly the vada is Dal vada or sometimes pakodas. Then you tell your guest to crush the vada on the rice. Meanwhile you go fetch the Kadhi that is boiling on sim on the gas to accompany the Vada bhaat. Next you make a second trip to the kitchen to pick up the final touch the hot oil and asafoetida water. The hot oil is a dressing that is addded in spoonfuls on the rice. This oil is the leftover oil after frying the vadas. So as you balance the hot oil held in a steel vati/ bowl with tongs you are holding the asafoetida water in another vati with a tiny spoon in it. You go and stand in front up the guest and warn the person to keep out the hand while you serve and dress up the rice and crushed vadas with the oil and drizzle a bit of asafoetida water over it. Then you lovingly watch over the person as the mixing goes on almost in a meditative fashion. You then tell them to add little bit of kadhi to the mixed rice and put the morsel in the mouth!

Humm after making the guest do so much of salivating and you doing the pampering it ought to taste good!

Well there are easier ways of doing it as I have done couple of times after that when I made it at home. I just crushed the vada and mixed oil and asafoetida into the rice before hand and served with piping hot kadhi. Simple. It still tasted the same but we like to fuss over our guests don't we!

That's why I said the core of Vada bhaat and Kadhi is the tradition of serving with agraha. Agraha is marathi for coaxing.


The 5 steps

1. Recipe for Dal Vadas
2. Recipe for Kadhi
3. Cook the rice
4. The asafoetida water
5. Serving the Vada Bhaat: described above

1. You can make the dal vadas before hand and keep it saves a lot of time and this dish asks for cold vadas rather than hot ones that can be crumbled. This time I used moog dal as it soaks faster though it does not give the crumble like Chana dal vadas but it did not matter much.

2. Kadhi

1 cup curds
1 tablespoon chickpea flour/ besan
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
7-8 curry leaves
1 inch piece of cinnamon
4 cloves
salt to taste

Heat oil is a pot. Crackle the mustard seeds, fry the cinnamon and cloves. Add the curry leaves. The cloves and cinnamon make it spicy so I avoid green chilies but incase you are able to handle more heat use slit green chilies while seasoning. Add a bit of water and cover to retain the volatiles.

In a bowl blend the curd and chickpea flour to a smooth paste. Add it to the above pot. Boil on sim for 10 mins to cook. Increase water to desired consistency and boil for another 5 mins.

Taste a bit to ensure the raw taste of chickpea flour is removed. Put off the heat.

3. Now cook rice with a little less water so that the rice is fluffly like we make for pulaos and biryanis. Keep aside

4. The asafoetida water is made by dissolving 1 teaspoon of asafoetida in 1 tablespoon of water. Save

Follow as described above to serve Vada bhaat with Kadhi.

Phurki~ marun kha ! Slurp it up !


  1. wah, what a strategy ! I love the way you describe this. And right when u said "put the morsel in your mouth" I salivated :) U actually pampared me by taking through the entire steps followed! Lovely post!

  2. That a totally new dish for me thali looks very inviting

  3. :) good write! and nice recipe too ...

    i like Kannada word for Agrah - Balawantaa ... makes more sense to me ;)

  4. Was it so easy Nirmala ;) but your stomach will not agree LOL!

    smn am happy you liked it.

    and mints Balawantaa would be a name is marathi and we add the 'a' when calling out but if you mean forcefully by that word then in marathi we would say "bale khaoo ghatle"/ forced to eat. But here Agraha is more of coaxing and not forcing.

    Yeah but if your mother tongue is Kanada you might appreciate Balawanta more. While for a Maharashtrian Agraha is Agraha!

  5. vada bhat is totally new to me and what a way to eat it..
    my granny uses asafoetida water for almost everything, just like we keep pickle and salt on the table, they have this. I must tell her about this receipe :)

  6. Feel like diving in :D. Love vada bhat, especially the asofoetida water. The vadas that i have had were predominantly made of matki.

    really appreciate your observations on the aagraha / agatya bit

  7. From what i remember, my mom used to add dried red chillies and hing in the hot oil that was poured over the rice.

  8. sap the foodie that I know ;)?

    Your granny uses asafoetida water for almost everything?!! I guess it must be doing a lot of good to her! I know it works well on bloating and indigestion.

    Yes Vinaya I think the very authetic recipes do have matki. Annapoorna also mentions it. But this is Shaila Kaku's way and I made it with moog dal vadas for almost instant Vada bhat!

    Abhi welcome here! Yes I have seen that in another friend's home. I guess there could be personal variations.

  9. interesting combination! :-)

  10. Atul get yourself invited to Uday's home (he is from that region) to sample the fare. don't tell I suggested it;)


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