Vada Curry - Sidedish for Idli/dosa

Vada curry is a famous south indian dish usually accompanied with idli / dosa.  Deep fried paruppu vadai (lentil fritters) is cooked in a spicy onion tomato base gravy with addition of coconut milk. Alternative, vadas can be steam cooked instead of deep frying to make it healthy. But I recommend to go for deep fried version. Though recipe seems to be time consuming but once vadas are ready in hands, it is such a quick cooking side dish. I'm sure its such a winning combination with set dosa. I hope you will love to try this recipe and waiting to let me know your feedback.
Preparation & cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: serves 4 


Gram Dal / Kadala Paruppu – 1/2 cup
Onion – 1, chopped
Tomato – 1 (big), chopped
Green chilli - 2
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Thick Coconut milk – 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves – 4 tbsp, chopped
Cinnamon - 1/2 " piece
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – for deep frying + 2 tbsp for seasoning

To Grind:
Green chilli – 2
Dried red chilli - 3(soak in hot warm for 10 minutes)
Ginger small piece – ½” piece
Garlic – 3 cloves
Cinnamon sticks – 1" piece
Cloves –3
Cardamom- 2

For seasoning:
Bay leaf - 1 (i didnot use it)
Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
Mustard – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – few
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped


  • Soak gram dal for 2 hours. Drain dal with no water. Grind to coarse paste. Combine with chilli, little salt and fennel seeds.
  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Pinch small portion of batter(like we do for pakore), drop in hot oil. Do not over-flood the oil with batter. Do in batches. Deep fry until slight golden brown. Drain in kitchen tissues.

  • Now the grind the ingredients under To Grind to coarse paste.
  • Heat oil in kadai / pan. Season mustard, and allow to splutter. Add fennel and cinnamom stick, bay leaf, few sprigs of curry leaves.
  • Add onions and saute until turns translucent. Add tomato and saute until tomatoes are tender.
  • Add salt and turmeric powder. Cook for few minutes to make tomato tender. Add the ground paste, allow to cook until raw smell disappears.
  • Pour a cup of water and let it boil for 2 minutes. Add the vadas and let it cook for some time. Vadas will absorb water so if required add some more water.
  • Finally add coconut milk and simmer cook for sometime to let the gravy thicken. Mash a bit gently using potato masher to break the vadas. Garnish with coriander leaves and remove from heat.
  • Serve hot with Idli, dosa, aapam, idiyappam and parotta.



  • I used store brought coconut milk, which is usually thicker than home made coconut milk. You can even use coconut milk powder if you cannot get it. Dissolve it with warm water before use.
  • Always add vadas at the last stage of cooking before serving, soon vadas sucks up moisture and leaves out very thick gravy.
  • You can even use moong dal and channa dal combination to make vada curry.
  • If you need to get restaurant style vada curry, use some amount of red chilli, coriander  and garam masala powder.
  • Adding few chopped mint leaves enhance the taste of vada curry, try it.

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