Vadai are, in a nutshell, fritters. They can be plain dough or they can have other ingredients mixed in. The dough can be made of flour, lentils, potatoes, tapioca, and so on. These vadai are made with urad dhal (ulutham paruppu) and served with coconut chutney.
2 cups urad dhal
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
10 to 12 curry leaves, chopped
2 to 6 green chillies, to taste, chopped
Canola or other vegetable oil for deep frying (at least 3 inches deep in frying vessel)
1. Soak the urad dhal in water for at least 4 or 5 hours.
2. Start heating the oil (at least 3 inches deep) in a deep vessel.
3. While the oil is heating, drain off the excess water from the soaking urad dhal. Add salt and grind to a rough paste using an immersion blender or grind in a regular blender. Do not add too much water. Mix in the coconut, green chillies and curry leaves.
4. Keep a little oil next to you in a small bowl. Spread a little oil on your palms, take about 2 tbsp of vadai batter in your hand and make it into a round disc shape. Use your finger to make a small hole in the center (so it looks like a mini doughnut) and slide it carefully into the hot oil. Fry in batches until the exteriors are golden brown and crispy, flipping as needed to fry both sides.
5. Remove to a paper towel to drain some of the excess oil. Serve hot with chutney, sambar or plain.