Easy Ulli Vada/ Kerala Onion Pakodas/Fritters
Ulli vada is an old fashioned tea time snack from Kerala, the ones you find at local tea stalls and canteens. It is a quick and easy crispy snack, perfect for tea time. During these cold winter months when we are huddled together at home, my family sometimes craves spicy snacks and fritters along with warm tea. I love these amazing fritters and its inducing smell is a real nostalgia. Ulli vada can be made with simple everyday ingredients. These tiny appetizers can be served with afternoon tea or with drinks if you are having a get together with friends. These fitters are delicious, and I am sure you’ll love them too!
Onion pakoras/ vadas/Fritters is a commonly made snack in India. There are unimaginable varieties of pakodas, and ulli vada reminds me of local tea shops of Kerala. Hot piping tea is served with fried delicacies like pazham pori, undan pori vadas, etc. The sheer variety of fried snacks displayed in tea stalls will astound you. Onion pakodas/ vadas are usually made with chickpeas flour. But this recipe is a little different. It is made with all-purpose flour/maida. My mom adds a tablespoon of soaked sabudana/ tapioca pearls paste for crispness and a soft vada like texture towards the center. Fried onions have a mild sweetness that compliments the heat from the green chilies. The seasoned batter lightly coats the onions and allows it to hold its shape while frying. Ginger, curry leaves, and coriander leaves add the right amount of aroma and freshness to the vada.
The process of making onion pakora starts by slicing and salting the onions and letting them sit for a while. Slice the onions as thinly, and evenly as possible for extra crispness. You can add finely chopped green chilly, ginger curry leaves, and coriander at this stage to allow the flavors to blend. Let it marinate for at least half an hour. The onions will become softer and more pliable.
The batter has to be thick, and almost crumble- like to get them crispy, crunchy texture that everyone likes. So sprinkle water, just enough to make the flour moist and stick to the onions. You can shape them like round dumplings or gently flatten it on your palm, before sliding it into the hot oil. The perfect oil temperature is medium hot. If it is too hot it will be under-cooked. Ketchup is a good condiment for ulli vada. You can also try tamarind chutney or green chutney.Ulli vadas are so addictive you will never get tired of eating them! It will be ready in under 15 minutes. Go ahead then and give it a try. Happy cooking!
Easy Ulli Vada/ Kerala Onion Pakodas/Fritters Recipe
Onion thinly sliced- 2 medium
(I have used a combination of yellow and red onion)
Ginger chopped – 1 tbs
Green chilly finely chopped- 4
( according to you spice preference)
All purpose flour- 3/4
Rice flour- 1 tbs
Sabudana/ Tapioca pearls- 1 tbs (optional)
Fennel seeds- 1/8 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Curry leaves – a few
hing- a pinch
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying-2 cup
Soak sabudana for 3-4 hours and make a fine paste. Slice onions thinly, lengthwise. You can also use a mandolin slicer for a perfect thin slice.
Into a bowl, add thinly sliced onion(red or yellow onion), chopped ginger, green chilly, chopped curry leaves, and coriander leaves. Mix in salt, crushed fennel seeds, and a pinch of hing. Rub this mixture using your hand so that the onion releases water the flavors to blend. Set this aside for 15-20 minutes. The onions will shed water and become softer.
Into the onions add all-purpose flour, rice flour, and the sabudana paste and mix well. If needed sprinkle water little by little( Not more than 1/4 cup of water) and mix well till the flour attains an almost crumble like texture. It should not be watery, but a sticky dough able to stick to the onions and holds shape when dropped into the hot oil. Taste and adjust seasoning
Heat oil in a large, deep pan to medium-high. Wet your hands and take a small portion (spoonfuls) of batter and shape into dumplings or flatten it into a round disc. Drop the balls into hot oil and try to make sure it does not clump together. Do not overcrowd the pan, and fry in batches. When one side turns golden brown, using a slotted spatula turn, and cook on the other side for another two minutes. Remove from the oil using spatula and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Keep oil temperature medium, and fry in batches. Serve with tea.
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Hope you will all enjoy!