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Nagpuri Pudachi Vadi, An Indian Spring -Roll

Pudachi vadi

There are some recipes that invoke images of large family get together, where everyone pitches in. Uncles get fresh vegetables from the market. Everyone sits around cleaning the vegetables, shelling the beans and peas, separating the tender greens from the tough stalk like cilantro or mint. Tea and snacks follows a tedious session. Gossip overflows and kids play around. Such sessions were always in my aunt’s house where we used to gather for family weddings or special occasions.

And the session used to be amply rewarded with special snacks – pudachi vadi ( or spring roll), anarse ( or sweet pancakes made from a poppy-seed – rice flour batter), or simple roti’s with home-made relishes ( mango or berries). The crispy crunchy gram flour filling of pudachi vadi was a special attraction for both kids and adults alike. Similar to the crisped bits of bacon that stick to the pan or crusty ends of home-made bread loaf. As a kid I wasn’t fond of the cilantro filling but have grown fond of it. Either my taste buds have evolved or I had begun to love recipes that my family made traditionally while I missed them in US. It brought me closer to them in some sense.

Corriander chopped up for vaid

I used to ask my aunt to make it for me on every visit – though I never attempted to make it myself. Till this past weekend, wanting to eat something interesting, I asked my cousin sister to share the recipe. My cousin shared the recipe with a lot of step by step instructions ending with “I will come over and help you make them” assurance. My task was to make the filling which she was sure I wouldn’t mess up.

Rolling out the vadi

I agreed and secretly planned to surprise her with the ready-made goodies when she came over. And boy, she was in for a treat. These rolls turned out to perfectly crunchy with a very savory filling. It was perfect for the cool evenings that we have although the days are warm. Filled with finely diced cilantro, poppy and sesame seeds and seasoned lightly with Indian spices, it is a satisfying snack. Complemented with a salad and a bottle of white wine it makes a filling vegetarian meal. I am sure this has the power to convert cilantro haters but the recipe can be adapted with any other greens – kale, mustard, mint, baby spinach comes to my mind.

Vadi before frying

Pudachi vadi cooked

Although I must admit that if my cousin had rolled them up, they would have been more artfully made with crisp edges!

Ready to eat with some thandaai

Pudachi Vadi Recipe

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 7 – 10 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 inch ginger root minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cups finely chopped coriander leaves (or any other greens that you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup raw mango grated (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins(optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the cover dough

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chickpea flour or besan
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup curd beaten
  • 1 teaspoon hot oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water

To make the rolls

  • 1/4 cup curd in a bowl to spread on the rolls
  • Oil for frying

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and then fry onion till translucent. Add the garlic and fry till the garlic gives out a fragrance but has not browned. Add coconut, poppy and sesame seeds and fry till cooked through. Further add ginger, chili powder and garam masala and cook for another minute or sauce.

Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and fry the coriander leaves till they crisp up. Add the onion-coconut mix. Season with salt. Take off heat. Add lemon juice, raw mango, and raisins (if using them) and mix well.

Adjust seasonings if necessary and set aside to cool.

3. Mix the ingredients for the dough to form a soft but firm dough. It should be soft enough to be able to roll out into a thin sheet or roti.

4. Take a ping-pong ball sized dough ( or lemon in US) , and form a 4 – 6 inch thin disc. Spread a bit of yogurt on the sheet. Keep a generous helping of coriander mix on the dough and then form a triangular pocket/ roll.

Make sure you crimp the edges so the rolls won’t open up while frying. Make all rolls and set aside.

5. Heat oil for frying while you make the dough. Once the oil is heated through but not smoking, fry the rolls one by one.

Serve hot with mint chutney or yogurt though they are savory enough to be eaten as is.

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