I was lamenting to amma on the phone on Sunday saying how I had wanted to make some sweets for Diwali but nothing really happened. Then she goes "have you posted paal vadai yet?"
Me: "Paal vadai? Have I eaten that before?"
Amma: "What are you saying? I used to make it all the time when you kids were smaller!"
Me: "I... don't.. remember.."
Amma: "OK, it's very easy. Here's how you make it"
And so I made it!
Once made, it looks a bit like gulab jamun but don't get misled by the looks. This sweet is remarkable in it's sheer simplicity.
Paal Vadai Recipe
Recipe source: amma
Makes about 6 vadai
1 cup of skinned, whole urad dal / ulutham paruppu
A pinch of salt
2-3 cups of milk (more or less)
For jaggery syrup:
5 tbsp of grated jaggery (or brown sugar)
10-12 tbsp of water
1 pod of cardamom
How I Made It:
1. Soak the urad dal in enough water to cover it by 3 inches for about 1 to 2 hours.
2. Grind the soaked dal with enough added milk to make a thick, custard-like batter. It should have the consistency of the batter you would grind for medhu vada. Add salt and mix well.
3. Heat oil to almost smoking point and add small quantities of batter into it. No need to shape them, just make them into small lime-sized balls.
4. Fry until golden brown and drain on kitchen towels.
5. For jaggery syrup, mix the jaggery and water and bring to boil. Peel and add the cardamom pod, including the skin.
6. Remove the syrup from fire and dunk the fried urad balls in. Keep covered and let it soak well.
That's it! Serve warm or at room temperature. The flavour is predominantly that of urad dal so it's quite unique and delicious.
You can also make these in white sugar syrup, just omit the cardamom pod in that case, it may overpower the flavour.