January, the first month of the year also brings in the harvesting season. Almost entire India celebrates the beginning of harvesting season which falls in the middle of the month as Lohri, Sankranthi, and Pongal. This is actually a celebration of the Sun God- which provides the energy needed for agriculture -as it starts its journey northwards. Pongal which is a Tamil harvest festival is celebrated not just in Tamil Nadu, India but also in our neighbouring country Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanks'a national festival celebrated with the offerings of Pongal and variety of snacks one of them being PointPedro Vadai or Paruthithurai Vadai.
A little googling on Lankan Cuisine gave me this name and led me to a few sites that had the recipe. I was under the impression that it is same as our 'Vada /Vadai'- savoury ground & deep fried lentil dumplings that are very common here. But I was surprised by the recipe from Ahila's site which involved no grinding and used wheat flour for the dough.
The vadais are a speciality from the town of Paruthithurai or Point Pedro - anglicised name for the same.or Peduru Thuduwa in Sanhala - in Jaffna. They are also known as Jaffna Vadai.
Skinless Split Urad Dal : 1 cup
Steamed Wheat flour: 1 cup
Regular Wheat Flour: 1 cup + as needed
Salt: as per taste
Onion: 1/2- 1 cup minced
Green Chillies: 1-2 minced (as per taste)
Fennel Seeds: 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves: few chopped finely
Water: just little as needed to form a dough
Oil: for deep frying
Soak the dal in enough water for 6 hours or overnight.
Mix together drained dal and all the other ingredients except oil with just enough water to form a little tight dough. You can take regular wheat flour and steam it or use wheat puttu flour available in market.Steaming regular wheat flour may involve extra steps and time and I went for the wheat puttu flour which is already steamed, sifted and ready to use.
Divide the dough into small balls - it comes around 60 or more. And flatten each piece into a thin circle. This is the traditional way of making them.
Else divide the dough into half or quarter. And roll out each piece into a rectangle as thin as possible.The dough is little drier compared to the Indian medu vadai. Use cookie cutters and cut the dough into circles. This was the technique I followed as it gave same shape and thinness to most of the pieces. Thinner the vadas crunchier they are.
While the vadas are getting ready, heat the oil for deep frying. Once the vadais are ready make sure they don't sit out a long time before frying.
Deep fry the vadai few at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with your choice of dip/chutney.
The texture is very crunchy ie the thinner you roll out/flatten crunchier they will be. The texture is similar to thattai vadai for those who are familiar with the Tamil cuisine.
If slightly thick in width then they turn softer after sometime. Both ways they tasted perfect with a cuppa.