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Authentic Chennai-Style Vada Curry Recipe

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My name is Lakshmi, and I am a homemaker. I love cooking and experimenting with different recipes, especially those from my native India.

Authentic Chennai-Style Vada Curry Recipe

Authentic Chennai-Style Vada Curry Recipe

Vada curry is a very popular Indian appetizer that is served in hotels and made at home, as well. It is often served as a breakfast with idli, dosa, or appam.

During my schooldays, if my mom couldn't prepare breakfast for me, my dad would buy idli with vada curry from the nearby hotel. They used to pack the food in a banana leaf, which added extra flavor. Even today, I vividly remember the aroma and taste of this meal.

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This particular recipe comes from Chennai. Let's get started!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

30 min

1 hour 30 min

3 to 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup channa dal
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies, slitted and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 small tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilly powder
  • 1 teaspoon corriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt, as needed
  • Water, as needed


  1. Wash and soak the channa dal in water for 1 hour. Drain the water and add it to a mixer along with fennel seeds. Grind it to a coarse texture. Steam the mixture in an idli plate and let it cool.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the bay leaf and cloves. Then add the onion, green chilies, curry leaves, and ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the onion turns golden and the raw smell of the ginger-garlic paste goes away.
  3. Add the tomato and cook till it becomes mushy. At this stage, add the salt and all of the masala powders. Saute for a while.
  4. Add water and let it come to a boil. Meanwhile, mash the steamed dal and add it into the curry. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Once the oil separates from the curry, switch off the stove and garnish with curry leaves.

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