Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Vadai and Vallavan

 My father enjoyed good food and family outings to restaurants were almost a weekly occurance. During our vacation trips, he used to insist that we should start our day with a heavy breakfast so that we would have sufficient energy for roaming around. Thanks to his frequent travels as part of his sales profession, he was like a database of the popular food joints of every town or city.  Our breakfast would invariably start off with a plate of Idly-Vada.

One should see the hustle and bustle in a South Indian restaurant during breakfast hours! At the entrance would be the cashier's desk and mounted on the wall behind would typically be a deity's picture with a small oil lamp and a burning incense letting out a wonderful fragrance. Waiters would be scurrying around carrying trays laden with hot idly, crunchy vada, crispy dosas or fluffy puris.  The wonderful aromas from all the food would waft in the air. A stereo system may be on, playing some music( not the soft fine dining type, get-the-day-started peppy ones). Some waiters may be going around refilling the chutney and sambar containers. On some tables, people would be pouring the coffee back and forth between the tumbler and the metal saucer in an attempt to cool it down.  Mixed into all this would be the cacaphony of fifteen tables having animated conversations not to mention the occasional running of the tinier lot! Writing about it brings about so much nostalgia!

Vadai (in Tamil its Vadai but its referenced to as Vada in some places) Ground lentils deep fried , resulting in a crispy snack. The vada served during breakfast is made with urad dal and made with a hole in the centre. It sort of resembles a donut in appearance. Suda suda(hot hot) kara kara(crispy crispy) vadai on a rainy evening! Bliss, indeed!

Vadai when dunked in sambar or curd has a unique taste of its own and is served as a separate menu item.

 Gosh!! I am writing this close to bed time and now I am craving for a vada, ha ha. 

Food from other lands:

I am a big fan of salads. The colors and crunchiness and the freshness of the ingredients combine to make it a very refreshing meal. Speaking of salads,  vinaigrette comes to mind. I love experimenting with salads and salad dressings. Be it simple lemon , salt pepper or a complicated ground and pounded mixture. 

Do you like salads ? What is your favorite dressing? 

Food for thought;

Todays quote:

Vallavanukku pullum aayutham.

Aayutham - weapon (tool in this context )

Vallavan- Smart / talented person 

Pullum - even a blade of grass 

This translates to - For a smart person even a blade of grass serves as a tool.

Basically if we set our mind on something, smartness lies in figuring out how to maximize the use of the resources at hand and thinking out of the box!  Something or the other could be put to use if we put our creativity into it !

Oops, I made it sound like a corporate motivational message on LinkedIn , didnt I ? Ha ha 


  1. I love that restaurants In Tamil Nadu are open at 5 am for breakfast.

  2. The 1st half of the post- felt like i was sitting in Saravana bhavan or AAB. We have one in our own street. I have experienced every bit of thing that you wrote. I was smiling all along...as i read..

  3. So are Vada comparable to donuts? Isn't it amazing how (the smell of) foods will bring up memories?
    My favorite dressing depends on the kind of salad. For a tomato mozzarella salad it has to be balsamic reduction. For a simple green lettuce I prefer French or Ranch.

    1. PS: I just realized my comment went through anonymously. It's Tamara from part-time working Hockey Mom

  4. The vadai does look like a donut. and now I'm hungry for one. lol

  5. It was fun to see the morning meal and restaurant through you eyes. The descriptions were vivid and I could feel your appreciation and the pull of nostalgia in the writing. Wonderful! Vadai sound delicious. I think I'd like them better than donuts. They would likely be much more nutritious and satisfying.
    I like a drizzle of olive oil with Balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper on my salad. I also like good quality blue cheese dressing, though only sometimes. Almost to the end of AtoZ. I hope you've enjoyed the challenge as much as I have!

    1. Thanks for stepping in . Yes, it has been a great experience and I have had to really push myself sometimes but totally worth it

  6. To look at vadai reminds me of a donut. Probably doesn't taste the same. I will have to try one some time.

    1. Nope it does not. Its made with lentils and is a savoury item with salt and spice and no sweet at all. Can compare with onion rings or potato fritters.

  7. That sounds so yummy... hot hot crispy crispy. Mmmmm.
    V is for Vampirism

  8. Ah I have been to Chennai once and love the food! Medu vada is my favorite ever since I was a kid! Again, a wonderful quote... Grass as an example is so unique!

  9. Not sure if my previous comment was posted. Love vadas any day, any time. And what a beautiful quote with grass as an example!


  10. Reading your account of South Indian restaurants, I could even imagine the waiters dressed in white shirt-πŸ‘•kurtas and dhoti( a traditional bottom wear) serving everyone πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒWonderful quote too Jayshree πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡