Thalippu Vadagam - Tempering Spices of Tamilians

Thalippu Vadagam:

Other Names:Karuvadam, Vadavam, Vadagam, Vadaam, Vadiyalu, Koppu Vadiyalu, Thalikkira Vadagam, Vadawam, Thovaiyal Vadavam, Thuvaiyal Vadavam. Tamizh Nadu Thalippu Vadagam. Tamizhar Vadagham. Mudhaliar Thalippu Vadam/ Vadagam. Vadavam, Venghaya Vadavam, Kopu Vadiyalu. Tempering Spices. Sambar, Kuzhambu, Varuval - Sesonnings.

I don't know how to introduce/categorise this item!!! Although we (Tamilians)do our regular seasonings like anybody else...we also use this 'Vadagam' along with usual tempering!! It happens to be very aromatic and signaling the whole neighbourhood, that you are cooking!! During summer, Mommy prepares this 'Vadagam' all by herself. As a kid, I have assisted her several times.

Anyways...this 'Vadagam' is kind of special to me. Because I didn't make it! This is made by my mother(3 years before)!!! Raje, her maid has assisted her in chopping, grinding and sun drying them. Thanks Rajamma.:) Later Pappa got transferred & my parents moved to my native town. This whole 'Vadagam' was forgotten/got lost while shifting.

When I visited home(vacation) I happened to spot a container, left unnoticed in the dinning room cupboard. To my surprise, it was 'Thalippu Vadagam'. Imagine...its been 3 years now...still perfect in color, odour, shape, texture & appearance! I was so excited and tested it immediately...it was perfect in taste. Awesome work by my Mother and kudos to Raje.

I brought just 3 vadagam(s) for myself (in check-in baggage). Guess what?...they are still intact! I feel bad to break them for cooking:(

Unfortunately...I don't have the exact recipe for this vadagam:( All I could do is 'to guess'!! Mommy did mention a few tips and corrected me while I was guessing. She promised me that next time, she will let me know the secret ingredients! So till then....

Possible Ingredients:

Mustard seeds
Fenugreek seeds
Turmeric powder/virali manjal- crushed
Dry red chilies
Curry leaves
Chana dal
Urad dal
Thuval dal (Mommy said...she asked Raje to stone grind thuvar dal + red chilies...from her home/using aattu kal) I don't know the significance!!

Castor oil (I thought its Sesame oil....Mommy corrected me as Castor Oil)

Pearl Onions (Mommy was talking everything in bulk 5 kilos or so...absolutely no clue about measurements...)

Country Garlic
Tamarind puree
Rock salt


No Clue!!! All I know is chop Onions, crush garlic with skin. Grind thuvar dal + red chilies. Then mix them together with other spices(mustard, asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves...etc). Add plenty of oil + tamarind puree. Make roundels and sun dry them. Still working on, to perfect this recipe....hope to share with you'll in future(bit clearly).


Cham said...

As far i know there is no tamarind extract , may be ur mom add... I have a full box of vadagam ....Looks good!

bicks said...

hey malar, i love vadagam so much love vadaga thogayal . i make vadagam . u can see the method in my blog under miscelleneous.hope this helps u.

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Nice u have made it. I have never tried makings it. I bring a box full from India in my every trip.

Viki Xavier. said...

Ys dear , Mom will tell the whole recipe soon. Its really looking great and who will want to break it.
Good that u found it.

Malar Gandhi said...

Maybe you're right Cham, coz' Mommy didnt tell me anything...I was guessing!

Bicks, thats lovely...you posted about it. Will check it out. Its a must try recipe. I need that so badly in my pantry!:)

Sukanya, I didnt make it dear, mommy did! I have absolutely no clue...

Oi Viki, thank you sweet heart, you words mean a lot to me!

Sanghi said...

Hey Malar, My grandma makes this and sends for us from village. We call this karuvadam..