Madras Vadagari - Delightful Dinner From The Past

Set Dosai and Vadakari:(Madras Style)

Madras Set Dosai and Vadagari. Vada Curry.

*Whoo Whhooo*, *Tastee* *Fulfilling*

Do you love mess food? Do you love mess food, as much as I do? Well then this is the post for you, settle down and then prepare to get the batter ready, later!!!I love the old traditional meals, which are still followed in many small eat areas at Madras. Its so rare in those days, for a lady to taste the outside food, so my grandmother fixed everything at home.

I can remember my grandma making set dosai and vadagari kuzhambu, when I was a kid. Which was quite famous hotel food, in her time. Assuming that anything that took too long must be good, I intended to do the same way and it was done! This is my Grandma's recipe, where she used freshly prepared Fritters(as they can also substitute with left overs)thickened with lots of onions, and spices (Secret). Matched perfect with her(our) big Madras-Periamet House (with so many rooms, lots of steps and turns), right above the bazaar. She displayed her dinner on the mica sheet coated hardwood dining table...each steal plate was mounted with fresh cut banana leaves, those were one kind of dinner.

I did this post years back, but repeating it today, as a peace inducing gesture to placate my Dad and Mom...I made this for them, when I was in India. Seeing this as a food blog, I think...I should share the recipe first, right? I am right aren't I? So here it is.

Ingredients: (For Set Dosa)

Raw Rice - 1 cup
Par-boiled rice - 1 cup
Urad dal 1/2 cup
Cold Cooked rice 1 fistfull
Turmeric powder/kesar color - 1 spoon
Castor oil 1 spoon
Sesame oil 1 spoon
Baking powder 1/2 spoon
Salt as per taste


Soak raw rice + parboiled rice + urad dal for complete 5-7 hours.

Wet grind it to thick paste. Add all the above remaining items to it. Mix thoroughly and leave it to ferment. Maybe overnight or 7-10 hours.

Heat a griddle/tawa. Smear spoonful of ghee and make a thick pancake/kal dosai/thick utthappam. Dosa should be thick. Make medium size dosa, the thickness should be atleast 1/2 inch. Cover and cook over low-medium heat.

Prepare atleast 2 dosas for each plate.

Ingredients: (For Vadakari)

For Vadas:

Chana dal 1 cup
Fennel seeds 2 spoons
Ginger 2" inch peeled and choped
Garlic 6 cloves peeled and chopped
Green chilies 3chopped
Clove 1
Cinnamon 1
Oil for Frying.(Or steam cook the vadas)

For Curry:

Oil/ghee few spoons
Cinnamon sticks 2
Cloves 2
Bay leaves 2
Fennel seeds 1 spoon
Green chilies 3 sliced
Onion 2 large thinly sliced
Garlic 6 cloves sliced
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Tomatoes 2 sliced
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/2 spoon
Fresh coconut milk 1 cup
Mint leaves few
Coriander leaves few.



Soak chana dal in water for atleast 20-30 minutes.

In a blender, dry grind fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and salt togather. To the same... dd ginger, garlic and green chilies, wet grind it. Again, to the same add soaked chana dal and wet grind it to thick paste. Don't add further water.

Now make small fritters and fry them in oil and store over kitchen tissues. Or try to steam cook the vadas. Maybe smear oil in the steam cooker's plates. Then load the vadas. Steam cook for 10 minutes. But fried vadas tastes better.


Well.....heat ghee or oil in a large wok. Add fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves to it.

Followed by, add sliced green chilies, garlic and sliced onions. Saute it for few minutes. Maybe till onions turn to golden color.

Now add ginger-garlic paste and fry for few more minutes....till its raw smell leaves.

Then add tomates and saute for few more minutes. Further add salt, turmeric, chili and garam masal powder to it. Add 2-4 cups of water, cover and cook over medium heat.

When gravy like consistency is acheived, add coconut milk and cook for 5 minutes.

Garnish the gravy with mint and coriander leaves.


Smash the fried/steam cooked vadas. One can even soak them in warm water for 2-5 minutes before dropping in gravy.

Add this crumbled vadas to the gravy prepared. Let it get well incorporated. One can cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Dont panic...if the vadas really disintegrated in gravy. Let the gravy consolidate.

Well, serve this curry along with a set of dosas.

It can be served along with even fluffy idlies, no big rules.:)


Pari said...

Thank u so much Malar for posting this, it's just my kind of recipe, i love this kind of food, it just sounds awesome. Wish i could taste this...hmm just imagining the flavours. bookmarked dear. i have to try this.

Priya said...

Woww makes me hungry...tempting set dosa and vadacurry..

Jagruti said...

those bada looks so yummy..nice space and lots of dishes to try..i'll be here more often..


sowmya.s said...

sounds so delicious..

Gita said...

I too love this combo Malar...you have tempted me with those pictures...I have to make them tomorrow for dinner :)

Rekha shoban said...

thats looks delicious and my all time favourite

Chetana said...

Never heard of this before...but tats the beauty of food....every state, country, continent has sumthing different to offer.
Simply loved this rustic dish...my kind off food.

Tina said...

Its new to me...Looks delicious...

Ms.Chitchat said...

Interesting. Never made at home. Thnx for sharing the recipe.


Nandini said...

This is my soriyan's romba romba favorite dish! It's very delicious and grandma's recipes are the best! I'm going to make this for him!

radha said...

Seems great. Will check this out on a day I want something as elaborate. Looks like a lot of work!

Asha said...

Slurp!! That's all I can say. That looks belong this World tasty!!!

Sushma Mallya said...

sounds interesting,thanks for sharing these yummy recipes...

Renuka Bedre - Rao said...

such a tempting combo!!thanks for sharing Malar!

vineetha said...

wonderful treat for eyes ....looks yummy.Really hungry now.

Valarmathi said...

Wow....that looks wonderful and delicious.

Sayantani said...

I love these kinds of simple recipes.yesterday only a new restaurant in my neighbour served some great rava idli with this kinds of curry. was looking for a recipe and here it is. thanks Malar.

Deepa G Joshi said...

i love set dosas..they look so cute..yet guilt free..can eat so many..

Savitharajsspiceland said...

Never heard about this or recipe..thanks for this recipe!!

Dershana said...

ur vadakari is very similar to our urundai kuzhambu :-) you add saffron to set dosai, hmmm very interesting!

munchcrunchandsuch said...

you brought back fond memories..cant say anything more as am choked.they look absolutely fantastic

Cham said...

I love with idlis! delicious :) My vadai curry sleeps still in draft!

Akal's Saappadu said...

I have never tasted this combination but I have tasted them separately.
all that displayed delightfully on that vazha yilai, mmmm, reminds me of pandhi saapaadu :) the curry looks delicious with those crubled vadais inside, slurp slurp, this is my kinda favourite food!!! nallaa oru pudi pudichida vendi dhan!!!:):)

Balakrishna Saraswathy said...

U are spoiling mad making me home-sick Malar..I really miss these comfort food here. I getting lazy to prepare myself and eat..btw they looks fantastic da..wish u leave nearby:)


Very tempting indeed to see your set dosai...can I join you for the feast?

Latha said...

Lovely recipes...Have tasted vada curry, but not tried at home...thanks for sharing:).

Priyameena said...

I too love the mess food..but my all time favorite is Indian(TN) street foods..This looks tempting..

my kitchen said...

Wow my favorite vada curry,looks perfect dear