Nagpuri Vada Bhat is a traditional Maharashtrian delicacy prepared and served on special occasions like wedding lunches.
Vada which means fritters or dumplings are made of lentils. Lentils are soaked for several hours preferably overnight, drained and grounded coarsely with spices green chili, ginger and garlic. The batter is shaped into dumplings (round shaped or disc shaped like its popular cousin from south Medu Vada) and deep fried. These fried Vadas are then crushed and served with steamed rice which has been flavored with some Asafoetida-water and tempered with a flavorful Tadka.
Rice has such a phenomenal role to play in our culture and traditions. It’s an important part of our festivities and celebrations. In the Hindu tradition, rice symbolizes sustenance, growth and progress and we like to celebrate our rituals and occasions of importance with preparations made with rice. Whether it’s a ritual of Annaprashanam that marks an infant’s first intake of food other than the milk, or celebrating a newlywed bride’s first entry into her new kitchen, rice forms an important part of every celebration. I remember quite vividly being part of one such celebration where Nagpuri Vada Bhat was part of the feast-my first taste of this culinary gem. Allow me to narrate that story.
It was my fourth month into my married life and Pranay was away on his official assignment for which he travelled to Delhi. The span of his stay was 3 weeks and I was staying all alone. During that period, my bestie was getting married and I was travelling to Nagpur to attend the most important day of her life- there was no two ways about it.
I, Sharwari (my bestie) and 2 other girls shared an apartment for over 4 years while we all worked for the same company. Besides our room, Sharwari and I shared a lot many things. We shared moments where we laughed together, cried together, shared our secrets-almost like sisters.
The journey from Pune to Nagpur was almost 14 hours long. While I reached the orange city all jaded, I was delighted to receive a grand hospitality by Sharwari’s family. I was received by Aunty (her mom) who hugged me and took me to see the lovely would-be bride. Over the next 3-4 days I was part of every celebration in that house-big or small. We enjoyed through Haldi, Wedding and the reception. Many other friends had come for the wedding and reception and we all had fun together. The day following the reception I was travelling back.
I still remember aunty giving me a warm embrace as I was leaving and sobbing all the while. I left teary-eyed from her house.
What I also remember quite vividly is the feast that I had that afternoon before I left. I prefer keeping my lunches or dinner light if I am travelling but I made an exception that afternoon. As soon as I stepped in the large dining area which was setup in a makeshift Shamiana on the large terrace of the house, I was welcomed to a pleasant whiff of fried Vadas and the aroma of Tadka. It was my first experience to Vada Bhat.
I must say Vada Bhaat is such a great example of deconstructed food. First we were made to sit and a brass plate was laid out in front of us. After the initial servings of accompaniments like salt, lemon, pickle, a large portion of steamed rice was served in form of a mound. Then this mound was dug in to make a hole with the handle of the serving ladle. Then the Dal Vadas were served which we crushed by our hands to cover the hole. One of the servers then rushed in to fetch a bowl of asafoetida water (water flavored with asafoetida powder) which was sprinkled on the rice bed and finally a generous amount of Tadka was poured on the rice bed to season the rice. Vada Bhat was a treat for sensory organs and I was delighted to be part of such a lovely feast and wonderful experience.
Nagpuri Vada Bhat is usually enjoyed with Lal Mirchi cha Thecha and Buttermilk Kadhi!
Make this delightful preparation for your weekend menu and relish this Nagpuri flavor with your friends and family. Remember to share your feedback with us in comments section below.
- ½ Cup=100 gms Split Chickpeas
- 2 tbsp Petite Yellow lentils
- 2 tbsp Orange Lentils
- 2 tbsp split Pigeon Peas
- 2 tbsp Split and dehusked Black Gram
- 2 tbsp Green Gram
- 2 tbsp Moth Beans
- ¼th tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 Cup=200gms Rice
- Masala Paste:-
- ½ tsp Carom Seeds
- 1½-inch Ginger root
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 4 Green Chilies
- ¼ th Cup fresh Coriander Leaves
- For Tadka:-
- 5-6 Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- ¼ th tsp Asafoetida Powder
- ¼ th tsp Turmeric Powder
- 5-6 Dry Red Chilies
- Cooking Oil
- Lets's revisit all the ingredients required for making Vada-Moong, Matki, Masoor Dal, Chana Dal, Moong Dal, Tur Dal, Urad Dal and Fenugreek Seeds. You can increase or decrease the quantity of Dals as per your choice.
- Soak all Dals together and Fenugreek Seeds in water overnight or atleast for 4 hours. Soak rice separately for 30 mins
- Now, we will grind Dals with spices. Put soaked and drained Dals in a grinder jar. Add Green Chilies, Coriander leaves, Ginger root, Cumin Seeds, Carom Seeds, dry Red Chili Powder and Salt. Grind into coarse and thick paste. I have used just 2 tbsp water while grinding. Use as little water as possible
- Heat Oil in a Pan for deep frying. Add small portion of batter to check if Oil is hot enough. If the batter rises immediately then the Oil is perfectly hot. If it takes some time to rise up then you need to wait.
- Reduce the heat and fry Vadas on low heat. Add small Vadas in Oil. These Vadas take longer to cook, so it is very important to cook it on low heat. We have fried on low heat for total 4 mins. Remove Vadas from Oil
- Let's make a batch of Vadas in traditional style. Shape like flat discs and make a hole at the center (like Medu Vadas). We have talked in great detail how to shape like Medu Vadas. Check our Medu Vada video for the details. Fry on low heat. Remove from Oil and similarly fry remaining batches of Vadas
- We can make 20-22 Vadas in these measurements. Allow the Vadas to cool down as it must not be too hot while serving. Now let's cook rice
- In a large pan, boil 1 liter (4 Cups) water. Add 1 tsp Salt and some Oil and mix well. Now add soaked and drained rice in boiling water. Cook until it is completely done. Rice is cooked in 5-6 mins on medium heat. Remove from heat and drain excess water
- We have our Vadas and the rice ready. Let's serve Vada Bhat now
- Let's serve Nagpuri Vada Bhat in a traditional style. In a serving plate serve steamed rice. Make a small hole at the center of mound. We have mixed ½ tsp Asafoetida powder with 4 tbsp Water. Put this flavored water on rice (1-2 tsp per serving)
- Crush 2-3 Vadas with hands and put it on rice. Let's prepare a flavorful Tadka (tempering)
- In a pan, add 4-5 tbsp Cooking Oil. Add Mustard Seeds, dry Red Chilies, Asafoetida Powder, Curry Leaves and mix well. Add Turmeric Powder and mix well. Pour this Takda on rice (1-2 tsp Tadka per serving). This Tadka adds to the flavor of Nagpuri Vada Bhat
- Mix rice with the Tadka. The aroma is too tempting and hard to resist.
- We will serve some more Vadas at the side and Maharashtrian Buttermilk Kadhi
Click to watch recipe video