Ambode: This South Indian Street Food Is The One To Bookmark This Winter

Being an Odia, the mention of Vada takes me back to the lanes of my native place Dhenkanal. The place is popular for its oversized, crispy and decadent vadas that are usually soaked in ghuguni with a sprinkle of black salt. Because I have grown up eating these deep-fried delights, the mere mention of vadas forces me to picture the ghuguni-soaked vadas in ‘Prasiddha Bara’- an outlet famous for its vadas. In Odisha, vadas are primarily made with a rice and urad dal batter. However, the vada varieties are not only limited to this batter but a lot many ingredients like dal and sprouts. We even have stuffed vadas at home on festive occasions.

Although famous in Odisha, vadas are believed to have originated in South India. The region is the abode to varieties of these deep-fried delights that are fondly savoured in parts of India. When it comes to varieties, personally speaking, dal vada is the one that I love the most. The chunks of dal coming through the vadas fill the palate with textural variation along with taste. This dal vada is colloquially known as Ambode in South India.

Ambode is prepared with a lentil batter that is flavoured with numerous herbs and spices. The chopped coriander leaves, dill leaves and curry leaves and enough to amp up the aroma of the vadas. As winters are here, there is no better time to indulge in some piping hot, crispy and deep-fried delicious vadas along with a warm cup of chai or coffee on the side. Ambode are also eaten as a side in main course along with sambar rice, dal chawal or rasam rice.

To make Ambode, take 3/4th of the soaked chana dal, coconut pieces, ginger, green chillies and salt and blend together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add rice flour, the rest of the chana dal, coriander leaves, curry leaves and salt and make it into a soft dough by adding a tablespoon of oil and water. Shape the dough like tikkis and deep-fry them to perfection.

You can serve these vadas with chai and any condiment of your choice. People also add chopped onions and dill leaves to the mixture to enhance the flavour and texture of the vadas. Have these vadas on a winter evening and voila!