Peralam Munthiri Vadai: Yummy Cashew Fritters From Thanjavur
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We Indians are so fond of pakoras or fritters that we love to infuse all the possible edible items - including vegetables, meat, and even dry fruits - to get that crunch and oil-nourished taste of the various spiced fillings. One such fritter or dumplings, whatever you would like to call is Peralam Munthiri Vadai from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu that uses munthiri or cashews as the main element for having one of the most unique and regal vadais. 

However, cashews are not the only ingredients, but they are soaked and combinedly ground with rice into a paste to get both crunchy and soft texture and sweet taste. One of the most easily made vadais, these become true snacks with an addition of ginger and chillies paste.   

These vadais or dumplings are named after Peralam, a small town in Thanjavur, as their origin is based in this city. It had a very humble beginning and is said to have been sold solely as street food by a person of the Rayar community on the railway platform of the small village Peralam and thus was called Peralam Vadai. Tamil Nadu has other dishes made from cashews as well, which include Munthiri Paruppu Pakoda and Nokkal or candied cashews.

Vada or vadais are fried snacks eaten and made throughout the Indian subcontinent. These are variously known as fritters, dumplings, doughnuts and cutlets. These are made from lentils, vegetables and potatoes. Well-known Food Historian, KT Acharya reveals in his book, ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ that the recipe of Vadas is fully explained in the scripture, Dharma Sutras which were written around 800-300 BC. 

Vadas are termed in Dharma Sutras as soaked, coarsely ground and fermented pulses, especially Urad dal and made into various shapes and deep fried in ghee. The famous vada that all the north Indians know about and enjoy much is the Medu Vada made of urad dal. The other popular kinds are Batata Vada, Vella Vada, Masala Vada, Sabudana Vada, and Rajasthani Mirchi Vada.

Here’s the recipe for Peralam Munthiri Vadai.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2


1 cup cashew nuts

 2 tsp raw rice 

½ tsp chopped ginger 

1 chopped green chillies

Salt, as per taste

Little water to make cashew and rice paste

Vegetable oil or ghee


. Soak the cashew nuts and rice together in water for 30 minutes.

. Then make a coarse paste of chopped ginger and green chillies.

. Grind the soaked rice and cashew nuts along with the green chilli-ginger paste by adding little water.

. The batter should not be like that of vada or vadais, and should not become too thin like uttapam.

. Add salt to the batter and mix properly.

. Make small balls of the batter, and flatten a little between the palms.

. In a frying pan, add ghee highly and deep fry the vadais on medium heat in oil or ghee.

. Take out and serve hot.