The South Indian state of Karnataka has a very rich variety of snacks. Chakli, Kodubale, Nippattu, Ambode, Khara sev, Khara boondi, Puff, numerous types of Bondas, Bajjis, Vadas… and the list goes on and on. Each region within the state has interesting variations in food and reputation for a special dish. Mysuru for its masala dosa, Mangalore for its bonda, Dharvad for its peda and of course Maddur for its famous maddur vade. Maddur is a bustling town located between Mysuru and Bengaluru. I have passed through this town by train quite a few times on my way to mysuru, where my parents live. As the train approached Maddur, passengers would bestir themselves and eagerly await (many with exact change in their hands) the Maddur vade seller to buy these tasty round fritters. If I remember correctly, the train didn’t stop here for too long, may be about 5 minutes, but in this short amount of time, some agile hawkers would cover every compartment of this long train collecting money and handing out maddur vade packets. The short stop also left no room for price negotiations. Judging by this train station activity, it would seem that Maddur vade is this town’s biggest export and a major source of revenue!
Maddur Vade is made of rice flour, maida, sooji, onions and chilies. Rice flour and red chilies play a prominent role in lending a crispy, pungent and fiery taste to Maddur vade. It does require some attention to detail to make sure it has the right amount of crispiness and texture. It’s a chili-hogger too. I used almost half a cup each of green chilies and red chilies to get that proper “khara” taste. To keep it fresh and crispy, you need a really good air-tight container. But then, they are so tasty that before you find that container in your kitchen, they will be gone…
1 cup maida/plain all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup rice flour/akki hittu
½ cup roasted sooji/semolina/ravo
1/3 cup peanuts roughly chopped (pieces shouldn’t be too small)
15 whole red chilies (cut them in half if they are too long)
1/3 cup hot green chilies chopped into small pieces
1 table spoon curry leaves/mitho limdo/kadhi patta (about 25 leaves)
1 large onion
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil to mix in the dough
3-4 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying
1.5 tea spoon salt
- In a big bowl properly mix rice flour, maida, and salt.
- Cut onion lengthwise into long thin strips and add it to the flour mix.
- Roast sooji/semolina well for about 10 minutes. Let it cool down a bit and then add it to the flour mix.
- Heat ½ cup oil. Add peanuts and red chilies and fry for about 2 minutes on low heat.
- Add green chilies and curry leaves to oil and immediately take it off the stove. Let the oil cool a bit and then pour it on the flour mix. If you add very hot oil to the mix, maddur vade might turn out to be too flaky and crumbly so it’s important to let the oil cool down a bit.
- Mix everything into a very stiff dough by using only 2-3 table spoon of water. At first, it will be difficult to form a dough. As you keep kneading, the juice from onion will help. If you need to add water, immerse your fingers in a bowl of water and then knead the dough until it is stiff instead of randomly pouring water on the flour mix.
- pull out a small amount of dough and make a ball. Put the ball between your palms and press hard. Or, put a ball of dough on a flat surface and press on top of it with your palm. Make patties like this of about 4 inch diameter on a cutting board or any flat surface.
- Heat about 3 cups of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, deep fry the patties (about 5-6 at a time) making sure that they remain golden yellow in color and not brown. Keep the heat/flame setting to medium. Flip the patties 2-3 times. Each frying round will take about 6-7 minutes.
To keep Maddur vade fresh and crispy for a few more days, allow them to cool completely after frying and then store them in an air-tight container.