Sambhar Vada, also known as Medu Vada Sambhar, is a popular South Indian dish that combines two distinct elements: vada and sambhar. It is a beloved breakfast or snack item enjoyed by people all over India and beyond. Let's look at each component:
1. Medu Vada:
Medu Vada is a savory, crispy, and doughnut-shaped fritter made from urad dal (black gram lentils). The preparation involves soaking the urad dal for a few hours, then grinding it into a smooth batter with some water. The batter is seasoned with salt, asafoetida, and sometimes chopped green chilies, ginger, and curry leaves to enhance the flavor. The vadas are traditionally shaped by hand or using a special vada mold, and they are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Sambhar is a tangy and flavorful lentil-based stew or soup made with toor dal (split pigeon peas) as the primary base. The dish is enriched with a tamarind-based broth and typically includes various vegetables like drumsticks, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and shallots. A special sambhar spice mix called sambhar powder, comprising coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, red chilies, and other spices, is used to add a distinct taste to the sambhar. The dish is finished with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and sometimes asafoetida in hot oil, which is then poured over the sambhar.
To enjoy Sambhar Vada, the vadas are served hot, usually in pairs or threes, alongside a bowl of sambhar. Diners can dunk the vadas into the sambhar, allowing them to soak up the flavorful broth. Some people also enjoy adding coconut chutney or green chutney on the side for extra taste and texture.
This dish is not only delicious but also nutritious due to the protein content from the lentils and the variety of vegetables used in the sambhar. Sambhar Vada is commonly served in South Indian restaurants and street food stalls, and it has gained popularity across India as a result of its delectable taste and satisfying nature.