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Iraal vadai (Northern regions)

The fresh prawns, moist and fleshy, transform the traditional vadai into something that hints of the sea and the street, of salt and spice on balmy days. This version of prawn vadai can be found in the northern regions of the island.

  • (+ SOAKING)
  • MAKES: 14-16


  • 2 cups yellow lentils (kadalai parrupu), split and skinless, soaked for at least 2 hours

  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely

  • 1 cup whole, fresh prawns

  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely

  • 5-6 curry leaves, chopped finely

  • ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)

  • ½ tsp chilli powder

  • Oil for deep-frying


  • Drain and grind yellow lentils to a coarse paste.

  • Shell and de-vein prawns. Rinse and dry.

  • In a mortar and pestle pound prawns into a paste.

  • Mix together all ingredients (except the oil).

  • Allow to stand for about half an hour.

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

  • Make little balls out of the mixture.

  • Deep-fry, turning occasionally until vadais are light brown.

  • Drain on absorbent paper.

  • Serve warm

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