Thair Vadai

(Deep fried lentil patties in spiced yogurt).

Preparation time: ~30 minutes + 6 hours

Cooking time: ~40 minutes

You need: 2 cups urad dal; 5 cups yogurt; 2 green chilies; 1 cup shredded coconut (fresh is preferable, but not necessary); cilantro; salt to taste; lots of oil for deep frying

How to: Soak the dal in lots of water for at least six hours. Drain, rinse, and grind in a food processor. Do not add water. If it is difficult to grind, add a tablespoon or so of water. It should have the consistency of peanut butter ā€“ grind it as smoothly as possible. Drop a little batter in a bowl of water ā€“ it should float.

Grind the coconut, yogurt, salt, and green chilies together and refrigerate in a large flat pan you can serve the thair vadai in.

Heat oil for frying. Mix half the batter with salt. Keep a bowl of cold water handy. Wet your hands thoroughly. Take a small amount of batter in your hand (about the size of a lime). Pat flat and drop into the oil. Turn over once to ensure even cooking. Fry until golden brown. Place a paper towel on a plate and drain the vadais on that. Repeat for other half of batter. The batter may be frozen, but Iā€™m not sure for how long it will keep. If you want to make the vadais up ahead, store them refrigerated in a Ziploc bag.

Heat some water (to as hot as you can bear to put your hand in). Put the vadais into the water. Take out, squeeze the water out, and place in the yogurt. The yogurt should cover the vadais fully. Garnish with cilantro.