Recipe for Prawn Vadai
Recipes, Tips and Tricks to making a good Vadai Prawn
This article is dedicated to a “pasar-malam” favourite that need no introduction, the Prawn Vadai. You may have witnessed snaking queues in front of famous Vadai stalls such as The Original Vadai and Mr Vadai. as people search for best vadai Singapore. If you are wondering how this popular street food is made and want to make it from home, you will find this article useful. In this article, we will be sharing our recipe as well as some personal tips and tricks for making Artisan Teh Tarik’s signature crispy, fluffy and aromatic Prawn Vadai.
Do you know that Artisan Teh Tarik has over 80 years of experience making Teh Tarik and Indian fried street food such as the Prawn Vadai? Read more about Our Story.
How to Make Prawn Vadai?
In a nutshell, the Prawn Vadai is made with urid dhal that has been soaked and then blended into a smooth thick batter. The batter is then mixed with green chillies, onions and curry leaves to enhance its flavour and aroma. Plain flour, yeast and baking soda are added before it is shaped into a mini doughnut with a hole and a prawn on top. Once shaped, it is fried in oil under medium heat until golden perfection i.e. crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Batter Consistency and Fermentation
There are 2 types of urid dhal, whole and split, both could be used but with different soaking time. We use urid dhal whole that is soaked overnight, if split type is used, only half the time is required. Although a simple process, the soaking time would determine the batter consistency which is key to making fluffy Prawn Vadai. We use yeast and baking soda which helps in the fermentation, making the batter light and airy.
Consistency of batter can be very tricky, and the amount of water added is just a guideline. Some kind of practice is required to achieve the right consistency. If too runny, it can be a nightmare to handle when shaping and frying, if too thick, it won’t be as soft and fluffy. Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty straightforward! So, don’t give up ok!
Choosing the Right Prawn
A small to medium sized prawn is best if you plan to fry with its head, shell and tail still attached. Medium sized prawn shells with be crispy when deep fried. Do trim off the prawn antennae and eyes before frying as it minimizes oil splattering. A bigger sized prawn works too but you may need to peel the shell off before consuming it.
Wet Hands Always
In our experience, shaping and adding the shaped batter into hot oil is by far the most difficult step in making Prawn Vadai. Be warned that it is a wet and sticky batter that is almost impossible to handle let alone shape and ensuring that it holds its shape as it is added into the hot oil. It does help a little when handling and shaping with wet hands (so that the batter does not stick to palms & fingers) although practice is key!
Artisan Teh Tarik’s Prawn Vadai Recipe
1. Blend 300g whole urid dhal with 350ml of water into a smooth batter.
2. Chop two onions, four green chillies and curry leaves.
3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix urid dhal batter, chopped onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
4. In a separate bowl, mix 350g plain flour, 1 tsp. yeast and 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate soda. Add salt to taste.
5. Combine all ingredients from steps 3 & 4.
6. Preheat oil over medium heat.
7. Scoop some batter with fingers on one hand into palm of the other hand, add 1 prawn.
8. Transfer to another hand (prawn in facing down) and make a hole in the centre.
9. Gently drop the shaped batter into oil and fry until golden brown.
10. Gently flip to the other side and fry until golden brown.
11. Remove from oil to an absorbent paper towel to drain off the excess oil.
12. Prawn Vadai is best served hot with some green chilli padi.
Wishing you the best of luck!