This is one of the tastiest morkuzhambu and is also ready in a jiffy, if you don't have any vegetables and want to make somehting yummy for yourself or your guests.
My Maternal Grandma (Mrs Vimala Ramamurthy) is an expert in making this.
She is the one who taught me how to make the vadais.
I think you can learn to make vadai, by watching a person make it rather than reading a recipe.
This Measure serves 4 adults.
All You need for the Gravy is
1 cup Yogurt - Mix this with 3 glasses of water to make Buttermilk, depending on the consistency of the yogurt. (Even though I make my own yogurt, I dont use that to make any morkuzhambu. I use the store bought yogurt just because it is more thicker and holds it well (without seperating) even after lightly boiling it.
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon (more or less)
Masala to grind
(Please soak the Urad dal for the vada also, at the same time, look below for that recipe)
To Soak atleast for half an hour in about less than 1/4th cup of water
Cumin- 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Green Chilli - 2
Coconut - (Optional) 2 Teaspoons
Rice - 1 Teaspoon
(Note- You may use rice flour instead of rice)
Oil - 1/2 Teaspoon
Mustard Seeds- 1/2 teapsoon
Red Chili - 1
Hing- 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves and Coriander Leaves to garnish.
After you soak the above, grind to a smooth consistency.
In the vessel you are making the Morkuzhambu,
--->Pour your masala and add about 1/2 cup of water, the salt and turmeric powder and let it all come to a smooth boil on a low flame
--->At this point, add your buttermilk, and little more salt, depending on the sourness of you buttermilk, and keep stirring on a low flame.
--->After you add your buttermilk, you have to keep stirring so the yogurt does not separate and this mixure should just get warm, not Boiling Hot.
--->For seasoning, in a seperate vessel, add the oil and once it becomes hot,add the mustard seeds and the red chili and once the mustard seeds sputter pout this on the morkuzhambu)
To make the Vadais
(This measure makes atleast 10 vadais, more if you can make smaller vadais!!)
Urad Dal (Whole) - 1 Cup (you may use broken ones too)
Black Pepper - 1/4 Teaspoon
Green Chillies - 1 or 2
Curry Leaves - 1 strand
Rice flour- 1 to 2 teaspoons
Soak the Urad Dal atleast for half an hour (you may soak at the same time you soak the masala for the morkuchambu, and after making the morkuzhambu, come to make this!)
You will see that the Urad Dal has bloated, which means it is ready yo grind.
You may use a food processor, but for best results use an indian mixer.
Drain all the water and add the salt, pepper and chili to this.
(Optinal - I always grind everything together since my kids would not eat the pepper etc, but if you wish u can grind just the Urad dal alone and then mix in the pepper and chili)
The trick is to grind the Urad dall with no water or as little water as possible, if it is too runny then your vadais will be a flop. It has to be thick. Add the rice flour if you feel it is thin. Adding too much rice flour will take out the softness of the vadas. Add the curry leaves to the dough.
Making the vadais
--->Heat oil in a kadai
---> Take a thick ziploc bag and and lay it down, and spread little oil on it.
--->Check if the oil is done by just putting very little dough in the oil, it should come up immediately bubbling.
---> Start by taking a spoon of the dough and put flat on the Ziploc and press lightly with your fingers, make a hole and carefully peel it out carefully and again without burning your hands place it in the oil.
--->Let it become golden brown and turn both sides equally and take out and place on a napkin so it drains of the excess oil
Making vadais is an art really, it takes some time to learn, I used to make them by the Ziploc way and now I can make it with just one hand. It is just practice. If you don't want to learn, there is always the shapeless vadais which you make by putting a small teaspoon of dough in the oil.
Everything tastes the same!! Just that the shapeless ones are called "Kunukku" not Vadai :)
Coming back to the recipe, once the vadais are warm, put them in the morkuzhambu and garnish with the coriander and curry leaves.
Serve with hot rice and some Paruppu Usili. or
You can make a Tamilian Vegetarian meal by making the Keerai Kootu (I have made the lazy kootu with just regular spinach) and Vazhaikai Manjal Kari.
You can see I have made 3 Kunukkus, on the side :))