The shape of the vadas in the pic are not perfect but are close to it, don't you think? :-) After several attempts i finally got the hang of it, but i had an accident few weeks before i made this and i dropped those vadas in oil hastily, out of fear and hence they were not perfect!
The mistakes i used to make are to grind the batter without adding any water. They would come in perfect shape, but it lacked something. It was not as crispy as my mom's vada. They were kinda thick like MRF tyres (not that i have tasted them ;-)) Then i added too much water and ended up with bondas. Bondas were not perfect either. They looked more like mini dinosaurs trying to come out of eggs. But, they were crispy and yum. So, after few trials and errors i got the hang of it. Adding little water while grinding did the trick.
Now to the recipe...
Urad daal - 1 cup
Green chillies - 5 or 6
Salt to taste
Ginger - 1 inch grated (optional)
Soak the urad daal for 1 or 2 hours. Grind it with green chillies, salt, ginger and hing with little water. If you are using an indian mixer use the ice-breaker mode for few seconds in the end, to make the batter fluffier.
Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Take a plastic sheet (i used a small ziploc bag). Apply some water on it and take some batter and pat it into circle and make a hole in the middle. Dip your hand in water and remove this from the plastic sheet and drop it into the oil and fry till golden brown. Heat the oil in medium high. If it is too hot, the inside of the vadas will remain uncooked.
I tried baking vadas to get a healthier version. It was a total disaster. I added some baking powder to the batter and baked for 30-45 minutes. Can't remember how much time i baked it for, exactly. Anyways, i ended up with these...Have a good laugh ;-) They just tasted like spicy dosa and they were so flat and not very crispy!! :-)