Steamed Dal/Lentil Dumplings in Coconut Curry | Vada Curry

Steamed Vada Curry/Steamed Dal or Lentil Dumpling in Coconut Curry is a delicious curry made mostly in South Indian homes, it’s a versatile dish, each home have their own recipe. The dish usually has fried dal/lentil dumplings added to coconut curry. The fried dal/lentil dumplings are very similar Middle Eastern dish falafels.

Many homes follow the healthy method of steaming the dumplings & then adding it to the coconut curry prepared. This is one such recipe that I prepare for my Family.

Do try this recipe, the steamed lentils vadas/dumplings are broken & added to the coconut curry which makes the dumplings soak in all the flavours of the curry & makes it soft & delicious when we take a bite. The curry is prepared with spices, grated ginger, garlic which gives nutty flavour to the curry & then onions sautéed in oil which adds sweetness to the curry. Then tomatoes are added for its mild sourness & for making the gravy. The Dal/Lentil dumplings are gently crushed & dropped into the curry, followed by ground coconut paste which gives beautiful sweetness, depth & thickness to the curry. The curry blends in with the dal/lentils & vice-versa makes a beautiful combination for a flavourful mouth watering experience.

The curry goes great with Hot Rice, Phulkas, Rotis, Dosa, Idlis etc. They make great leftovers & with less ingredients its makes a lot of curry, easy to prepare for a crowd.

You can also watch my video on YouTube


  • ½ Cup – Chana Dal (rinsed & soaked for atleast 4 hours)
  • ½ Cup – Grated Coconut (You can use coconut cream or coconut milk instead)
  • 3 – Cloves
  • 2 pinch – Asafoetida/Hing
  • 1 inch – Cinnamon
  • ½ Tsp – Saunf/Fennel seeds
  • 6 – Cloves of Garlic (grated)
  • 1 Inch – Ginger (grated)
  • 1 – Medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 – Medium Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 – Green Chillies (finely chopped)
  • ¼ Tsp – Turmeric Powder
  • 2 Tsp – Homemade Sambhar Powder/Curry Powder
  • 1 Tbsp – Fresh Coriander/Dhania Leaves (Chopped)


Prep Work:

1.Make the Steamed Vadas/Dal Dumplings

  • Rinse & Soak Chana Dal in water for atleast 4 hours.
  • After four hours we will see the dal would be plumped up.
  • Drain the water & transfer it to a mixy/blender jar.
  • Add Saunf/Fennel seeds & salt.
  • Grind it coarsely.
  • Now we roll it gently into lemon size ball with our fingers & place it on a steamer plate (please do not press/roll the dal paste too much as it will make the vada/dal dumpling dense).
  • We remove two raw/uncooked dal ball/dumplings & set it aside.
  • We place the plate into a pre heated steamer & steam the dal ball/dumplings for 5-6 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes we remove from heat & set it aside (please keep it covered so it does not go dry).

2.Ground Coconut Paste

(Instead of ground coconut paste you can use coconut cream or thick coconut milk)

  • Transfer the grated coconut into a mixy/blender jar.
  • Add ½ cup slightly hot/warm water.
  • Grind it to a fine paste & set it aside.

We Prepare the Curry:

  • Heat a Kadai/wok add oil (please keep heat on low).
  • Add cloves, cinnamon, grated garlic & ginger sauté.
  • Add salt so they do not burn & sauté.
  • Then we add finely chopped green chillies & sauté.
  • We add the chopped onion, sauté & cover the kadai/wok with a lid to let the onion cook well.
  • After a few minutes we open the lid, the onions need to be soft & translucent.
  • Then we add the chopped tomatoes & sauté.
  • Again we cover the kadai/wok with a lid to let the tomatoes cook well.
  • After a few minutes we open the lid, the tomatoes need to be soft.
  • We gently mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon/spatula.
  • Add turmeric powder, homemade sambhar powder/curry powder & sauté.
  • Now we add the raw/uncooked dal ball/dumplings we set aside earlier, sauté well to remove raw dal flavour (this done to enhance the flavour of the curry).
  • Add 1 glass of water & mix well.
  • Add salt to taste (please check & add required salt).
  • We cover with a lid & let the curry cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • After a few minutes we open the lid & see the curry has come to a full boil & cooking well.
  • We add ½ glass water & as it is heating we add the steamed vadas/dal dumplings into the curry.
  • We break the vadas/dal dumplings gently into pieces & drop it into the curry (just crack the vada/dumplings into two pieces or as you wish).
  • Then mix the curry gently.
  • Now we add the coconut paste we prepared earlier & mix well.
  • Once the curry starts to bubble turn off heat (since we have added coconut paste, if we let it cook for long the curry may split).
  • Finally we add the chopped coriander/dhania leaves, mix (the curry will thicken as it cools, add ½ cup water, heat it & then serve for later).
  • Ready to serve.

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