Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad

Posted: February 18, 2012 in Feel-Good, Food, Nostalgia, Vegetarian
Tags: , , , ,

I wasn’t quite sure how this word, roday came about, until I tried searching for the word on the web one day. As a child, I grew up hearing this word from my dad every so often.  I remembered this was one of his favourite snacks.

Years on, I tried searching for the recipe, but no roday recipe popped up.  Only then did I come to the conclusion that the word roday was simply a misheard word coined by the Kuchingites, which would correctly be called, Vada, or Wada, or Vade or Vadai! Correct or not, I’ll stick to my guns and call this family favourite snack, cucur roday, or roday fritters

As a tribute to my late dad, I’m sharing with you the roday recipe my dad would have enjoyed, with ingredients that you can get easily at any Asian stores.

For the record, vada is a traditional South Indian snack. The roday my dad liked was made from channa dal.  Although vadas are commonly prepared at home, these disc-shaped snacks have become popular street food. My dad was very good at sampling local foods at street stalls and thereafter introducing these foods to us.  He knew the best of the best in town: bak pao, sio bee, char kway, satay, mee rebus, pisang goreng, laksa, belacan beehoon, hay piah, kai chook, pulut panggang, juhu eng chai, kueh cincin, lei cha, murtabak, rojak…. You named it; my dad knew the little back streets and corners of Kuching town like the back of his hand 😀

You can see from the multitude of exotic names, some of which have no English translation at all, but, believe you me, every single item is scrumptiously edible!

You will notice in this recipe that I have not included any measurements.  There’re no hard and fast rules.  Just follow your heart, sight and instinct. I did just that!

You need these though …

Channa dal (coarsely blended)

Cumin (I used cumin powder)

Cinammon stick (finely blended)

Fennel Seeds

Curry leaves (roughly torn)

Onion (finely chopped)

Ginger (finely grated)

Green chillies (roughly chopped)

Fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

The visual effect

Wash and soak the Channa dal for at least 4 hours.

Channa or chana dal or dhal is a type of pulse, with their sweet and nutty flavour. At first glance, they look like split mung beans (lek tau), but they are derived from splitting a mini relative of the chickpea in half.

Introducing the array of spices I used in this recipe.

Mix the blended ingredients together. Take a portion at a time and form disc-shaped patties.

I shallow fried my rodays until golden brown and crisp on the outside.

Closed-ups of the crispy / crunchy rodays

Dhals are substitutes of lentils, which are low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Oh by the way, I gathered from an Indian friend that channa dhals are pretty renowned for causing flatulence :-D.  That’s why asafoetida is used in many Indian vegetarian dishes to counter-act against flatulence.

I have never used asafoetida, aka devil’s dung or stinking gum. With its pungent smell when taken raw, the flavour when cooked is reminiscent of strong onions or leeks with a touch of earthy truffles. Hmmm….gotta try this powdered resin one day. On the other hand, it’s pretty healthy and normal to pass gas (every) once in a while LOL!

The way my late dad liked it

The no-nonsense roday fritters with a good mug of hot teh tarik (pulled tea) and crooning away one of his favourite songs from one of his oldtime favourite singers – the one and only Gentleman Jim. Ahhh….simplicity at its best.

Here’s to you, papa!

  1. Chris says:

    Happy Belated V-day to you and your family too. 😀 I’m not too familiar with the above dish but they looked good. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of a lot of spices in my food. I blame my super-sensitive taste bud – it keeps me from appreciating foods with strong spices. Bummer! Now, as for the teh tarik…I would love to get a taste of that…mmmmm.

  2. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Chris.
    Oh that’s too bad. I love spicy food. We were ‘exposed’ to all kinds of foods when we were young. I guess that’s where I got to appreciate these spices. My dad must have his chillies in almost every meal :-). As for the teh tarik, you need quite a lot of tea, preferably black. Ceylon tea would be good. Then you need to add condensed milk plus evaporated milk. “Pull” the tea until it becomes frothy. Love it, esp in this cold weather. Try it. I’m sure you will like it, too 😉

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Nasifriet,

    I do love spicy food but somehow, I could never get used to the taste of strong spices where they prominently stand out in a dish like most indian dishes for instance. I don’t really like western dishes or desserts that use strong-tasting herbs or spices either like rosemary or cinnamon. I love chillies (which when I was growing up, my Dad must have it with every meal too :D), belacan, curries, satay (although there are some strong spices used in satay but you can’t really taste them). I love teh tarik, which I find to be pretty similar to iced teh si peng (tea with evaporated milk) – that’s what I always order when I eat at a kopi tiam. 😀 OMG…I love evaporated milk…can’t eat green bean or red bean soup dessert without it….and then a couple of years ago, I found out I’m now lactose intolerant (I had no problem with dairy before that). For a while, I was off dairy and then, I slowly introduced dairy back into my diet. I find that I can tolerate most dairy with my Lactaid pills but I can’t tolerate low-fat dairy much such as evaporated milk or some soft cheeses because they contain higher lactose. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I miss evaporated milk but using it means I’ll be spending the rest of the day in the bathroom. 😀

  4. Nasifriet says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about your being lactose intolerant, Chris. Then I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I can eat about anything. Evaporated milk is really “dehydrated” milk with a large proportion of water removed from fresh milk. That gives the milk a longer shelf life than fresh milk. You’re right abt evaporated milk transforming simple red bean (ang tau) soup or green bean (lek tau) soup into superbly tasted soups. Also great in ang tau peng, cendol, and all the local shaved-ice slushes. Mmmmm… yummy! :-P.
    Have a great day!

  5. Chris says:


    You are making me drool! Am craving ang tau teng, lek tau teng, and ang tau peng now. 😀

  6. Dada says:

    Mun di malaya, when we say cucur roday they have no idea what is tht. Org malaya called it vadei. Definitely dad’s favrite..kadang2 sampe lejuk makan. Hahaha…tapi roday kenek tok sik senyaman roday dolok.

  7. Nasifriet says:

    Defiinitely ONE of dad’s favourite snacks. Banyak gik yg lain nya suka ya.. Mun roday kenek tok sik nyaman, polah sendiri lor. Use my recipe and add aunty Ah Yong’s secret ingredient – hay bee 🙂

  8. […] Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad Rate this:Share this:EmailFacebookStumbleUponTwitterLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Leave a Comment by Nasifriet on September 11, 2012  •  Permalink Posted in Family, Feel-Good, Greetings, Nostalgia Tagged farewell words, happy anniversary, secret tears, tender loving care […]

  9. […] Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad […]

  10. […] Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad […]

  11. […] When I was a kid, my late Dad used to buy Indian snack for our simple high tea. I have made cucur roday or masala vada(i) a few times aleady on my own. You can find the recipes on my blog: Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight and Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad […]

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