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)
Curry leaves (roughly torn)
Onion (finely chopped)
Ginger (finely grated)
Green chillies (roughly chopped)
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!