To prepare the vada, wash and soak channa dal in water for 3 hours.
Fine chop the onions, green chilies and coriander leaves. Keep aside.
Grind all ingredients mentioned under the list ‘to grind’ along with 1 teaspoon of water into a coarse paste. Set aside.
Drain water from channa dal and grind it into a coarse paste. Avoid using any water to grind the dal.
To the ground channa dal, add onions, coriander leaves, ground masala paste, salt and mix well.
Heat oil in a deep heavy-bottom pan.
Shape the vada round and slide gently into the pan of hot oil.
Deep fry them until golden brown.
Drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
Instead of deep-frying you can steam the shaped vadas in idli steamer for about 12 minutes.
To make the curry, heat 1 ½ tablespoon oil in a pan.
Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and fennel seeds to hot oil. Fry till aroma of spices is released.
Add onion, green chilies and cook till onions turn translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste. Cook until raw smell of the paste is gone.
Add tomato puree (first blanch tomatoes in boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes from water, peel the skin and blend into puree).
Cook until oil separates from the sides of the pan.
Add all the spice powders along with salt, stir to combine.
Add about 1 cup of water and bring the curry to boil once.
Crumble the deep fried vadas into smaller pieces before adding it to the curry. You can add the whole vada as well in the curry.
Simmer the curry over medium heat and let the vadas absorb the flavor of the curry. This takes about 12 to 15 minutes.
Once the gravy is thick, turn off the heat.
Garnish Vadakari with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve Vad Curry warm as side dish for idli or dosa.