In a pan on medium heat, add urad dal and dry roast till it becomes golden brown and aromatic. During the process keep stirring for even roasting and preventing it from burning. I love the smell that fills up the kitchen while roasting urad dal 🙂
Transfer this to a plate. Let this cool down completely. Add the roasted urad dal to a mixer or blender and blend it into a fine smooth powder.
You can dry roast til or cumin seeds in the same pan. Sauteing or adding til or cumin seeds while preparing rice vado is optional.
In a bowl, add rice flour, urad dal powder, til or sesame or cumin seeds, salt to taste and mix. I first added ½ teaspoon salt and then, in the end, while making the dough, tasted and added another ¼ tsp. So adjust salt to your taste.
Now add softened butter and nicely rub the flour until the butter is very well incorporated.
Add water little by little to form a dough. The dough should be firm and non-sticky. It should not be dry or sticky. The amount of water you may require to reach the final stage may be different. So please do not add all water at once, instead, add it in parts. Check my video on the making of vado or nippattu for more details.
Heat oil in pan or kadai for frying on medium-low flame.
Make tiny balls from the dough (You can refer video here). To shape them into nippatu or vada, you need two parchment papers, aluminum foil, or plastic sheets. I generally love using parchment paper, so I don’t have to grease my bowl or flat press. Place few tiny balls on one parchment paper a few inches apart. Keep another parchment paper on top of these balls and flatten it using a flat-surfaced press (it can be a bowl, back of the glass, spatula, etc.). Please check the video for a better understanding.
Once you have flattened few balls, fry them in batches on medium flame till it is crisp and golden brown on all sides. Make sure to flip and rotate the vadas once or twice during the frying process. Make sure that you always have the flame on medium so that the vadas come out crispy and crunchy. (Tip: Medium flame is best for frying. If you fry on high flame, it will be crisp from outside and soft inside, and if you fry on low flame, it will absorb too much oil.)
Transfer to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat the process for the remaining dough.
Once it cools down completely, store them in an airtight container. It will remain fresh for at least a month if stored right.