Monday, January 21, 2008

Suralichi Wadi

While samosas and pakodas have become international sensations and are on everyone's lips (literally and figuratively), there are quite a few Indian snacks that would be unfamiliar to many people: this post is about one such snack. Let's should I describe suralichi wadi to someone who may not have seen it before? Think of a Swiss roll; only the "cake" is a silky, thin sheet of cooked chickpea flour and the filling is a savory mixture of coconut, herbs and chillies. OK- so it is nothing like a Swiss roll, except that it is a roll. This delightful little bite is commonly called Suralichi Wadi in Maharashtra (surali is roll) and Khandvi in Gujarat. I am not sure if other states of India also make this but it sure is popular in these two Western states. You will find mounds of khandvi beautifully stacked on counters in halwai shops (akin to delis) all over Bombay. It is a dish that Aai (my mum) often made when she had too much rapidly-souring yogurt on her hands and needed to use it up quickly. Suralichi wadi is served cold or at room temperature, making it the perfect snack for hot days, but of course that should not stop anyone from making/eating it during any other weather.

Suralichi wadi is one of those things that can seem quite difficult to make if one has never made it before but my mother shared her recipe for making it in the microwave oven. I was very surprised at how quick and fun this recipe is! Apart from some basic ingredients and a microwave-safe (I prefer to use glass) bowl, what you need are some surfaces to spread the cooked chickpea-buttermilk mixture on. I use upturned steel dinner plates.

My mum says to keep three things in mind:
1. The proportion to remember here is adeech-pat or 1 part besan: 2.5 parts buttermilk. Here, I am referring to what we call buttermilk in India- diluted yogurt, essentially. In fact, for Indian dishes that call for buttermilk, I just whisk together yogurt and water. The buttermilk should be of a medium consistency. Think Goldilocks: not too thick and not too thin.
2. As you cook the besan mixture, remember to do so in short bursts, stirring each time, to prevent lumps from forming.
3. How do you decide when the mixture is cooked enough? Do the test: on an ungreased steel plate, smear a small amount (teaspoonful) and let it cool for a few seconds. Try rolling it off the surface. If it comes off easily, the mixture is ready. If it sticks to the plate even after cooling, cook it some more.
A lot of the cooking time etc. will depend on the properties of the buttermilk (how thick, how sour), so you will have to standardize it for yourself.

Suralichi Wadi

(My mother's recipe)
1 C besan (chickpea flour)
2.5 C buttermilk (medium consistency)
0.5 t turmeric powder
salt to taste
0.5 C grated coconut (fresh or thawed frozen)
0.5 C packed minced fresh cilantro
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 hot green chillies, minced (or to taste)
salt to taste
1-2 T oil
2 t mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
2. Set out about 4 upturned dinner plates on the work surface (steel thalis work best). These should NOT be greased and they do need to have flat bottoms.
3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the besan, buttermilk, turmeric and salt making sure there are no lumps. Cook the mixture by microwaving for 30-45 second spurts and stirring in between.
4. When the mixture appears to thicken into a paste, test it (see notes above). Cook it until it is can be rolled properly once smeared on a plate.
5. Ladle portions of the cooked mixture onto the upturned plates and spread it thinly, using a gentle circular motion.

6. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so. Then sprinkle the filling evenly on the surface (divide the filling equally among all the plates you are covered).

7. Use a knife (or pizza wheel) to gently score the sheet into strips (an inch wide or so). Then gently roll each strip into a tight roll.

8. Set the rolls on a platter. Make the tempering by heating oil and spluttering mustard seeds and asafoetida in it. Pour the tempering evenly on the rolls.

Eat up :)

I'm sending this any-time snack to Srivalli for her microwave cooking event. The theme this month is Tiffin. To me, this Anglo-Indian word holds much promise of good food. Tiffin was our word for the lunch-box that we took to school every day for the mid-morning meal. The stackable stainless steel tiffin boxes bearing 4-course meals and the dabbawallas who deliver them all over Bombay are internationally known. Tiffin-the meal- was my very favorite of the 4 meals served in hostel here, served at 4 pm. Eating a hearty snack at 4 pm is a brilliant concept, allowing one to eat smaller meals throughout the day and getting away with a very light dinner!

Anyway, here are a couple more microwave tiffin ideas from this blog:
Sabudana Khichdi
I am fairly sure Kothimbir Wadi could be easily steamed in the microwave although I have yet to try it myself.

*** *** ***

I am so grateful to everyone who helped me with useful tips about making the puris for pani puri. I got together with a friend and we had a great time making a big batch last night. Here are my results using 1:1 maida to sooji with a tiny bit of baking soda and sugar in the dough; stamping out circles from a large rolled sheet and further rolling each piece thinly: about a 50% puff rate, with a wonderful light and crispy taste. Puff daddies and rebels were both devoured in minutes :D

Real life is going to be hectic from this week on, and blogging life might suffer as a result: programming on One Hot Stove could be sporadic for a while. Y'all stay warm and happy!


  1. Wow! that looks really yummy. I have to try that! Never tried any typical north indian dishes..

  2. Oh look at those wonderful treats Lovely! Those pani puris do look good. Good on you for your commitment!

  3. Thanks for another wonderful recipe -- completely new to me. The step-by-step photos are really helpful, too. It's definitely time to begin building up my stock of Indian pantry ingredients.

  4. you make this recipe for suralichi wadi sound so i ahve to give it a try.DH loves suralichi wadi.....did you say you use diluted dahi? shud it be as thick as storebought buttermilk or thinner?

  5. wow, one more m/w rcp from ur aai looks very good :)

  6. I am a fan of suralichi wadi! They are a great snack, and one of the few that are practically no-fat!

    Congratulations on your poori efforts - 50% puff rate is not bad, and are perfect for sev-puri, which you must have wanted to make as well.

  7. Majja...........
    Masta aahet photos... and looks so yummy...Will make them today... !!!
    Thanks Nupur....

  8. I saw these one time before and wanted to make them but never got around to it. Thanks for the pictorial.

  9. How easy and delicious, and they're pretty to boot! I think this is a wonderful wintertime snack Nupur -- the bright colors are a real pick-me-up. Very interesting article from the NYT, and also fun to IIT :)

    Take good care of yourself in spite of the busy schedule :)

  10. "Puff Daddies"- lol:D
    I've eaten at that IIT mess and have loved the food there.

    Suralichi wadi looks simply beautiful. It's one snack that you can indulge in without feeling guilty.

  11. Wow, those look really perfect.Does anything change if made on the stove top? Would love to try them out.

  12. I've never heard of this type of Indian snack, but it sounds just fabulous! So many of my very favorite flavors here. (And the chickpea flour is so South Beach Diet friendly too!) I do hope I get to try this sometimes, hopefully in India!

  13. Wow Nupur, that khandvi looks professionally done! Yummy!

  14. The colour, the texture, the looks, suralichi wadi has got it all. I gotta try this.

  15. Nags, thanks, but I have no idea what typical North Indian dishes you are talking about :) suralichi wadi is more a specialty of Western India, while pani puri is equally popular in the East, West and North.

    Meeta, thanks :) it is fun to do these little projects.

    Lydia, you will need a second pantry to house Indian ingredients once you get started with them! I'm just warning you ;)

    sowhatsnewtoday, I would say- a little thinner than US commercial buttermilk. Actually, there is no reason why store-bought buttermilk should not work here. Just that I have not tried it myself.

    Richa, glad you like it :)

    Anita, so true- it is a great lower-calorie snack. Yup, we enjoyed both the puffed and non-puffed puris equally, in the end :)

    Leena, I hope the recipe works for you!

    Gini, it is quite a fun recipe to make if you do decide to make it :)

    Linda, this is so true- they are just as sunny as can be- the miracle of turmeric (and besan contributes too, of course) :D Thank you for your sweet wishes!

    TBC, yes, the main mess had some pretty good stuff, but my hostel mess was better :D yes, suralichi wadi is a great snack!

    evolvingtastes, my mother cooked the mixture on the stove top for all the years before she acquired a microwave. It works fine, but requires close monitoring and constant vigorous stirring, or it will stick and burn to the bottom of the pan.

    Kalyn, I know, this is one of the lesser-known Indian snacks :) Come visit and I'll make it for you!

    Shyam, glad you like it! Does not take any special talent to make it good-looking, I assure you :)

  16. Nupur, I did not know you were looking for a pani puri recipe. I taught Pani puri from scratch in our class this month. The secret to making real crisp puris is very fine semolina. I bought it in an organic store and club soda. for 1/2 cup semolina about 2-3 tbsps club soda. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then roll them thin.

  17. We love suralichi vadi around here, and your recipe couldn't make it any easier. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hey Nupur,
    Beautiful wadis! Thanks for reminding me! I haven't made these in a very long time. Have you tried til in the phodni? I highly recommend it!

  19. Wonderful! I like the smooth n silky suralicha wadya! Trying it in the m/w is a fab idea!!

    The Puff Daddies LOL!!! PP's are excellent! 50 % puff rate is fab!! the rest are sev-puri!! Perfect!!!

  20. Nupur, these sound so good! I love that they're not fried too :) I'll have to try them soon... I don't have any thalis, but I'm thinking maybe cookie sheets would do?

  21. They look so good! and you made them in the microwave! The best thing, hot chillies and coconut filling :-D. Also love the puffed ones and the papdis at the end. The latter could easily jazz up a dahi-wada, papdi chaat :).

    And i agree, besides the pakoras and samosa, such wonderful snacks need to be popularized more. Thanks for doing your bit :).


  22. Lovely!!! I loooove this dish but have never attempted it because I was told that it requires special techniques, etc. This looks simple enough. :)

  23. oh, they look so perfect!!!! Thanx for the recipe... WOuld love to try it out sometime. The picture is gr8

  24. Khandvi looks so good, we always used to buy from farsanwalla in mumbai, never dared to make it at home.... I liked the snaps, rich of color and goodness.

    Even I had some puffs and flats while experimenting making p.puri's
    I think thats the stepping stone....

  25. Hi Nupur. I am new to the world of food blogs, started browsing a few weeks back. I enjoy reading yours and have started trying out some of your recipes. I am now inspired to try out this Suralichi wadi, though I haven't had much luck with it in the past.

  26. My son is allergic to besan. Have you tried making this wadi with some other flour? Like,say, rice flour?

  27. i made these tonight and they were so easy....the propotion you gave takes about 10-12 bursts of 40 seconds each...DH loved these...i still in shock that i mastered these....

  28. great job Nupur!! I alwasy used to pride myself in thinking that I made awesome Khandvi, which is considered an achievement in gujju families:) and here you have the perfect m/w recipe!!! didn't work great for my ego, but I love it!!:D

    and your mom's tips were exactly same as my mom's tips, in that same order:) I've posted khandvi on my blog too:)

  29. Oh Nupur, the picture of the suralichi wadi is to die for. The color, texture of the wadi with coconut and mustard looks amazing. I always had the notion that this was a difficult thing to do, but now you have a MW method too. Gotta try.

  30. khandvi looks perfect with the step by step instructions in snaps..bookmarked

  31. Looks delicious and perfectly thin!

  32. Shankari, thanks for the tips!

    Namita, yup, it is easy enough to make at a moment's notice. Glad you like it :)

    Nivedita, I have tried til in phodni for dhokla and loved it, and next time I'll try it here as well. Thanks for the tip :)

    Manasi, yup, pani puris and sev puris all in one ;) m/w works really well for these wadya :)

    Cathy, yes, the not-fried is a BIG point in their favor :) Cookie sheets would work fine! It is funny...I have seen thalis being used for this recipe all my life and somehow never thought of them being done any other way. But sure, cookie sheets or any other flat surface (even a cleaned counter) would be fine! This is a fun recipe to do...needs the kind of handiwork (rolling neatly) that you excel at.

    Musical, oh yes, the filling is incredible with its fresh flavors and zing (I am liberal with ginger in there too). We Indians love our snacks, right? :D I for one am a devotee of these little bites! Hugs right back at ya :)

    Smita, I think the special technique is just about avoiding the lumps and not getting the mixture stuck to the bottom of the pan, which is a more challenging on the stove-top (since the heat source is at the bottom). Microwave makes it quite a bit easier, at least for me.

    Ramya, glad you like it :)

    Padma, yes, you get such wonderful khandvi at the farsanwallas in Bombay! But do give it a try, it is simple enough to make at home.

    Anon, welcome to the food blog world, and I hope you have fun here!

    Anjali, no, I'm afraid I have not tried with any other flour, and can't remember coming across any recipe using other flours either. Might need some experimentation!

    sowhatsnewtoday, you might be able to do 60 second bursts fewer times once you get a feel for the way the mixture cooks...but so glad the recipe worked! Yay!

    Mansi, well, don't worry, we will still acknowledge you as the khandvi expert around here!

    Red Chillies, thank you, my dear :) They are pretty little things and very photogenic :D You got to try this, it is quite easy and quick!

    easycrafts, let me know if it works for you, when you try it!

    Miri, thanks!

  33. Nupur..I thought I had left my comments yesterday..but can't see them now...

    anyway...thanks for the wonderful entry..they look really yummy..and loved reading abt the intro too..!..thanks

  34. Nupur! that is a wonderful snack, family will gobble it up, I can just tell. I would also love to use my besan flour. Bombay's got to be the snack capital of the world too :)

  35. love both the appetizers Nupur, am definitely going to try the wadi :)

  36. Hey Nupur, These look great!

  37. that looks Yiummy !
    We call it Khandavi , and make exactly the same way. thanks for sharing Nupur. there is no comparison of this to any of todays fast food snacks... I always loved it.
    Panipuri looks good too , 50% ration in first trial is good , I think :).
    Recently came to know from a friend, that she makes it using only fine rava.
    If I will try Will let you know how it turn out .Well , if you have time take a look at blog, I wish all our Indian buddies to be a part of Republic day celebration with tricolors...

  38. Hmm, Am coming across many new types of Indian dishes today while hopping through food blogs.. This dish looks yummy. Have to try it out..

  39. The first time I saw the dish, I thought it was too tedious. It is, but you have illustrated it so well that I want to try it. Looks wonderful.

  40. Suralichi vadi looks awesome, Nupur! You pictures are really wonderful.

  41. Nupur:

    I've never heard of these before but they sound and look amazing. What a great post. Trouble is, I don't have a microwave. Do you have any tips for the stove top?

  42. A recipe for khandvi. You're a Goddess.

  43. I have eaten this so many times, but never had the guts to try making with this recipe i sure am going to try my hand at it....thanks for the recipe

  44. Nupur, I saw your comment about salt not sticking to popcorn in another blog. What works best for me is spraying little non-stick cooking oil to the hot popcorn and then sprinkling the salt. That trick usually works well.

  45. Wow! Can I say that again? Wow...
    I am a pretty hard-core cook from scratch, make-my-own-everything kind of gal, but I have never even contemplated making these. I buy the pre-made ones at the Indian store for pani puri. They look fantastic (even the rebels). I am very impressed.

  46. I remember seeing this on another blog and wanted to try. Thanks for reminding me. Am bookmarking this and the wadis look so pretty.

  47. Those Suralichi Wadis are such pretty little snacks! Thanks for sharing something new with us! And I hope that all the hectic "real life" stuff is fun! :D

  48. Is this also called Khandvi? I think my friend makes it - I love them and it sounds simple enough - will try them this weekend - thanks :)

  49. I've bookmarked this to try! It looks so attractive, I can just imagine the taste.

  50. I love khandvi. The idea of making this in the microwave is even more attractive.

  51. Srivalli, sorry :( your first comments seems to be lost in cyberspace. Thanks for hosting this fun event!

    Indosungod, oh yes, Bombay is where I picked up my snacking habit that is now impossible to break :D yes, this is a good way to use up besan flour. Hope your little ones enjoy it.

    Mandira, let me know if you like it :)

    Poonam, thanks

    Pooja, I would have loved to participate in your event, but ran out of time. I'll still enjoy looking at all the entries!

    Mona, glad you like it

    Mythreyee, yes, it looks more tedious than it really is!

    Meera, thank you :)

    Lisa, it will work on the stove top as well (that is the way it was always done before the "new-fangled" microwaves came along): keep the heat low to medium so that the flour cooks slowly. Stir constantly to avoid lumps and to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom (it totally tends to do just that). That's it!

    Enjay, my mum's the goddess :) I am but the humble messenger of her recipes :D

    Bhags, go ahead and give it a try. It is really not that difficult!

    Red Chillies, thanks for the tip! Will give it a try :) sounds like a great idea.

    Diane, well, I won't lie to you: it is a lot of hard work to make even a small batch (that gets gobbled up in seconds) if you have access to good puris from a store, that would be the way to go. I did it just as a one-time thing for fun (which it sure was)!

    Laavanya, let me know if you give them a try!

    Anali, yes, they are pretty :) and fun to gobble up ;) The real life stuff is all fun but hard work as well. As real life stuff should be :D

    Pink dogwood, yes, it is also called I have said in the very first paragraph of this post :)

    Cynthia, I hope you try it. It will taste pretty different from the usual appetizers we are used to :)

    Aparna, glad you think so!

  52. sorry - I guess I got drawn to your beautiful picture and skipped the first paragraph :)

  53. nupur..the suralchi wadi looks soo good..i always have yogurt that gets unused for a while and i dump it in the sink..i should make this helthy and delicious snack instead...and coming to the pani-puris..i liked the rebels better :D..douse yogurt and meetha chutney..yum!!

  54. What a fantastic post! Thanks for taking the time to provide detailed instructions and photos. These are so beautiful, and I've never tried one before. I'm intrigued.

  55. Hey Nupur that's khandvi right. I love them outright, n never thought it would be possible to make them at home!!! Love the idea.

  56. Hey Nupur,
    I was always intimated by the process of making Suralichi Wadi..your method was so easy and uncomplicated..I tried it out and the wadis turned out quite alright..:) Your post helped me get over one hurdle ..cheers!

  57. Jhelum, thank you so much for the feedback! I am delighted that the recipe worked for you. Hope all is well with you :)

  58. Have been reading this blog for a while now. This might be my first comment. I tried the recipe out - having never tried the stove-top version before. Cooking skills - I've never tried anything outside of the amti / bhaji routine before...

    I hate to report this - it was a dismal disaster. I thought I had a rocking microwave but then my mixture kept cooking in splotches. Sides would cook leaving uncooked lava in the middle.

    I was forced to make Jhunka out of the splotchy besan - taak mixture and the corriander + chilli filling.

    Have you seen that happen?

  59. hey!

    just do I go about the cooking since I don't have a microwave!

    Will doing it on the gas be ok? any difference in timing...method??

  60. Wow, great entry. I constantly crave chaat. Years ago, I went through a phase of making it, but never licked the Pani Puri's and I hate the ones from the store. So going to make these...

  61. Aga Nupur the vadi looks so tempting, they disappear so fast too:). We never made them at home always bought them from the shops. I plan to try. Thanks

  62. Hi Nupur,

    I tried your Suralichi Vadi recipe this weekend. Your recipe description was clear and concise. Vadi turned out well. The Maharashtrian in my husband was well fed :)

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.


  63. Thank you so much for a great recipe. It came out (almost) perfect.:P I came to know about it through a comment posted at

  64. I just made these today - and, i think my mum is gonna be super proud! :D

    Thank you!! :-)

  65. Nupur, do you know/remember what is the total cooking time in the microwave for these quantities?



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