Vadagam is not a masala like the others listed in the masala page. All others are powdered spices whereas Vadagam is a ball made of several other ingredients.
Vadagam itself is used as an ingredient for making Kuzhambu and some times Sambar as well. Kuzhambu tastes super delicious when Vadagam is used. However Vadagam is an optional ingredient.
Vadagam is a Tamil word. There is no equivalent in English.
You can consider Vadagam as a Spice ball.
Similar to spices and masala, Vadagam can be stored and used for several months.
Let us see the recipe for making Vadagam.
Take onion and garlic, peel them and chop them finely.
Add all other ingredients to them and smash them in a bowl so that they can be molded into a ball.
In olden days, we use "Ural" to smash them. In country side cooking you can still see the use of Ural.
Take care not to crush them heavily when you make the balls. We do not want the juice to ooze out. Make lemon sized balls and line them up in a plate.
Dry them in hot sun. This is a crucial step. No moist allowed. If there is no hot sun then don't try this as the output will not be good. You should dry them in sun around 10:00 in the morning.
In the evening, take all the balls and break them. Add half of castor oil, mix them and make balls again.
In the morning, place them in a plate and dry them again.
Repeat the process of step 5: In the evening, take all the balls, break them and add the remaining half of castor oil, mix them and make balls.
Dry these balls for 6 or 7 days in hot sun. Ensure they are all well dried. Store them in a air tight container. You can use them to make Kuzhambu. The shelf life is for a few months to an year.
Image of Vadagam used for tempering.
Below image is used while making Fish Kuzhambu.
Popular dish where Vadagam is used:
Vegetarian main dish:
Vegetarian side dish:
Other names/spelling variations of Vadagam:
Vadagham, Vadhagam, Vadhagham, Vadvam