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Thalippu Vengaya Vadagam (Ready to Use Indian Seasoning)

Thalippu_Vengaya_Vadagam_Seasoning_1 Thalippu Vengaya Vadagam is a ready to use instant seasoning. My mother in law uses this vadagam for seasoning in some curries like kara kuzhambu, sambar and some kootu. She even prepares thuvayal with this. This gives a nice aroma and taste to the curry. This is prepared at home during summer season in Tamil Nadu. I’m not sure whether this vadagam is prepared in any other states of India.

This year I too prepared it. This is shaped like balls and only 1 tea spoon of this is sufficient for seasoning.

For the given quantity of ingredients, I got 5 balls (to the size of an apple) of vadagam.


  • Pearl onions – ½ kg
  • Garlic small variety – 3 bulbs
  • Mustard – 2 table spoon
  • Fenugreek seeds – 2 table spoon
  • Cumin seeds – 2 table spoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 table spoon
  • Split black gram or urad dal – 3 table spoon
  • Curry leaves – few strings
  • Table salt (crystal form) – handful
  • Food grade castor oil/sesame oil – 25 to 50 ml



  • Soak urad dal for half an hour; wash two to three times; add mustard, fenugreek, cumin seeds together and wash/drain; it helps to remove impurities.

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  • Peel onion, garlic and chop finely.

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  • Chop curry leaves; in a bowl, add all ingredients including urad dal except oil; mix well.

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  • Keep this covered for one day; dry it in direct sunlight; here are day 2 morning and evening photographs.

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  • On third day, add oil and mix well; shape it into apple or big lemon sized balls and dry it again in direct sunlight.


  • Drying is faster if it is in loose form; I dried it in loose form; here are day 3 morning and evening photographs.

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  • As it starts drying the weight and volume of vadagam reduces; now when I shaped it, I could make only 5 apple sized balls; here are day 4 morning and evening photographs dried in ball shape.

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  • I further dried it in loose form for one more day till urad dal is very crisp.
  • Now Thalippu Vengaya Vadagam as an instant ready to use seasoning is ready.



  • This can be stored for almost an year if dried properly (till next summer season).
  • Tasty thuvayal can also be prepared with this.

Here is Drumstick Sambar using the above Thalippu Vadagam for seasoning.


  • In a fry pan do the seasoning with the above Thalippu Vengaya Vadagam.


  • When vadagam is fully fried and crisp, mix it with Sambar.



  • Do not over-fry vadagam to avoid blackening during seasoning.

{ 20 comments… add one }

  • ashwini April 21, 2010, 9:25 am

    this is something new and amazing never heard about this before……..

  • Sushma Mallya April 21, 2010, 11:17 am

    Nice post….

  • Priya April 21, 2010, 9:22 pm

    My mom do this vadagam every year, never learned this from her, very great post..

  • vineelasiva April 27, 2010, 6:52 am

    Wow very nice post.I never saw or heard abt this thanks for sharing with us.

  • Uma May 29, 2010, 12:19 am

    awesome one.. i got it once in a shop and luved it. never knew the recipe.

  • revathynarayan June 4, 2010, 12:27 pm

    very nice receipes onion vadagam is one of our family special thank u sooooooooo much

  • laksha July 14, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Hi mrs kamala,
    I prepared this vadagam as ur steps. I made it sundry for 2 days & the 3rd day i’ve added seasame oil, but iam unable shape it like a ball, its getting spread when i try to make it as a ball. It got dried well,please lemme know where went wrong. After added oil ,does it need to sundry again.

  • Kamala July 15, 2010, 7:47 am

    @ Laksha
    To shape it like a ball, use both palms of your hands. Apply little pressure and use some oil if necessary. If it has dried too much, you may find it difficult to shape it like a ball.
    After adding oil also, it has to be dried in sunlight. For longer shelf life, drying and storing in loose form is better.
    I think, in olden days this was prepared collectively by a group of ladies and were shaped into balls for easy counting, sharing and storing. So, even if it is not shaped into balls, the quality is not going to be compromised.

  • Leenie April 28, 2011, 1:39 am

    THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You are officially my culinary Angel!!!
    I have only 1 ball of vadagam left and have been using it sparingly as the relatives who used to make this are older now and stopped. The store bought ones are not nice-I have no other source for this wonderful item and have been wondering how I could make it here in the US. Your beautiful post has given me an idea to prepare it as you say and then maybe let it sit for 1 day and then maybe oven dry it on low heat for a couple of hours. Or Iwas thinking to get an red lightbulb and dry it the way you said. I think that if the drying process takes a couple of days, the way it is done in India, the flavor develops more than drying in the oven. And i am so HAPPY that i can just use a food processor for the otherwise very tearjerking onion chopping!!!I do have one question though and hope you have a chance to answer it. If my mustard seeds, urad dhal, cumin,and fenugreek seeds are clean do you think the soaking(urad)and rinsing of these are necessary? Is this step only to clean them or does hydrating them before the drying process make the vadagam better? Again many, many thanks for your detailed work!!!

  • Kamala April 28, 2011, 8:41 pm

    @ Leenie
    Soaking is necessary by tradition. It helps all other ingredients to absorb the flavour of onion. Also it helps to bind all ingredients.

  • parvathi May 9, 2011, 11:33 pm

    my mother in law send this from INDIA a week ago and i have no idea wat to do with this. Thank God…i saw ur recipe. thks for posting this traditional recipe. Please tell me how to make koottu with this!

  • Kamala May 16, 2011, 6:31 pm

    @ Parvathi
    Thalippu Vengaya Vadagam is used only as seasoning or to prepare thuvayal/chutney. You can use it for seasoning in kootu also.

  • Julie Sharad February 24, 2012, 11:08 am

    Hello Kamala,

    I grew up seeing people making it and i relished it all my life till i got married and availability was limited. This year after so many years, i decided to make it and have come across your post. I am so so happy to have discovered it and am out to go buy some of the ingredients. I will keep you posted on how it turned out.

    Most importantly, thank you for making me want it on my own.
    Very nice and simple steps and well illustrated.

  • Paramasivam March 5, 2012, 1:24 pm

    very nice. i like very much.

  • preethi April 16, 2013, 2:26 am

    thanks for this good reciepe….i have been searching for this reciepe in youtube for a long time but couldnt find one….thank u so much….

  • renuka May 7, 2013, 4:11 pm

    i have been wanting to make this recipe from a very long time.thanks for posting it. can we use this for fish gravy and other non-veg items?

  • lena anthony July 25, 2013, 10:01 pm

    hi kamala,

    i just did the first bit and i am leaving the batch to dry indoors for one day.
    just to reconfirm – the moment the urad dhal is crisp, does that mean that the thalipu is good and ready to be stored?
    i am asking this as I have really good heat from the sunlight this time round in Malaysia, and am wondering if drying is done for 4 days, will the thalipu be too dried up? is there a possibility in that actually happening – overdrying 😉

    thanks for a lovely recipe btw – i have looked everywhere and yours is by far the best in terms of pictures and explanation!


  • Umarani February 18, 2014, 9:38 pm

    Thanx 4 giving a wonderful reciepe. This was an easy and awesome Method to do this vadagam. This is realy nice. Thanx again

  • vijayabala March 22, 2014, 5:10 pm

    All the receipes are nice.

  • Jaya December 18, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Hello Kamala..
    This is really awesome!.. I know the thalippu vadagam is very useful and how much it complements in cooking traditional curries. I have been trying very hard to recollect how my late mom used to make this recipe when I was very young then. I somehow knew the basic ingredients but was not sure of the method and measurements. I used to miss the authenticity and fragrance of my mom’s cooking in mine and was desperately looking for the recipe. I was lucky some 10 years ago when I managed to buy packaged ones in Malaysia (imported from India, of course) but after sometime when I went back, they were no longer available. Since then, I have been hunting for the vadagam recipe and was very happy when I finally bumped into this site today. Thanks a million, I will definitely try your recipe!.. cheers!

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