Chawal Wadiyan Di Turry – Rice & Lentil Dumpling Curry


Many times when all else fails but you still want an easy and spicy dish to make, this recipe for chawal and Punjabi wadiyan can come in handy. It is not so common a dish, but those who eat it discover that it is a whole meal that is easy to make and has a lot of flavor. It is not necessary to eat this with roti (bread); you can just eat is in a bowl by itself, as it is quite satisfying.

Wadiyan are by far the most Punjabi of all foods and in North India, the aromatic and spicy Amritsari variety is the most popular. Wadiyan usually are an accompaniment to vegetables or rice since they add a flavor that is hidden inside the dumpling that comes out as it slowly simmers in the turry or sauce.

Making wadiyan themselves is an art that has been passed down between generations and within families, but it is dying out in the cities and towns. There are many who claim secret recipes, all dependent on the kind of flavor one seeks. Usually, the best ones are made of skinless urad daal  (black lentils) that is soaked overnight and then ground while still wet. The spices added include dhania (coriander), garam masala, lal mirch (red pepper), adrak (ginger) and hing (astafoetida powder). Once mixed properly, the wadiyan are made into one and a half inch balls that are laid out on a clean muslin cloth and left to dry in the sunshine.

My mother, biji, used to make these based on our traditional family recipe from West Punjab and for a few days, the wet wadiyan balls would dry on cloth spread on charpais (jute string cots). She would then carefully peel them off after they had dried for two days, then turn them over for another two days in the blazing sun. Overnight, she would carefully carry the wadiyan inside and then spread them out again outside the next day until the wadiyan were dry all over.

There are also wadiyan made of moong daal (yellow lentils) which are smaller in size, have a different flavor and are popular in Gujarat; and wadiyan made of soya powder that give a spongy texture which absorbs the curry.


½ cup chawal (rice)

2 large size Amritsari wadiyan (sun dried lentil dumpling) or 4 medium ones

2 medium pyaaz (onion) – peeled and finely chopped

2 medium tamater (tomato) – soft ones are best, chopped

5 cloves of lasan (garlic) – peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon adrak (ginger) – peeled and finely chopped

4 tablespoons tael (vegetable or olive oil)

2 ½ cups of water

Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric), dhania (coriander), garam masala


1. Prepare the masala in a medium saucepan. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is slightly brown, add the salt and haldi (turmeric) and stir well. Do not add any mirch (pepper) as the wadiyan have a lot of it in them.

 2. To the masala add the rice and then the water, cover the pot and let it all boil for 5 minutes over high heat.

 3.  Add the wadiyan; cover and let the turry boil for five minutes. The turry should not be thin but slightly thick so that the rice does not appear to be floating separately. Then turn off the heat and let the dish stay for five to ten minutes to let the wadiyan soak in the turry (sauce).

 4. Uncover the pot and check that the wadiyan have become plump to double their size and spread out and their aroma fills the pot. The dish is ready to eat by itself in a bowl.

 Mama tip of the week


 Because they are dried food, do not keep store wadiyan in the pantry because insects can infest them. Simply put the wadiyan in a plastic zip bag in the fridge, just as you should also store papad. Better still, roast and brown the wadiyan in a toaster oven, then you can keep them in a ziplock bag to keep the humidity out and put it in the pantry for a long time and they are ready for cooking. Do not roast the wadiyan in oil before storing them in the pantry; as they may get an acrid smell after some time.