I can hardly imagine any festival or function go by at the in-laws place, without Masal Vadai being made. The entire house smells sweet (ironic, I know for a savory dish) with the vadai in the making. My MIL being the sweetest soul that she is, hands us hot-hot vadais straight out of the pan. So, it goes without saying that she is THE masala vada expert and this recipe is from her kitchen!
I learnt the tips and tricks to get the crispiest Paruppu Vadais from my mother-in-law. At times she adds finely chopped banana flower, making her yet another famous Vazhapoo Vadai. This basic version of Masal Vadai goes extremely well with Sambar rice – one of our favorite combinations. Made with a simple Masala of chopped onions, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves and finally – saunf/sombu that gives a distinct flavor to these deep fried lentil dumplings.
Often times one can spot these Masal Vadais hot in any of the street side tea shops in and around Tamilnadu. Nothing can beat the amazing combo of a piping hot chai/tea with Masala Vadais. Usually, these are wrapped up in old newspaper if you want to take some back home – I tried to get that feel to my Vadais 🙂
To make Masala Vadai | Paruppu Vadai
What I used –
- Chana Dal, ½ cup
- Onion, 1 medium
- Green Chilli, 1
- Saunf/Fennel Seeds, 1 tsp
- Garlic Pods, 2-3
- Fresh Ginger, 1” piece
- Fresh Curry Leaves, a few
- Salt, as required
- Water, as required
- Oil, to deep fry
Prep Work –
1. Soak Chana dal in enough water for atleast 2 hours. Chop onion, green chillies, curry leaves finely. Set aside.
How I made –
1. Drain all the water from the chana dal. Set aside two tbsp. of soaked Chanda dal. Add the remaining to a mixer jar Add garlic pods, ginger slices and fennel seeds/sombu. Pulse it through without adding any water into a coarse paste. Add it along with remaining chana dal to a bowl with chopped onions, green chillies and curry leaves. Add salt needed and mix well. Make sure the prepared mix is dry and without much water. It should come together when made into a ball.
2. Meanwhile heat oil for deep frying in a pan. Set the flame on medium. Make small balls out of the prepared vadai mix and press it gently between your palms to flatten it. Gently drop into hot oil. Keep frying it on low/medium flame until golden brown. Remove it and drain it on a tissue paper. Repeat the same with rest of the vadai batter.
3. Serve hot as evening snack with coffee/tea. Can be served as side dish for rice, sambar or rasam.
- Chana dal should not be grinded very fine. Just pulse it enough to make a coarse paste. It is optional to reserve some chana dal to add later into the vadai mix. It adds to the crispness of the vadai.
- Onion can be skipped if offering to God.
- Once the oil is hot, set it on low/medium flame – deep frying these vadais for long to ensure that the center is cooked and the edges are crispy.
- Don’t add any water while grinding the dal. If required, sprinkle few drops. Adding too much water will absorb more oil and wont be crisp enough.