Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Masal Vadai

Festivals and food go hand in hand in any culture. Our household is no different. I cook dishes that are specific for the festival and often cooked fare includes a payasam and a vadai. While certain dishes are made as offering on specific occasions, payasam and vadai are made almost on every occasion. In many households feast is synonymous to a variety of dishes that without fail will include the two. I make the softer textures ulundu vadai/medhu vadai and the paruppu vadai which is otherwise known as aama vadai in Southern India.
Many restaurants include the medhu vadai in their breakfast menu along side fluffy idlies, the paruppu vadai is most likely a snack. Most eateries, even pushcart ones, on the roadside might serve the paruppu vadai with addends like onions and fennel seeds which then becomes masala vadai. Onions are avoided on festivals in food; thus, masal vadai is an occasional snack that is consumed as is without any need for accompaniments like chutneys or sauces.
I use the split yellow  peas, known as pattani paruppu in Tamil for this along with the usual channa dhal/ bengal gram when I can find this dhal. These peas have a slight bitter taste and are harder in texture. It gives an extra crunch to the vadai. The crunch and the taste of deep fried onions and extra spices makes this a popular snack.
I stumbled upon this dhal quite accidentally. Few years ago, I found it in the store and mistaking it for another dhal, picked a pack up, only to find it would not cook to desired softness and the taste was a put off. To use up the purchase, I looked up cookbooks and found that they yield a good texture to vadais. I do not find it very often here, when I did, I picked up a packet, promising my husband that he will have masal vadai.

Masal Vadai

Makes 20 vadais

1 cup Split yellow peas/ pattani paruppu/ muttar dhal
1 cup Bengal gram/ kadalai paruppu/ channa dhal
2 large onions sliced fine
10 -12 dry red chillies
6 green chillies
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
A fistful curry leaves chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Wash both the lentils separately until clean. Soak them separately for an hour.
While they are soaking, chop the onions and the fresh leaves.
Once the lentils are soaked enough, drain the water completely.
Grind them along with chillies and salt to a coarse, dough like consistency adding as little water as possible. The resultant dough should be such that you are able to gather in a ball and flatten without being runny.

To the dough add the onions, chopped leaves and fennel seeds. Mix well.
Divide the dough in small portions.
Heat oil in a heavy pan.
When the oil has attained optimum heat, slightly wet your palms and roll one portion of dough in a slightly thick circular disc and slide it in the oil.
Flatten some more, as many as the pan can fry without crowding them.
Deep fry initially until half done. Remove from the oil with a slotted ladle and work on the rest of the dough.
Once all of the dough has been used up and are partly done, drop the vadais back in the oil in batches and fry further until they are crisp on the outside. The double frying gives it the desired crispness.

Enjoy them as snack along with tea and coffee. You may opt to serve with a chutney though it is not required. .


  1. Perfect snack!! Never knew about the double frying part. Amma adds a handful of almonds for the crispness!

  2. vada looks wonderful delicious snack Happy New Year

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  5. Perfect and tasty snacks! Masala vadai looks delicious!


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