This is a recipe of chana dal masala vada or deep fried lentil cakes that is super delicious and pretty easy to conjure. This recipe belongs to my mother-in-law’s younger sister who is considered the chef in the family. She is very methodical in her cooking and readily shares both her yummy food and recipes. This masala vada is made on festivals and special occasions or when relatives or friends visit. It is a favourite of all of us in the family so it was imperative that I learned the recipe and cooked it at home.
So here you go:
Makes 25 good-sized vadas
Chana dal (Split Bengal gram) 500 gm. (Soak in water for a couple of hours)
1 large onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. finely chopped dill leaves
1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander leaves (optional)
a sprig of curry leaves finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
3-4 cloves (optional)
1 inch stick cinnmon (optional)
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Drain water from soaked dal and make sure it is relatively dry. Then blend the dal in the mixer using no water. Leave it slightly coarse. You definitely do not want a paste. So just give a couple of quick blending motions. If some of the lentils remain whole, don’t fret. As a matter of fact that is desirable.
Now take out this coarse semi-paste in a container. Add all the finely chopped ingredients to the lentil batter. Do coarsely pound the cloves and cinnamon before adding. Add everything together and mix with your hand so that it is uniformly distributed. Now make small flat balls using your hands.
Use a little oil if the mix sticks though it generally doesn’t. Now heat the oil to high heat. I use mustard oil because I love its taste but you can use any vegetable oil you like. Deep fry till golden brown ensuring that you reduce the heat to medium high else the outside will be brown too soon while the inside stays uncooked.
Now drain them out and serve hot with any chutney or ketchup. This is very filling and incredibly delicious. Enjoy.
Tip: Add salt at the end. You can make the batter and store in the fridge for later use. Just don’t add salt. Add salt just before frying because you don’t want the batter to become soggy.
The vada mix should not be runny or watery.