Masal Vadai (Chana Dhal Fritters)

Srilatha Sides, Snacks And Light meals, South Indian Leave a Comment

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Masal Vadai (Chana Dhal Fritters)
Perfect for a rainy afternoon, tea time snack. High in protein.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours, soaking time
Servings
small vadais
Ingredients
  • 1 cup kadalai paruppu/chana dhal/Bengal gram
  • 1 medium Onion - red or white is fine
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 2 small Green chilies
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds/saunf/sombu
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 10-15 leaves fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small sprig fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • oil to deep fry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours, soaking time
Servings
small vadais
Ingredients
  • 1 cup kadalai paruppu/chana dhal/Bengal gram
  • 1 medium Onion - red or white is fine
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 2 small Green chilies
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds/saunf/sombu
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 10-15 leaves fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small sprig fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • oil to deep fry
Instructions
Prep
  1. Soak the paruppu/chana dhal and the red chilies in water for a minimum of 4 hours
  1. Gather all other ingredients
Main
  1. Finely chop the onions, cilantro, mint, ginger, and the green chilies
  2. Drain the soaked dhal completely, and blend with the fennel seeds and the red chilies. Green chilies may be added to be ground if you don't want to bite into them, I usually chop them finely and add to the batter. Use very little water while making the batter, as a watery batter won't hold together in the oil. It will also soak up more oil while frying.
  3. Add the chopped ingredients - onions, chilies, cilantro, mint, and ginger, and salt to the batter. Test and adjust salt
  4. Heat the oil in a wide kadai/pan
  5. How to test oil readiness: drop a tiny bit of the batter in the oil; if it sizzles and floats to the top immediately, the oil is ready
  6. Take the batter in small scoopfuls, flatten into the shape of a vadai, about 3-4 inches wide. For beginners: to do this, take a small lime sized quantity of batter, keeping the batter on four fingers, and shaping them with your thumb into a small flat circle
  7. Gently drop the vadai into the hot oil, from the side of the kadai, very carefully
  8. Fry as many vadais as the pan can take comfortably, not crowding them
  9. After a few minutes, gently turn the vadais in the oil to cook the underside
  10. When the bubbles in the oil start to slow down and disappear, the vadais are done
  11. Serve with chutney/ketchup
Recipe Notes
  • The trick to excellent vadais - crisp on the outside, slightly soft but completely cooked on the inside, and a beautiful golden red color is a batter with as little water as you can manage. Sprinkle water as needed when blending
  • The batter should be slightly coarse, a few half crushed pieces of the dhal add texture and crunch to the vadais
  • Cook on medium to high heat, and adjust as needed. If the heat is too low, the vadais will take a long time to cook and soak up a ton of oil; if the oil is too hot, the outside will cook too quickly and darken, leaving the batter uncooked/undercooked on the inside
  • This batter can be prepared ahead and refrigerated until ready to use; in that case, add the salt, onions, and the herbs just before frying. Also, when you fry cold batter, it'll bring down the temperature of the oil and it might have to be adjusted up between batches of frying
  • If the batter has become too watery in spite of your best efforts, add a couple of tablespoons of rice flour to the batter
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