Masala Dal Vada/Lentil Fritters is a popular snack from South India. It is very similar to Falafel. Instead of chickpeas, chana dal is used in this recipe. These fritters are my absolute favorite. If you ever visit Tamil Nadu, you will find this snack being made at every corner of the street. It’s like the Vada Pav of Bombay. Trust me, every street vendor makes it delicious. In fact there are temples down there who even serve this as prasadam ( a religious offering to god. It is normally consumed by worshipers after worship.) without adding onions of course along with Traditional Curd Rice. There is something about eating the prasadam in the temple premise. It always tastes different and somehow even more delicious. Masala Dal Vada is our fixed evening snack whenever we visit our hometown in South India.
There are so many wonderful memories attached to this snack. My grandma used to make it for all the kids in the house as an evening snack. We used to land up eating so much that we would have no space in our stomach for dinner. Her Masala Dal Vadas were truly mouthwatering and world famous in our family. They always turned out perfect. Same goes with my mom as well. She too like grandma make the perfect dal vadas. I have never been a fan of Medu Vada (another famous snack from South India). So whenever my mom made medu vada for the family, she would make a small batch of dal vada for me. I would not even touch the medu vada but finish all the dal vada by myself. Knowing very well that I loved only this vada, she would always make it for all special/festive occasions. All of us at home would gorge on it shamelessly.
Fast forward to today, I still love eating them. In fact, I had ensured that we serve this vegetarian snack in our wedding as well for all our guests. This was also one of the first dishes my MIL made for me. She knows it’s my favorite so always lands up making this snack for me every now and then. Moving to the US has been interesting in many ways, however I miss the pleasure of just sitting back and enjoy meals cooked by my mom/MIL or aunts. Here, since it’s just me and KR, we only have to cook by ourselves and eat it too. That gets quite monotonous and boring sometimes. Now, thankfully due to my blog, I experiment a lot with food and try out new dishes. That is what keeps me going.
Last week, we had our monthly Ladies Social night where the women from our community gathered at a neighbor’s house for some fun and frolic. It was also a potluck party. So we all had to get something. I was sure that I wanted to take something Indian as all the ladies here love Indian food. While thinking of what to cook, I suddenly remembered these dal vadas. It had anyways been many months since I had made them. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Bearing in mind the American palate, I decided to keep the spice levels low so that all could enjoy it. I was positive that all would love this appetizer.
The recipe is super easy. Soak chana dal for 2-3 hours at least. Strain and grind to a coarse paste along with dried red chillies, salt and asafoetida. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add onions and cilantro. Mix it all together. Shape them into small balls and flatten them a bit. Heat oil for frying and fry the balls till they turn golden brown.
These Masala Dal Vada/Lentil Fritters are utterly delicious. I usually enjoy them as is, without any sauce or chutney. They taste just great. The taste enhances with every bite you take!
- 2 cups chana dal
- 4-5 dried red chillies
- Salt as required
- Pinch of asafoetida
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Oil for frying
- Soak chana dal for 2-3 hours at-least. Strain and grind to a coarse paste along with dried red chillies, salt and asafoetida. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add onions and cilantro. Mix it all together. Shape them into small balls and flatten them a bit. Heat oil for frying and fry the balls till they turn golden brown.
- Strain them out in paper towels and serve them hot with green chutney or ketchup.
- You can make the vada without adding onions too.
Masala Dal Vada/Lentil Fritters is an Indian savory dish made with split Bengal gram and spices. Extremely delicious and super easy to make. That evening at the Ladies Social, this dish was an instant hit. Some ladies still did find it hot for their palate, however packed some for their spouses who love hot Indian food. I had made around 40 dal vadas and they were all gone within minutes. Thankfully I had saved some for KR back home. After getting back home, when I told KR that I needed a newspaper as a prop to take pictures of the fritters, he surprised me with the printout of “The Daily Prophet” and I was elated. I loved his idea to use this as a prop. Harry Potter seems to be devouring my Masala Dal Vada/Lentil Fritters as much as I was! 🙂
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