Masala Vadai

Lentils Vada, Lentil fritters, Dakshin Cookbook,

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For day two of the marathon, I picked toor dal and chana dal as my ingredients and made masala vada from the cookbook Dakshin, Vegetarian Cuisine from South by Chandra Padmanabhan. The ingredients that piqued my interest and attracted me to this recipe are combination of dals used to prepare this vada. Vada is a doughnut shaped or disc shaped lentil fritters, a popular snack and a breakfast item in South India. Growing up, medhu vada, green gram vada aka pesaru garelu and black eyed peas vada aka bobari garelu were more often prepared in my house. And of course corn vada aka makka garelu were made almost 2-3 times a week when corn was in season. Masala vada was a rarity but I have eaten it many times at friends’ places and at mirchi bajji aka long peppers fritters at the food cart near my college. I always assumed that masala vada is prepared with chana dal. When I saw this recipe in the cookbook, I wanted to see how it tasted with 3 different varieties of dals; toor dal, chana dal and urad dal. It did turn out well. I loved it. Mr.U is more of a medhu vada person and I did not even bother to ask him if he wanted eat the vada, as I know the answer would be no.  Masala vada was my breakfast and evening snack yesterday and my breakfast today.  I still have a few pieces left to munch during the day.

Lentils Vada, Lentil fritters, Dakshin Cookbook,

I followed the recipe as given except for a few changes. I did not use asafoetida and instead add some cumin seeds and adjust spice level to my taste.  Vada can be served with some coconut chutney or eaten as it is, which is what I did.

Lentils Vada, Lentil fritters, Dakshin Cookbook,

Source: Dakshin, Vegetarian Cuisine from South by Chandra Padmanabhan
Total Time: 45 minutes (excludes soaking time of the dals)
Preparation: 10 – 15 minutes (excludes soaking time of the dals)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 25 (subjective to the size of the vada)


  • ½ cup Toor Dal ~ Pigeon Peas ~ Red Gram Dal
  • ½ cup Chana Dal ~ Bengal Gram Dal ~ Yellow Split Peas
  • ½ cup Urad Dal (I used husked whole urad dal) ~ Black Gram Dal
  • 1 ¾ tsp. Salt (according to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • ½ Asafoetida Powder
  • 6 Dry Red Chilies
  • 1” Ginger chopped or about ½ tbsp. chopped Ginger
  • 1 small Onion chopped or ½ cup chopped Onion
  • 4 Green Chilies chopped
  • 1 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 8-10 Curry Leaves chopped
  • ½ tsp. Chili Powder (if required)
  • Oil for deep frying


  • Wash and soak all the dals for at least 5-6 hours. I soaked it overnight for about 8 hours.
    Drain all the water and keep aside.
  • In a food processor or a blender grind together the dals, ginger, dry chilies, cumin, half the onion and ½ the green chilies with salt. Add as little water as possible. I added about 40 ml of water. The batter need not be a fine flowing batter. It has to be as thick as possible.
  • Add remaining onions, green chilies, coriander leaves, curry leaves and mix well. Taste the batter a little and adjust the seasoning.
  • Heat oil to deep fry the vadas.
  • Using your palm or on a plastic wrap make vadas. I placed a Ziploc bag on the counter top and made my vadas. Take a small lime size batter into your palm and make ball. Place this on the Ziploc bag and press it into discs using fingers.  Gradually drop the vada into hot oil.
  • Deep fry on medium heat until the vada are golden brown in color, turning around once or twice in between  until the vadas are well cooked. It took about half hour to fry all the vada and I made 3 vadas at a time.

Recipes I posted this day in 2011: Sauteed Shrimp
Recipes this day in 2012: Oats Pulihora

Recipes I posted this month in 2008 , in 2009 , in 2011 and in 2012.
Blogging Marathon: To know more about the various themes and participating bloggers for this marathon, checkout the blogging marathon page on Srivalli’s blog

11 thoughts on “Masala Vadai

  1. Gosh you really know how to eat in rations! and even I won’t mind having the same pattern if these vadas were offered. One thing I realized after blogging, you can make anything with anything..LOL..The experts at home make and twist any ingredient as they like. So I have given up being surprised!..Love that picture, I like how you have out in that cone..:)

  2. Tried this minus the cilantro. Plus 2 extra green chillies (no chilli powder, forgot to add it) and a lot of asofoetida, and lot more curry leaves . Soaked the dals for 18 hours. Was super yummy. Thanks!

    1. Good to hear it turned out good. Vadas taste really good with lot of chilies and herbs. Glad the addition of these made the vada super yummy. Thanks for letting me know, Marienne.

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