Masala vada recipe or chana dal vada – A popular South Indian tea time snack and a street food made using skinned split bengal gram i.e chana dal. Masala meaning a mixture of spices are added to the coarsely ground chana dal mixture to make these crispy and flavorful vadai. If you are looking for a street style masala vada, then this recipe may be for you. Absolutely flavorful, delicious and crispy !
Masala vada is prepared during festivals in most South Indian homes. It is usually served alone with tea or with a chutney as a snack. It can also be served as a part of festive meal. I made these for a special family occasion few weeks ago. Sheera, beetroot halwa, mixed veg kurma, masala vada Coconut rice, and coconut mint chutney were part of our meal.
Masala vada from the street stalls are very flavorful due to the addition of mint and coarsely crushed spices, especially cinnamon adds a unique aroma to these. This recipe yields chana dal vada that comes very close to the ones served in south Indian street stalls and restaurants.
South Indian masala vada recipe
Masala vada recipe | Chana dal vada recipe | Crispy masala vadai
Masala vada or chana dal vada is a popular lentil snack from south Indian cuisine. They are made using bengal gram, spices and herbs. It is a street food and is also made in most homes. Masala vada is served with a chutney.
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
Ingredients for masala vada
- 1 cup chana dal or bengal gram (or senaga pappu)
- salt as needed
- 1 inch cinnamon or dalchini
- 1 to 2 red chili
- ¾ tsp jeera or cumin
- ¾ tsp saunf or fennel seeds
- 1 onion chopped (medium sized)
- handful pudina or mint
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 ¼ tsp ginger garlic paste (equal proportion)
- 1 to 2 green chilies chopped
- 1 pinch Turmeric or haldi
- oil for deep frying
How to make the recipe
Preparation for masala vada
Soak washed chana dal in good amount of water for 1½ hours. Drain completely to a colander.
- Powder cinnamon, red chili, jeera and saunf coarsely. Set this aside along with 2 tbsp. dal.
- Pulse soaked dal, salt coarsely, transfer to a bowl.
Add mint, curry leaves, onion, masala powder, green chilies and ginger garlic paste. Mix everything well.
The mixture must have a good binding to shape them to vadas. If the mixture doesn't bind well, take a handful of this mixture and blend to a smooth paste. Mix that with the rest of the dough.
How to make masala vada
- Heat oil in a deep pan.
Divide the dough to 10 parts. Make small balls and flatten them on your palm. You can also make these on a greased plastic sheet or dry cloth.
Check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion to the oil. The dough must rise without browning quickly.
Drop masala vada gently in hot oil. Do not disturb them immediately otherwise they will break.
- Deep fry until golden on both sides.
- Transfer to a kitchen tissue.
Serve masala vada hot with chutney or ketchup.
Preparation for masala vada recipe
1. Wash chana dal several times until water runs clear. Soak it in water for 1 ½ hours. Drain off and set aside. Make sure there is no water in the dal.
2. Add jeera/cumin, saunf (fennel seeds), red chili and cinnamon stick to a blender jar. An inch long cinnamon is good enough i used ceylon cinnamon so used more.
3. Make a slightly coarse powder. Set it aside.
4. Set aside 2 tbsp dal along with spice powder. To the same jar add drained dal, salt and pulse it several times to get a coarse mixture. We also need to have few lentils intact to get the right texture. So pulsing it does the job.
5. To a bowl, add ground dal mixture, chopped onion, chopped pudina/mint and curry leaves, chopped green chilli, chopped onion, ground masala, dal that was set aside and ginger garlic paste.
6. Mix together all the ingredients to get a well binding mixture. To check, take a small portion of the dough and shape to a vada. The mixture should hold shape well and not fall apart. If it does not bind well, then take only a small portion of this mixture and blend again and then put back to the bowl and mix to check.
7. The easiest way to shape these chana dal vada is to take a small portion of the mixture, make it to a ball. Place it on the left palm, flatten it, then reverse it on the fingers of right hand and drop in hot oil. Beginners can make these on a foil or cling wrap or on a moist cloth too.
How to make masala vada
8. Heat oil in a pan till hot enough and drop the vadas one after the other. To test if the oil is hot, drop a small portion of the dough. It raises if the oil is hot enough.
9. Fry until golden on both the sides. Drain them on a kitchen tissue.
Serve masala vada with sauce or chutney.