Masala Vada is a popular South Indian snack which is crispy and crunchy. These vada are prepared with channa dal/Bengal gram and spices. They are spicy and aromatic deep fried snack usually served along with tea/coffee. You can also serve masala vada for lunch/dinner.
In Karnataka, ambode/masala vada is authentically prepared by adding dill leaves. It gives a wonderful flavor to the vadas. It is prepared during any special occasions or festivals. If you do not like dill leaves, substitute it with coriander or mint leaves. Masala vada are common street food of south India and makes a spicy snack to have in the evenings.
1 cup channa dal
1 onion, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
3-4 green chillies
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
½ cup dill leaves, chopped (opt)
1 or 2 spring curry leaves, roughly chopped
Oil for deep frying
- Wash channa dal 2-3 times in water and soak it for 2-3 hours. Drain water completely using a strainer or colander. Keep aside 1 or 2 tbsp channa dal.
- In a mixer jar, add drained channa dal and grind it coarsely without adding water. grind it in two batches and make sure do not grind to fine paste.
- Transfer the ground channa dal into a large bowl. To this add 1 or 2 tbsp channa dal (kept separately), jeera, chopped onions, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, dill leaves (opt) and salt to taste.
- Mix everything well and bring the mixture together. You can add 1 tbsp rice flour if there is moisture in the mixture. Check for salt and other spices. add if required.
- Heat enough oil in a kadai for deep frying on a medium flame.
- Make small balls from the dal mixture and flatten it slightly. Grease your hands with oil to make it easy.
- Slowly drop the vada into the hot oil and fry on medium flame on both the sides till golden brown and crisp. Transfer it to a plate and drain excess oil.
- Repeat the process with the remaining mixture as well. You can add 2-3 vada at a time.
- Serve hot as a snack with coffee/tea or with chutney or plain.
- Soak channa dal for at least 2 hours.
- Do not add water while grinding dal, as it contains moisture in it and we need a coarse mixture.
- If you feel the ground mixture is dry and not able to shape vada, take little mixture and ground again. This will help in binding.
- Add rice flour or gram flour if there is more moisture in the mixture.
- Fennel seeds give an extra aroma and taste to the vada. You can replace ginger with fennel seeds.
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