What will you find in this post?
- Recipe to make the perfectly crispy masala vadai
- Techniques to grind the batter with the correct texture
Masala vadai is one of the most popular tea time snack in South India. Most of the tea stall that is propped in every corner of the city roads will have it in their menu. It is everyone’s favourite but it takes a small technique to know how to get it right. This recipe was taught to me by my dear friend Lavanya. Masala vadai is the South Indian version of falafel. It is made completely with channa dahl and spices. Masala vadai is so dear to me that I try to include them in my pop-up meals. We had our second chai party pop-up with South Indian flavors at Charles Chocolates on 09Apr2016. It was a real honor to partner with them and the pop-up was a great success. If you love chocolates like me, then you must check out their store at Florida Street, SF. We had 36 diners and the dishes were loved by all. We served traditional dishes like masala vadai, paniyarams, vegetable puff, semiya payasam and ladoo along with my favourite gulab jamun cheesecake and masala chai.
Tips and technique to get the correct texture for the masala vadai mixture:
- The key step is to soak the channa dahl for close to 1 hour only. That is the perfec time to get the required mositure
- Once soaked, the excess water should be removed and the soaked dhal should be placed over kitchen towel or tissue that can absorb the moisture. Leave it on for 30 minutes. It air drys.
- Get your spices ready and add them to the mixie grinder or food processor which has a pulse button. We should only pulse the dahl to get the desired texture.
- I use Preethi Mixie and I pulse the mixture thrice. After every pulse, remove the lid and release the lump from the base of your mixir jar so you retain the crumble. Transfer it to a clean vessel. Follow the below recipe to complete making the crispy vadai.
South Indian Masala Vadai Recipe
- 1 cup chana dahl
- Water to soak them
- 1 green chilly
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp asafoetida (perungayam/hing)
- 1 medium size onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 15 curry leaves, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Oil to fry
- 1 Mixie / Grinder or Food Processor
- Soak the chana dahl for 1 hour. Remove excess water and drain all the mositure using a paper towel. Air dry for 30 minutes
- Pulse the dahl with green chilly, fennel seeds and garlic cloves thrice. Follow the instructions mentioned above.
- Heat oil to 375F
- Transfer the dahl mixture (it will look like a crumble) to a bowl and add asafoetida, onions, cilantro, curry leaves and salt to taste. Mix well.
- Remove one small portion and press it tight against your fingers so it holds together. Roll it into a ball. It will fall into pieces but keep gripping together to form an intact ball. Place it on one of your palm and press it to form a flat vadai.
- Deep dry it in the hot oil until brown, takes about 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Serve hot with masala chai or filter kaapi