Go Back

South Indian Masala Vadai Recipe

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.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10


  • 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