This weekend Mumbai is deluged by severe rains and Friday was the first of Mumbai’s “stay-at-home-because-of-rains” days that are a norm during Monsoon. The weather is such that it calls for deep-fried goodies such as Onion Pakodas, Batata Vadas, and Samosas with a piping cup of Adrakwali Chai or Ginger Tea or then a tumbler of Filter Kaapi.
Much as I avoid deep-fried dishes, I gave it on Friday and made the traditional South Indian Masala Vada (aka Paruppu Vada, Senaga Pappu Garelu, or Chana Dal Vada). Some of the best Masala Vadas I have had are from street-food vendors. Renigunta Station, which is a stop on the train journey from Mumbai to Chennai is especially famous for its Dal Vadas.
The best part about Masala Vadas is that they get done quickly and need minimal preparation. I decided at lunch that I will make Masala Vadas at tea and soaked Chana Dal for about 3 hrs. Also, you will find all ingredients at home easily.
How to Make Masala Vada | Paruppu Vadai | Dal Vada | Senaga Pappu Garelu
Soaking Time: 3 Hours
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
- Chana Dal or Senaga Pappu – 1/2 Cup
- Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
- Onion – 1 Small
- Green Chillies – 2
- Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
- Fresh Coriander Leaves – A Handful
- Oil – 1 Cup for Deep Frying
- Salt to Taste
Soaking the Dal:
- Wash and soak the Chana Dal in 1.5 cups of water for 2 to 3 hours.
- Drain all the water.
- Let the soaked dal remain in the colander for about 15-30 minutes so that all the water is drained from the dal.
Preparing the Other Ingredients:
- Peel and chop the onion to fine pieces.
- Chop the green chillies, curry leaves and coriander leaves to fine pieces.
Making the Batter:
- Keep aside 1 tbsp of the dal.
- Grind the soaked dal to a coarse paste. Avoid adding any water.
- Mix together the ground dal paste, 1 tbsp soaked dal, onion pieces, chilli powder, green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves, and salt.
Making the Dal Vadas:
- Divide the batter into 6 portions.
- Roll each portion into a ball.
- Pat into a 1/2″ patty.
- On a high flame, heat 1 cup oil.
- To test the heat of the oil, drop a small ball of batter into the oil. It should rise to the surface of the oil immediately and start to fry there.
- Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium.
- Wait for 30 seconds.
- Add the raw Masala Vadas to the oil. Ensure that there is enough space between the vadas.
- Let the vadas fry for at least 2 minutes. Do not increase the heat. If you do the vadas will remain uncooked on the inside.
- Flip over the vadas and let the vadas fry for 1-2 minutes till the vada is golden brown all over.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the vadas from the oil and place on kitchen tissue paper.
- Before adding the next batch of vadas, turn the flame to high for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Turn the heat down to medium and fry the next batch of vadas.
- Serve the Masala Vadas hot.
- Avoid adding water to the chana dal when grinding. If your batter has too much water, the vada will disintegrate when you start to fry it.
- Keep the paste coarse.
- Do fry the vadas in medium heat, otheriwse they will brown on the surface but the insides will remain raw.
- You could add about 1 tsp of rice flour to the batter to get crisper vadas.