Masala Vada or Paruppu Vada recipe with video and stepwise photos. Masala Vada is deep-fried, crispy & crunchy lentil fritters that make a great tea time snack, usually served along with hot Masala Chai. Masaal vada is very popular across South India and almost all tea shops sell this masala vada too as they both make a great combo.
This masala vada is known by several names across India as masaal vadai, tea kadai masaal vada, paruppu vada, aama vada, kadala paruppu vadai and chana dal vada or simply as dal vada.
Apart from the soaking time it takes to soak the chana dal, this masala vada takes very little time to cook and serve.
It is like how Tea & biscuits for a lot of people, it is tea and masala vada for South Indians especially.
Table of Contents:
About Masala vada
This paruppu vadai or fritters are made by first soaking chana dal.
Next, some spices are ground to which the drained chana dal is added, which in turn is ground to a coarse paste.
To this paste, onions, herbs, and salt are added and mixed, which are then shaped into patties and deep-fried to golden brown and crisp vadas that are served hot.
In general, masala vada is crisp and crunchy on the outside and a bit soft at the centre.
Dal: We use chana dal also called kadalai paruppu in Tamil to make this vada. Using fresh dal will ensure good water absorption, resulting in crispy vadas.
Veggies: In general only onions, curry leaves and coriander leaves are used to make masala vada. But you can also use grated carrots or cabbage to make it more colourful & crunchy.
Spice paste: We need to make a coarse paste of fennel seeds, garlic, ginger and whole dry red chillies without adding any water which gives the flavour and heat to these vadas.
To make masala vada,
Rinse & soak chana dal in water for 3 hours and drain completely of water before using. Remove 2 tablespoon chana dal and set it aside to use later.
Take the ingredients for the paste in a mixer jar - garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and whole dry red chillies.
Grind to a coarse paste without adding water.
Add drained chana dal to the mixie jar in batches.
Once again, grind to a coarse paste and transfer to a bowl.
To the ground dal paste, add onions, curry leaves, coriander, 2 tablespoon chana dal and salt.
Mix well to combine and, taking a small portion of the paste, make lemon sized balls.
Press each ball between palms to make it into a patty and arrange it on a plate.
Heat oil in a pan and deep-fry the vadas to golden brown & crisp. Serve this masala vada hot with masala chai.
The dal paste should be thick and not loose or watery. This texture helps to shape the vadas properly, and it will also not drink oil when deep-frying.
Make sure to soak the dal for the required time so that they can be ground well without having to add extra water while grinding.
Do not add water while grinding. The texture of the ground paste is important to get perfect textured masala vada.
If the ground dal paste seems loose, then you can refrigerate it for 30 mins before shaping them, or you can either add rice flour to thicken it & deep-fry them immediately.
After adding onions and salt to the dal dough, deep-fry the vadas immediately. The salt will make the onions let out water, making the dal dough become loose and watery.
Make sure to keep the flame at medium and even while deep-frying to ensure even cooking of the vadas.
This recipe is
- High Fibre
- High Protein
- Nut Free
FAQ's on Masala Vada
Instead of using only chana dal, you can use a combination of tur dal, moong dal and chana dal as well.
If you do not like to add cumin powder at the end, you can add a few mint leaves along with curry leaves before deep-frying, which will a good flavour.
You can add sambar onions or shallots in place of regular onions.
Pat slightly larger vadas that are thin on a damp cloth to make removing them to deep-fry easier.
Make sure to deep-fry these vadas the second time over a low flame to make them crisp.
You can also sprinkle some roasted sooji (rava) or cornflour into the dal mixture to make them super crispy.
This masala vada does not need any accompaniment like coconut chutney or ketchup. They taste great on their own. It is usually eaten while sipping on hot masala chai for an evening snack.
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Masala Vada - Paruppu Vada
- ½ cup Chana dal or kadalai paruppu
- ⅓ cup Onions finely chopped
- 1 sprig Curry leaves torn roughly
- 2 tablespoon Coriander leaves finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- Cumin powder optional
- 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 5 Garlic
- 4 Whole dry red chillies
- ½ inch Ginger
- Take chana dal in a bowl. Add water and rinse it 2 to 3 times.
- Add 3 cups of water. Cover the bowl and let it soak for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, tip the contents into a colander and set aside for the water to drain completely. Discard the water.
- Take 2 tablespoon of the soaked chana dal and set it aside, which will be added later.
Grind spice paste
- Take a mixie jar and add fennel seeds, garlic, dry red chillies and ginger.
- Pulse and grind to a coarse paste without adding water.
Make dal paste
- To this paste, add half of the drained chana dal, and mix well with a spoon.
- Grind to a coarse paste by pulsing the mixer jar at regular intervals without adding water, and transfer to a bowl.
- Add the remaining soaked chana dal to the same mixie jar and grind to an almost smooth paste without adding water. Transfer to the same bowl.
Shape the vada
- To the ground chana dal paste, add onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt, and 2 tablespoon of chana dal that we had set aside in the beginning.
- Mix well to combine into a pliable dough with your fingertips.
- Take a small portion from the dough and shape it into lemon sized balls.
- Flatten into a patty by pressing the ball between your palms and shaping them, so there are no cracks around the edges.
- Arrange all the shaped vadas on a plate for deep-frying.
Deep-fry masala vada
- Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Let it become hot. Drop a pinch of the dal dough into the oil and if it rises immediately to the top, then the temperature of the oil is ready for deep-frying.
- Drop 2 to 3 vadas gently into the oil and wait for a few seconds.
- Turn them gently with a ladle so that they can get cooked well on both sides.
- Fry till the vadas turn golden brown and become crisp. Drain onto a plate.
Serve the vadas
- After all the vadas are fried, sprinkle a little cumin powder on top and toss it well so that it coats all the vada. This step is optional, but it smells great just like the ones in tea shops and is appetizing & good for digestion too.
- Serve these masala vada hot with a glass of masala tea.
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