Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lentil Fritters - Masala Vadai



I believe everyone had a wonderful  Mother's Day. I wanted to post a recipe that I will always associate with my mother today and one that I know she loves too - vadai. Being a diabetic, she rarely indulges in sweetmeat and is more of a snack person. She also happens to be a vegetarian and a very picky eater but one thing she will never be able to resist is deep-fried goodness like these crispy lentil fritters (paruppu vadai) or masala vadai.


This vadai goes by many different names but is often sold as masala vadai at restaurants, probably because the word masala conjures such pleasant images to people. I tried to make these once before, in my early days of cooking, but unfortunately that attempt went bonkers and the vadai fell apart while frying. I did the mistake of not grinding the batter properly. Anyway, I have finished mourning that mishap and have been wanting to give this another try. This time the masala vadai turned out really well and I was told it tasted great too.



We don't normally add garlic to this but I was inspired to try these with garlic after seeing a recipe on Rak's Kitchen for the same. I do add ground garlic to falafel and pakoda and since the garlic adds an immense depth of flavour, especially to fried food, it got me curious. Those of you who do not wish to use garlic could substitute the garlic with a pinch of asafoetida (hing). The green chilies are optional and could be added if you prefer your masala vadai to be really hot.

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow lentils (Toor dhal)
1 onion
1/2-1 tsp fennel seeds (or powder)
1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
3 green chilies (optional)
4-5 garlic cloves
3 sprigs curry leaves
3/4 to 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Oil for frying


Method:
Rinse and wash the lentils in water 4 times or so until the water becomes clear and then soak the yellow lentils for 4 hours. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and the green chilies (if you are adding them). I prefer to cut the curry leaves with a food scissor as well. After 4 hours the lentils should have doubled in size. Drain the lentils. Put away 1/4 of the lentils and grind the remaining with garlic. Alternatively, grind the fennel seeds as well, because they can be a little domineering in flavor as whole. The batter should be ground coarsely with a generous amount of whole lentils. The more whole lentils there are in the vadai, the crunchier the vadai will turn out. So bearing this in mind, don't grind the lentils too much - just enough so as to able to shape them. In a bowl, mix the batter with red chili powder, curry leaves, onion, fennel seeds, salt and green chilies (if you are adding these) and mix/knead well.

Heat the oil needed for frying the vadai. Prepare a plate with tissue or absorbent paper to to drain the excessive oil from the deep-fried vadai and keep aside. Pinch off some batter and shape a small ball out of it and then flatten it out little to resemble a small cookie and carefully place one vadai in the oil. Take care not to splash oil while dropping the vadai into the oil. Also, take care not to drop it from a high altitude so as to avoid splashing hot oil around you. Fry it until it looks crisp on medium heat. Once you have fried the first vadai, taste to check whether the salt level is right. Add some more salt at this stage, if needed, and knead the batter before frying the rest of the vadai. Make sure the oil is really hot when dropping the vadai to get a crispy exterior, then lower the heat to medium so that it gets evenly fried. Serve the vadai warm and crispy with chutney/dip/ketchup or enjoy them just the way they are. Good luck!

20 comments:

Mahi said...

Nice vadai! Perfect teatime snack! :P

I add spinach(or)drumstick leaves with the vadai..if they are not there, curry leaves & cilantro does their job! ;)

notyet100 said...

Luv everything about this post the presentation,write up,and the pics,,,drooling,.and ya happy mothers day,

Ribbon Clown said...

They're my favorite! Am pinning this to my Pinterest's food to make board :D

Amy's piece of cake said...

Mums så gott detta ser ut...vada är så gott men inget jag själv brukar göra. Min mamma däremot gör ofta vada :)

Så bra att din vän köper falooda sev. Be din vän även köpa några färdiga mixpaket av falooda, är jättegott om man inte hinner göra från grunden! :)

mjskit said...

No way would I omit the garlic! I have to admit that I'm not a big lentil soup fan, but I do think I would love these fritters. Let me just say that I haven't found a fritter that I didn't love! These look exceptionally delicious!

RAKS KITCHEN said...

perfect vadas! Looks os tempting lovely pictures

Deeps @ Naughty Curry said...

yum! they look so crisp and delecious..happy mothers day to u :)

Lizzy said...

Your photos are gorgeous...and I know your fritters must have tasted as good as they look. I know your mom loved this treat :)

Only Fish Recipes said...

delicious vadas dear....drooling over the pics ...wonderful presentation!!!

Reva said...

Vadais look perfect... my most favourite tea time munchies..:))
Loved the pics... fantastic..
Reva

Torviewtoronto said...

deliciously done perfect snacks
yes half lankan :) are you too?
I like the lovely presentation
regards

Bharathy said...

This is more a poetry than a recipe post! The pictures caught hold of my eyes! Lovely presentation and recipe! In a short span of time you had developed your blog into a classy space..nice homely picks..ROCK ON..:)

Amy's piece of cake said...

Hej vännen, hur är allt med dig? Hoppas du njuter av det fina vädret. Vi har sol men det är ändå kallt i luften :) Tack för alla dina fina kommentarer på min blogg. Kram!

Javelin Warrior said...

I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It's a pleasure to be following your creations…

Rathai said...

Mahi, I will certainly try with spinach next time as we buy it quite often. Coriander/cilantro is a good substitute to curry leaves, if you like coriander that is.

Bharathy, thanks for your kind words. What a pleasant surprise to see you here. I was completely floored to see your comment. It certainly made my day. :)

Javelin, thank you and it's a pleasure to be featured on your site. :)

Thank you everyone for your comments. I really do appreciate your visits and comments. :)

Anzz said...

Who can say no to that delicious crispy goodness..!! I cannnot.. noway..!

Mahi said...

Helloooo...! Did you forget this place?

:)
;)
:)

Amy said...

Hej vän, hur är allt med dig? Har tänkt på dig och eftersom du inte bloggat så undrar jag om allt är okej med dig? Saknar dig, kram!

Amy's piece of cake said...

Klart jag bryr mig! Har länge tänkt skriva och fråga men du vet hur det är... det kommer något emellan och sedan var jag tvungen att leta upp din bloggadress igen. Har dig på bloglovin men eftersom du inte bloggar så poppar det inte upp något från dig så att säga...

Japp, vegis är jag! Äter du kött eller är du också vegetarian?

Only Fish Recipes said...

hey dear !!!hope everything's well at your end !!!miss ur lovely posts :-(