Masala vada (or vadai) is one of the tastiest fried snacks that is made with lentils and spices. This vegan snack is loved by everyone across all ages, and is an amazing snack along with a cup of steaming chai. This is a popular street food too! A plate of masal vadai and a glass of tea is an iconic street snack across the country.
What ingredients are needed to make these tasty vadas?
This recipe requires just a few of the staple ingredients in any Indian kitchen. The dal and spices are available in any groceries across the world and this helps in enjoying these wherever you are located in this world.
Channa dal - aka chana dal or kadala paruppu. This is the only dal used in this vada. This dal has 13% protein and is also rich in vitamin B-complex.
Garlic - one clove of garlic is used that gives the mild flavor boost.
Fennel - this spice gives the characteristic aroma and flavor to the vadas. Do not skip this. The proportion of this may be adjusted depending on your preference. The given proportion is ideal.
Dried red chili - This adds to the heat in the vadas. This may be adjusted depending on the chili variety used as well as according to the heat tolerance. Kashmiri red chili or Byadigi chili may also be added to give color.
Thai green chili - I add a couple of these for flavor boost. This may be replaced with dried red chilies.
Salt - Adds flavor
Cilantro and Curry leaves - These herbs adds to the aroma and flavor of the vadas.
Turmeric - Immune booster turmeric adds to the color of the vadas.
Asafetida - Aids in digestion
Ginger - adds flavor and aids in digestion
Onion - finely chopped onions add to the flavor, aroma, and texture of the vadas.
Oil - This being a deep fried snack, the recipe requires oil. Neutral flavored oils are best.
What else can be added to these vadas for flavoring?
There are slightly different proportions of dal to spices added to the vada recipe across regions, yet these vadas are addictive in all the variations too. My friend adds cloves to her masal vadai and I love that variation too. One more clove of garlic can also be increased if you prefer a garlicky version.
To what texture should the dals be ground?
Masal vadai has a characteristic texture. The dal is ground to a coarse texture unlike Medhu vada where the urad dal is smoothly ground. A portion of dal is set aside before grinding, which is mixed to the batter later, and then deep fried. This adds to the texture.
What should be the batter consistency?
The batter should be thick. The dal should be drained completely after soaking and while grinding sprinkle about two or three tablespoons of water and grind to a thick and coarse texture.
If the batter is a little wet, shaping will be difficult, they may break while frying, and the vadas may become oily. Add a little rice flour to make the batter thick which should help in shaping the vadas.
The oil should also be hot to get the best results. I always heat a little above medium flame. Test the hotness of the oil by dropping a tiny bit of the batter. If it springs immediately fizzing, then the oil is ready to deep fry. Always take care while deep frying to prevent burns.
How many vadas does this recipe make?
This recipe makes about 16-20 vadas. The count varies depending on the batter portion taken. About one and a half to two tablespoons of batter should be flattened and deep fried.
Can the recipe be multiplied?
Yes! These vadas are crowd pleasing and are ideal to make as appetizers for parties, festive occasions, and get-togethers. Double or triple the recipe easily to make the required quantity.
What to do with leftovers?
Leftovers, if any, are not a problem. These vadas are also great at room temperature and can be a anytime snack. The batter can also be refrigerated for a couple of days to make fresh vadas later. Leftover vadas can be made into this delicious vada curry, perfect to serve with idli or dosa.
Can they be frozen?
Yes! Leftover vadas can be frozen for up to three months. They can be baked in the oven or in the airfryer. Pop them in the air fryer at 370 degrees F for 3 minutes and enjoy the vadas.
If you love this street food, try the following ultimate street food at home.
Channa dal - 1 cup
Salt - ¾ tsp
Dried red chili- 4 to 6
Green Thai chili - 2 to 4
Garlic - 1
Ginger - ½-in. Piece, grated
Turmeric- ⅓ tsp
Asafetida- ¼ tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig, torn
Cilantro - ¼ cup, chopped
Fennel - ⅔ plus ½ tsp