Masala Vada is like the country cousin of the more popular Medu Vadas. On the streets of Chennai, that too in the evenings, Medu Vadas are the bestsellers along the streets of Chennai. But the Masala Dal Vadas, have their own charm as well. Known just as “Masal Vadai”, the irresistible smell of golden vadas getting fried and served with chutney can be a magical experience. There is no way you will not succumb to this temptation.
The Dal Vada turns Masala Vada
Along these food streets, and on the beaches, this Vada is a special attraction. How does the Dal Vada become Masala Vada? Well the Dal Vada in itself might sound bland. So the Masala Vada a.k.a Masal Vada has ingredients that add “Masala” to it – are chopped onion, red chilies, grated ginger. You can add finely chopped cabbage also an alternative. Masala Vada comes under the category of “Fried Snacks”. But it is a high protein snack, which with the addition of vegetables like cabbage and onion, cannot be bad for you. Also, restrict you portion size to just two at one go, on a given day and you cannot be way off on the health quotient.
Tips for making the best Masala Dal
Use different dals – Moong (Split Green Gram), Arhar Dal (Split Red Gram), and Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) instead of using Chana Dal only. This will give a great texture
If you are planning to make these Vadas in the morning. It is a good idea to soak the dal in water and keep it in the fridge overnight. More importantly, keeping the soaked dal outside for too long, especially in summers may spoil the Dal and a foul odor might come out of it.
While grinding do not add more than a few drops of water – maximum one teaspoon of water in one go. If in case you end up getting a soggy mixture with an overload of moisture, then you can use a little bit of rice flour or even gram flour to bind the batter together and make it firm.
Add water about thrice the quantity of Dals/ Lentils
Let it soak for two hours.
You can also use boiling water to soak, if you are in a rush to make the Vadas. In that case, you need to soak it only for an hour. Once the lentils are nicely soaked, they are ready for blending.
Before blending, add the red chillies, and the grated ginger to the blending vessel along with the lentils. Remember: Please take a fistful of the soaked Dal and keep it aside.
Now grind the dals in a blender without adding much water. After you initially grind the dals, you will get a powdery consistency. Add a teaspoon of water and blend again.
Making the Masala Vada Batter is slightly painstaking as adding a lot of water will make the batter runny and vadas cannot be formed with proper shape.
Keep mixing the batter inside the blender so that the entire lot blends thoroughly. It is alright to leave it slightly coarse as this would give a nice texture to the Vadas.
Once the batter is ready, take it out on a large bowl.
Add the fennel seeds, asafoetida, salt and the finely chopped onions. Add the fistful of soaked dal that you had kept aside earlier.
Remember, the onions tend to give away water into the batter. So add the onions when you are ready to fry the vadas.
To make the vadas, first heat the oil to fry the vadas. Roughly one third of your kadhai should be full of oil. To check if the oil is heated enough, drop a small part of the batter in the oil. If it rises immediately to the surface, then the oil is hot enough.
Now, take batter about the size of a lemon. Grease your left palm and pat the batter into a round shape. Once the batter is in a round shape, take it in your right hand, hold it lightly with you right hand fingertips and gently lower into the oil. Make sure the flame is at minimum. Be very careful about the hot oil splashing on your fingers. Depending on how much oil is there in the pan, you can add no more than three vadas at a time.
Let the vadas cook for a bit before turning them over with a frying spoon.
Cook well on both sides. You would notice the onions on the surface have gone dark and the vadas have turned golden brown.
Take the vadas out on a filtering pan, or put them on a tissue paper to get rid of the excess oil.
Masala Vadas are now ready! Have them with onion or coconut chutney.
Keyword chennai street food, dal vada, fried snacks, masala dal vada, south Indan dal vada, south Indian masala dal vada