Snacks Zephyr's Corner

Dal Vada/Masal Vadai/Masala Vada – an anytime snack

It is popularly called Masal vadai, not masala, but masal. It is the same with masala dosa too. But for comprehension, we will call it masala vada or dal vada. This has become as popular or even more popular than urad dal vada or medu vada (soft vada), as it can be enjoyed cold also, while the medu vada is best eaten hot, with steaming sambar and coconut chutney.

We make a version of this vada which is called Aama vadai or paruppu vadai (dal vada, in Tamil!) for festivals as naivedyam. We mix three dals to make this. The proportion of the dals might vary slightly from recipe to recipe, and I am sharing my recipe, which I make it in our home. (See notes at the end for more details). There are no onions or saunf in this version. I will share the recipes of both dal vada here and aama vadai here.

This vada is easy to make as it easy to shape and fry. And it doesn’t need any special expertise to make. It makes a great starter or an anytime-snack.

Ingredients for dal vada:

Chana Dal             250 gms (2 cups)

Red chillies            1

Green chillies         2 small, chopped fine

Onion (big) chopped fine   1

Ginger                     1” piece (chopped)

Curry leaves           10-15

Chopped coriander leaves 2 tbsp

Hing                       ½ tsp

Saunf                     1 ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Oil to fry

Ingredients for Dal Vada


  • Wash and soak chana dal in water for about 2 hours
  • Leave in a colander till the water drains out completely.
  • Keep two tbsp dal aside and put the rest in the blender, add the red chilli and ginger, and pulse to a coarse paste, without adding any water. Once ground, add the dal kept aside and pulse once or twice, taking care not to grind it fully. The unground chana dal will give the vada some bite.
  • Take the ground mixture in a bowl, add the chopped onion, green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves, salt, saunf and hing. Add 1 tbsp of hot oil and mix it well.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and once hot, reduce the flame to medium.
  • Shape the mixture into vadas on your palm and drop gently into the hot oil. Don’t make them more than about 1/2 to 3/4” thick, as it will not become crisp if too thick. Let it cook well and turn golden and crisp. It will take a little while, but don’t increase the heat, else, the insides will remain uncooked.
  • Once done, remove from the oil and drain on a kitchen towel. The vadas are soft from the inside and crisp on the outside.
  • Serve the hot vadas with coconut chutney, or any other chutney of your choice. It can be eaten without any accompaniment too.
  • The vadas will keep at room temperature for a day, but it is best eaten hot, for that crunchy bite.
No-onion dal vada, crispy lentil fritters
Golden Crispy Dal Vada

No-onion Aama Vadai for naivedyam:


Chana dal                          1 cup

Tur Dal                              ½ cup

Urad dal                            ½ cup

Green chillies                     2 or 3

Curry leaves                      10-15

Corinader leaves chopped  2 tbsp

Ginger                               1” piece

Hing                                  ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Oil to fry


Wash and soak the dals for about 2 hours or till well soaked.

Grind green chillies and ginger along with the dals into a coarse paste.

Add salt, hing, coriander and curry leaves. Mix well.

Shape into small vadas and deep fry on medium heat till golden brown. This won’t be as crisp as the dal vada.

Notes and tips:

  • You can add two cloves of garlic, finely minced, in the dal vada mixture if you like. I have not added it.
  • The proportion of dals varies from family to family. Some people add half and half of chana and tur dal even for the masal vada. But chana dal by itself has a great flavour and so I don’t add tur dal.
  • In both the versions of the vadai, you can add finely chopped cabbage for the extra crispiness, if you don’t eat onions. We don’t add any vegetable while making for naivedyam.
  • To make ‘cocktail vadas’ that are served as starters in star hotels, you can add 1-2 tbsp of melted butter to the mixture in the first recipe and shape them into small, bite-sized vadas.


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