September 16, 2013

Masal Vadai

Have you ever stepped into a road-side tea shop for a cup of tea and ended up having a plateful of hot & crispy masal vadai?! Well, its nothing unusual! When it comes to "tea-kadai" masal vadai, even a "hygiene freak" will think about quitting the club and enjoy the street food! The delicious smell of frying onions, crispy vada with a hot cup of tea, catching up on a hot topic with friends... the best combo ever!!!

Masal vadai is deep-fried channa dal patties which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. This is an extended version of paruppu vadai flavored with fennel seeds & finely chopped onions. Perfect accompaniment for evening 'chai' (or) 'coffee'. Although these small bite-sized beauties are perfectly tempting just by themselves, thick coconut chutney (கெட்டி சட்னி) makes an excellent side, just incase you need one.

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 2 hrs (includes soaking time)
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 25-30 nos

Channa dal - 1 cup (heaped)
Dry red chillies - 2-3 nos
Onion - 1 no (big, finely chopped)
Salt - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 12 - 15 nos
Cilantro - 1/2 tbsp
Oil - for frying

Soak channa dal, dry red chillies, curry leaves in water for 1.5 - 2 hrs.

Crush fennel seeds using a mortar & pestle and set aside until use.

Reserve a tbsp of soaked channa dal and grind rest of the ingredients into thick & coarse batter without adding water.

In a big bowl, mix the ground batter, reserved channa dal, salt, crushed fennel seeds, hing, onion, chopped cilantro and mix well.

Heat oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot & ready, take a tbsp of the batter, roll & flatten it between your palms and carefully drop it into oil. Fry until both the sides are golden brown and remove. Use a kitchen towel to drain excess oil and serve hot!

- Always fry on medium heat.
- Wait for oil to reach the right temperature. To test, drop a small piece of the batter and it should come to the top right away.