What Are They?
Masala means a mixture of spices. Vada is an Indian style fried savoury snack. Think of it as something similar to falafel. Other names for it is vadai, vade, wada and wadeh. Back in Malaysia, I've known it as vadai.
There are various types and shapes of vada and the ingredients are also different. Some are made from lentils, others from potato and mixture of spinach leaves, among other spices and herbs.
By all means this is not the authentic recipe that you find from India. For me, this is as close as it gets to the ones that I've been eating all my life in my homeland country Malaysia.
Usually curry leaves are used in this masala vada but since I don't have so much in the freezer (yep, I freeze my curry leaves) so I thought ok, I will use curry powder instead. Curry leaves bring more of a curry aroma than curry taste but I think curry powder works amazing.
Besides, it also means that you don't really need curry leaves to prepare and enjoy this amazing snack. We make do with what we have.
I'm using yellow lentils as the base for this recipe. I've seen others using red lentils but I'd like to stick to the look of vada that I really connect with since I was a kid. The ones made with yellow lentils.
Making vada is easy, really. It does needs a bit of planning ahead as you need to soak the lentils for 4 hours beforehand. This will soften the lentils and make it easier to blend later.
Talking about blending, I like to blend my lentils to a coarse texture. Some prefer it fine and smooth but I like texture of biting into bits of lentils here and there.
I also like to use lots of onion in this masala vada. Though it doesn't really make any difference but I always like to use red onion to give this vada some color.
Talking about color, adding fresh chili, coriander leaves and chili flakes really give it wonderful colors.
Shaping And Frying
What I learnt is don't make it too thick as it wouldn't be cook through in the center when you fry it. What you want to do is first make a ball and then flatten it to 2 cm, not more.
Then simply fry on medium heat until golden brown. We want the center to be cooked through so be patience.
This Masala Vada is best served warm or even hot (be careful though). Some people like to dip it in ketchup but I just love it as it is. Enjoy!
More Finger Food Recipes
- Malaysian savoury pancake bites
- Shrimp pot stickers
- Japanese curry buns
- Crispy beef spring rolls
- Baked chicken curry puffs
Lentil Fritters (Masala Vada)
- 1 cup yellow lentils (200 gr)
- 1 red onion , diced
- 1 red chili , chopped
- ½ cup chopped coriander leaves (15 gr)
- ¾ teaspoon salt , or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Soak the lentils in water for 4 hours until soften and then drain the water.
- Put the lentils in a food processor and blend into a semi coarse mixture. Pour the mixture into a bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Take some of the mixture and make it into a ball. Then flatten it into a disk. Place on a baking tray with a baking sheet. Repeat until you finish all the mixture.
- Heat a pan with abundance of oil on medium heat. Fry the disks in small batches until golden brown. Remove and place them on a kitchen paper to absorb the oil. Serve warm, enjoy!
Valerie Maltese says
What type of dipping sauce would compliment these? Thanks in advance.
Bea & Marco says
Hi Valerie! In our house, we just eat them as they are. But if you like, you could dip them in yogurt mint sauce, it works great! Hope it helps!
Will this recipe work with other lentils? Red, green? Or even yellow split peas? I ask bc I haven’t been able to find yellow lentils in store
I haven't tried with red or green lentils, sorry though! But I've used split yellow ones (peas) and they worked great. Hope it helps!
Thanks, they are delicious. I just had problems making balls, they fell apart. Any idea how to solve this?
Hi Maaike! Sorry to hear about that. Perhaps all the ingredients were too coarse, that's why they couldn't "stick" to each other. Try blending the lentils finer and chopping the other ingredients finer/smaller. I think that will help. I'm happy that you liked them though, thank you!
They look yummy !! Have you baked them or air fried them ? If so can you share temp and time.
Recently I tried baking them. Temperature was 425ºF (220ºC), upper 2/3 rack for 20-25 minutes. I sprayed with some oil and flipped them during half baking time. Not the same result as frying but hey, it was still yum! Hope it helps!
Can i freeze it b4 fryin for l
Diana G says
Can't wait to try! But essentially, the lentils aren't cooked, right? Don't the need to be boiled too? Is it ok to eat them raw?
They're cooked when they're fried. If you have issues with raw lentils then I'd suggest you boil them first, just to be safe. Hope it helps.
Hello Bea, really looking forward trying this recipe. If you use curry leaves , how much would you put and would you grind them beforehand ? Thank you.
Hi Mims! I'd use around 20- 25 curry leaves and just chop them. Hope it helps.
Thank you Nic!
Ana Badar says
I have to tell you that these fritters are so delicious. Only item I added was curry leaves. SO GOOD!
Thanks for sharing!
Ah yes, adding curry leaves is just great. They're difficult to find in my city that's why I didn't put them. Thank you so much Ana!
Govinda Nelson says
Thank you! I used more chilli flakes because we like spicy food. Delicious!
Great recipe! I’ve tried and me and my family loved it!!! Thanks for sharing this easy recipe!
Thank you Mike! I'm glad to know that. Have a great day!
sheenam | thetwincookingproject.net says
Love daal vadas!! These fritters look amazing. Trying this recipe super soon.
Thank you! Yes they're easy and delish! 😉