Masala Vadas – Yellow Split Pea Lentil Fritters

Vadas are very popular lentil fritters that are made all over India.  Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, vadas are delicious appetizers and snack time treats.  There are as many vada recipes out there as the various types of lentils.  The basic recipe for vada involves soaking lentils in water for a few hours to soften, and then they are ground into a thick coarse batter to which vegetables and spices are added.  The thick batter is then deep-fried.  Vadas are usually served with a side of chutney like coconut chutney.  For those of you living in the South think of these as hush puppies except these are made with lentils.

Today I would like to share with you this very easy vada recipe from my cousin Uma.  She had made these yellow split pea masala vadas for a lunch gathering and it was outstanding!  Masala vadas translates to vadas with “masala” which means spices and flavor enhancers. What I liked in Uma’s vadas is the delicate flavor of fennel and the added flavors of onions, cilantro, ginger and green chili.  The best part of her recipe is how easy these vadas are to make.  Just soak, grind, and fry. Give it a try for a weekend afternoon snack time treat!

Masala Vadas – Yellow split pea lentil fritters
recipe courtesy of Uma
makes 35 vadas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Yellow split peas
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 green chili deseeded to keep it less spicy finely cut
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • Few curry leaves if you have
  • 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot or 1 small onion finely cut about 1/2 cup
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt

Directions:

  • Rinse yellow split peas.  Place them in a bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of water.  Soak for 3 hours.

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  • After 3 hours drain the lentils saving the water.  Blend the lentils in a food processor with ginger, green chili and fennel seeds into a coarse batter adding a little of the lentil water if needed to blend.

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  • Add the chopped onions, curry leaves and salt to taste.  Get ready to fry the masala vadas.

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  • Heat oil in a pan. Gently drop tablespoon full of batter into the oil.  Fry until golden brown in color about 5 minutes, turning the vadas for even browning. Take out of the oil and drain on a paper towel.

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  • The vadas should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, make sure the inside stuffing is cooked and does not taste raw.  Serve hot with coconut chutney or any hot sauce.

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Happy Vada Eating!

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