Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sweet pepper Masala vadai/chickpeas patties

For a long while, now, I have been feeling like spending some time in India during the monsoons. I must say that, while growing up, it was one of my favourite times of the year. School was closed due to the torrential rain. Unlike the summer holidays when it was too hot, sticky and uncomfortable, this was lot cooler time of the year. Despite the rain, we would spend hours on end making paper boats and racing them against each other. Also, it was the perfect time to open up new books to read or play board games like ludo, pallangkuzhi/mancala with the whole family. But, best of all were those fantastic snacks that Mum, aunts and grand-mums seemingly whipped up quickly with a hot cup of tea (or hot-chocolate for children). The king of those snacks that included bread bondas, methu vadai, bajjis, samosas, vegetable puffs and pakodas is the masala vadai. It is crispy with a not-so smooth texture and spicy and that made it totally irresistible. The original masala vadai is a very popular snack in all of South India and has many variations in name and recipes. But one thing that all recipes have in common is that the patties are made with chickpeas lentils (not flour)/channa dal/kadala paruppu and onions. Of course, now that I am a Mum, I use this delicious snack to include veggies that Anjalie usually does not care much for, like spinach or other greens like kale, sweet peppers and aubergine. I guess, this sort of little manipulation skills come with the territory :) When using spinach it will be called "keerai vadai" which again is a common snack in Tamil Nadu and it is just as delicious. It is an easy to make snack and the only long time involved is in soaking the dal/lentils. Another change I make to the original recipe is that I add a little bit of Toor dal (pigeon peas) to this just for the better protein and amino acids content and lighter taste. But you can simply replace it with more channa dal to stick to the original recipe.

You will need:
1/2 cup Channa dal/kadala paruppu/split chickpeas
1/4 cup Toor dal/Tuvaram paruppu/split pigeon peas
2 fresh green chillies - chopped finely (for adults only)
2-3 dried Red chillies/ 1 tsp chilli flakes
3 Garlic cloves
1 inch Ginger
1 tbsp fennel seeds/sombhu
Salt- as needed

1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 shallot -finely chopped
1/2 yellow/red and 1/2 green sweet peppers/kudai milagai chopped fine.
1 pinch Hing/perungayam/asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 Curry leaves
3 tbsps coriander leaves chopped fine.

Wash and soak the dals for 2-3 hrs.

Just coarsely pulse garlic, red chillies/flakes, ginger and fennel seeds. Drain and add the soaked dals and grind into a coarse paste without adding water. If you really must add water, sprinkle as little as possible.

In a mixing bowl. Add the chopped veggies, shallots, coriander leaves, curry leaves...
ground dals, turmeric powder, salt, garam masala, green chillies (if using) and asafoetida and mix well. I usually, fry Anjalie's share and then add the finely chopped chillies to teh dough for us adults*.

Make small patties out of this dough. Remember to be very gentle with the patties since they are not exactly "dough-y" and can fall apart easily. If having difficulty with patties holding shape, you can add a tbsp or so of besan/chickpeas flour and mix well.
Heat oil in a pan to medium for frying. Gently drop the patties in batches and fry until golden brown.

Gently turn them over and fry the next side to golden brown. Take them out and drain on a kitchen towel.

Do the same until all the "dough" is done. Serve warm with chutney of choice. They make excellent sandwich filling with tamarind chutney or yoghurt raita. They can be frozen and then reheated in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (fan assisted) to maintain crispy-ness.

Note: If making non-spicy version for children, and then adding the chillies for adults, finish frying all the non-spicy vadais before frying the spicy ones. 


  1. Sorry for the late visit Jay:)..had handsful with children around...

    I cant see your pictures :(..including the banner one! or is it just for me! ???

    ...regarding the salt and the beans :))) yeah have cooked in salt water but you are right, I left out to mention to check and add salt towards the final stage :))) Hugs for pointing it out in a very very sweet way ( but why the deletion??? are one of my favourite readers who can say anything/time/place to me!! :)))...will make a note rightaway...and pls have a check on your images...

    1. Thanks, Bharathy! Somehow, the pics folder got deleted. Now I am slowly getting around to fixing them all over one by one. So, please, bear with me and thanks for pointing it out. Hugs!


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