Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spicy Dal Vada (Spicy Black Gram Doughnuts)

It is a savoury snack shaped like a doughnut and made from black gram.

  • 2 cups urad dal (split skinned black gram)
  • 2 tbsp rice powder
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fenugreek powder (methi powder)
  • Oil for deep frying vadas

  • Wash the dal well in repeated changes of water until the water is clear. Soak the dal in 6 cups of cold water for 3 hours.
  • Drain the dal completely, and place it in a food processor. Add the asafetida and salt, and process into a thick batter. Transfer the batter to a bowl and whisk the mixture for 3-4 minutes to put air into the batter.
  • Add all ingredients and mix well.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan or wok. When you are ready to fry, mix the baking soda into the batter.
  • Moisten the palm of your left hand. Take a lump of batter and place it on the palm of moistened left hand. Now moisten your other hand with water, and press to flatten the batter into a round patty. Make a hole in the center of the patty. It should resemble a small doughnut.
  • Slip the vada into the hot oil. Repeat quickly, and fry the vada in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding the pan. When they float to the surface, fry them, turning them to ensure even cooking, for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until they are reddish-brown and crisp.
  • Remove and drain them on paper towels.
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney.


  • Use Peanut oil, Sunflower oil or Canola oil. These oils can heat up to higher temperatures without smoking. This is essential for cooking vadas.
  • Fry vadas at the right temperature. Frying at too high temperature burns the batter. In too low temperature the batter soaks up oil and becomes greasy.
  • To check temperature, drop a couple of bits of batter into the oil. At the right temperature, batter sinks a bit, but bobs right up and browns within 45 seconds. If the batter sinks, oil is not hot enough.
  • If the oil smokes, it is too hot. Batter dances on the surface if oil is too hot.
  • Do not overcrowd the oil. Carefully add the batter, leaving lots of space around each piece. Too much food causes oil temperature to drop and makes the food greasy.

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