Paruppu vadai/Masala vadai/Dal vadai

masal vadai

Vadai or Vada is a patty that is deep-fried. Paruppu is the Tamil name for pulses. Paruppu vadai is generally a fried patty made from chana dal or split chickpeas. It is a very popular and traditional Tamil snack made during feasts and festivals.

But these days it has gained more popularity as street food. Better known as masala vadai people throng the roadside carts to have these with their 11 AM tea 😀  .

The flavors tempt you so much that you just cannot pass without tasting it. Though I tended to avoid as much as possible, once a while I did yield into my temptation.

In Tamil houses, vada-payasam means there is some celebration or a small event. Vadai and payasam or kheer find their place in all celebrations, that the very mention brings a small joy in your heart 🙂  .

You can find this vadai in house-warming ceremonies & marriages. These are also served at restaurants with coconut chutney which make up a very good combo though they can be had as such.

These are very easy to make at home. Soak the dal, grind with the spices, and fry – as simple as that. There are a lot of variations too, like the keerai vadai where greens are added.

Falafel is the Middle Eastern cousin of the paruppu vadai. The split chana dal is replaced with whole white ones or the garbanzo beans. The addition of Middle Eastern flavors makes it a completely new dish, very different from our vadai.

In our house, the medu vadai or the vada made with urad dal is more loved so I tend to make that more than this one.

Except for the fact that it’s deep-fried, vadai is generally a healthy snack. You can opt to air-fry or even bake if you are very health-conscious. But I prefer to deep-fry as it is only made once in a way.

Do try making this and I bet you will fall in love with the flavors as much as we are.

Over to the recipe…

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Paruppu vadai
Paruppu vadai is a deep-fried lentil fritter very popular in South India
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Soaking time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Snack, Street food
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: Masala vadai, Tea kadai masala vadai
Servings: 15 nos
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 1 cup chana dal (split chickpeas)
  • 1 medium-sized big onion
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • a few curry leaves
  • a few coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • tsp asafoetida/perungayam/hing
  • a handful roasted gram dal(optional)
  • salt as needed
  • ½ tsp red chilly powder(if needed)
  • water for grinding(as needed)
  • oil for deep-frying (as needed)
  • Soak the chana dal for 2 hours in sufficient quantity of water.
    Paruppu vadai step 1
  • Roughly pulse the ingredients from chillies to asafoetida in the list above.
  • Add the soaked chana dal and roasted gram dal and grind to a coarse mix adding very little water.
    Paruppu vadai preparation step 3
  • Add the finely chopped onions and give it a quick pulse.
  • Transfer this ground mix to a container and add salt as needed.
    Paruppu vadai preparation step 4
  • Heat up a sufficient quantity of oil in a frying pan on medium flame.
    Paruppu vadai preparation step 5
  • Make small flattened balls of the ground dal and drop them into the oil. Remove when they are cooked and become brown on both sides.
    Paruppu vadai preparation step 6
  • Serve with coconut chutney, tea, or even variety rice.

Hema’s P.S

  • I have used my food processor to grind. You can use the regular mixer or even the wet grinder. But see that it is coarsely ground.
  • Some people add a few cloves of garlic too. You can if you want to, I have not added in this recipe.
  • A handful of roasted chana dal(Potukadalai) gives a very nice flavor when frying.
  • You can also opt to just grind the dal and add chopped onions, chillies, and ginger. I prefer to mince them.
  • Spices can be added as per preference. I have added a bit of red chilly powder too as my chillies were not spicy.
  • The number of vadas will vary depending on the size you prefer it to be.


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