Lentil Fritters (Parippu Vada)


1 cup chana dal (yellow split peas), soaked for at least 4 hours
2 green chillies, finely chopped
3 shallots finely chopped
1 ½ tsp. minced ginger
½ tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. salt
10-12 curry leaves, roughly chopped.
Oil for deep frying


Using a food processor, grind the soaked and drained dal until it resembles a coarse crumb like texture (NOT a paste). In a large bowl, add all the ingredients including the ground dal and combine. Leave this aside for 15-20 minutes (this allows the moisture from the onions, ginger and dal to blend, making it easier to form the vada patties)
To make the vadas, make a ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball) from the mixture and then flatten using the palms of your hand. Heat the oil in a deep pan; it is crucial that the oil is hot enough- the vadas should sizzle as soon as they are dropped in the pan and should take around 2-3 minutes to turn golden brown. I suggest you test one first to ensure the correct temperature of the oil and to be able to check that they are cooked all the way through. Fry in batches of 3-4 (but this will also depend on the size of your pan)
Serve immediately with a chilli sauce or coconut chutney (or banana!)


Parippu vada is essentially a savoury snack that many Keralans enjoy along with their piping hot, afternoon chai. These lentil fritters are crunchy, mildly spicy and somewhat meaty in their texture. (So much so that a close friend of mine who has a dislike for lentils devoured a plateful before realising they were not made from chicken)

For me, vada has childhood memories of travelling by train between Trivandrum and Cochin as we shared out our holiday time between both sets of grandparents. At many points during the journey, chai wallahs and one-man food vendors would parade down the aisle bearing hot sweet tea and snacks, and without fail, Parippu Vada was always available.

In some homes, vada is eaten with a coconut and chilli chutney but growing up, my mum always served them with a spicy tomato sauce. Personally I love them with my tomato & dhal chutney! Totally amazing with a chilli kick at the back! My dad on the other hand eats them alongside a ripe banana (a bite of one and then the other!) which is also common in Kerala. If you enjoy the contrast of sweet and spicy flavours then this is a combination to try.

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Served 2-3


Sunday, June 10, 2012 - 3:32pm


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