Masala vada is a South-Indian dish that goes great with tea.
Here are the ingredients,
- Channa Dal – 1 cup
- Half of an onion – cubed
- Chopped curry leaves
- 4-5 soaked dried red chillies
- Chopped cilantro
- 2 inch slice of Ginger, cubed finely
- 1/4 tbsp of Hing/Asafoetida
- Oil to cook
- Salt to taste
Soak the channa dal in water for about 6 hours. Channa dal absorbs all of the water that you add for soaking, so keep adding a bit once all the water has been absorbed.
Soak the dried red chillies in a bowl of warm water for about an hour. Take them out by squeezing all of the water out of them.
Coarsely grind the soaked channa dal, red chillies, with salt. To that mixture, add the onions, cilantro, curry leaves, asafoetida/hing, and 2 tablespoons of channa dal. The purpose of adding the 2 tablespoons of channa dal is that they end up as crunchy bites in the final product. Adding a bit of semolina powder (about 2 tablespoons) makes the vada crispy.
I used a cast iron pan to fry the vada. Fill it up to about 2 inches with oil. I used vegetable oil for frying. Make sure that the oil is not too hot, the key is moderation. Keep the stove on medium heat. As a test case, drop a small bit of the dough into the oil, the dough should rise up through the oil and float to the surface.
I take a small ball of the dough and flatten it in my palm and drop it into the oil.
Cook one side for about 2-3 minutes and flip it. The vada is done when both sides look golden brown.
Once both the sides are done, take them out of the oil and put them in a plate with some kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.
The vada is a staple with tea, but it can be had with almost any meal.