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Masala Vadai from a tea shop in Mannargudi : Guest post by Bharath M.

A few days ago, Nandini Ajit, Bharath and me decided to cook up a mega Tambrahm feast for dinner. The menu was: Cucumber Salad Masala Vadai Seppankizhangu Roast Cabbage Koottu Radish arachuvitta Sambar Jeera Rasam Vetthakozhambu Arisi Appalam Banana Chips (from Hot Chips) Curds Rice Semia Payasam O


For the batter:

  • 2 1/2 cups channa dal (soaked in slightly salted water for a good 4-5 hours).
  • 1 teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds).
  • 1/4 inch ginger .
  • 3 cloves garlic .
  • pinch black pepper A generous powder .

For the flavouring mix:.

  • 1/4 inch ginger , finely cut .
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely cut .
  • 2 chillis largish green , finely cut .
  • handful coriander mint A and , coarsely cut .
  • 1 red onion large diced finely (2 if they are small to medium).
  • to taste Salt .
  • pinch red chilli A small powder (if you need the extra kick).

For the frying:.

  • groundnut rice bran . Some oil or oil


  • Drain the water completely from the soaked channa dal.
  • Dunk the, by now slightly soft, dal into a mixer along with the fennel seeds and the rest of batter ingredients.
  • Add a tablespoon of water and start grinding. Initially for about 20 sec and then pulse 3 times for about 5 sec each.
  • The batter by now should be quite coarse and the fennel, garlic, ginger and pepper incorporated. If the batter resembles a gooey paste, then you've gone too far.
  • The ideal batter should have a mix of pulped dal, coarse dal and almost whole dal. Scoop out a bit in your hand - if it feels grainy and stony, then it's perfect.
  • Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and refrigerate for 30 min.
  • Chop all the flavouring mix ingredients according to the instructions above.
  • Remove the batter from the fridge and all the flavour mix, except for the onions and salt. Let this now rest until you are ready to fry them up.
  • 2-3 min before you ready to fry, add the onions and salt and give everything a thorough swirl.
  • Heat the oil and drop a small roundel of the batter to test. If it raises to the top, the temperature is right and you can start.
  • If you are comfortable patting the batter nice and thin, please do so, else shape it into small roundels. The later is much easier if you are doing all of this on your own!.
  • Fry until a nice golden brown.


Serve with either coconut or coarse coriander chutney.