Masal Vadai

Masala Vadai or Masal Vada or Paruppu Vadai is a deep fried side dish or snack item famous all over Tamil Nadu. These vadais are made from soaked chana dal, ground to a coarse batter and deep fried in oil after adding with onions, green chillies, coriander, curry leaves and other spices.

Masal Vadai

Masal Vadai

You walk by any tea shop anywhere in Tamil Nadu, you just can’t stop the aroma of the masala vadai invading your nose and inviting you to have one. These vadas are my family’s favorite. When made, they just keep on munching it throughout the day or to have it as a accompaniment during lunch.

Health benefits

Chana dal or split bengal gram is very nutritious, high in fiber and easily digestible. This dal is a source of minerals like calcium, folate and zinc. Due to its low hypoglycemic index, it is considered good for those suffering from diabetes.


Chana Dal or Kadalai Paruppu – 1 cup
Sombu or Saunf – 11/2 tsp
Garlic – 10 to 12 cloves
Onion – 1 big sized (finely chopped)
Green chillies – 4 to 5 depending on your taste buds (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves – ¼ of a bunch (finely chopped)
Curry leaves – a handful (finely chopped)
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste


Preparation time – 1.5 hrs soaking time + 5 mins
Cooking time – 25 mins
Total time – 1.75 hrs
Makes around 25 vadas

  1. Wash and soak chana dal for 1.5 hrs.
  2. Finely chop onion, green chillies, coriander, and curry leaves.
  3. Drain the water completely and grind the dal coarsely adding salt, sombu and garlic in a mixie jar. Do not add water at all while grinding. The water in the soaked dal will aid grinding.
  4. Transfer the coarse mixture to a bowl. Add in the finely chopped ingredients and mix well. Check for salt and add more, if required.
  5. Make lemon sized balls out of the mixture and flatten them into circle of medium thickness using your palms.
  6. Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry the patted mixture to golden brown turning over both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Aroma of crispy and crunchy vadas would fill your house. Enjoy these vadas as a snack or as a side dish with sambar or rasam rice. My family loves it as an accompaniment with breakfast too.

Masal Vadai

Masal Vadai

Additional Notes

  1. To check if the dal is ready to be ground, take one and press it using your index finger and thumb, it should break.
  2. If the mixture is too dry while grinding, sprinkle a teaspoon or two of water.
  3. You can reserve one tablespoon of soaked dal without grinding and add it while combining everything.
  4. To shape into vadas, place the ball on your left palm and press and flatten the ball using your right palm.
  5. If the batter consistency is a bit loose or watery, add in a little besan or kadalai maavu to make the batter coarse and crumbly.
  6. If the vadas do not hold shape, add one or two tablespoons of water and pulse it in a mixie jar for 2 secs.