Masala Vadai

Masala Vadai

‘Ding! Ding! Ding!’ as a youngster in Malaysia, towards the early evening I would be so happy and excited to hear the ‘roti man’ bell a ringing. This means I can get either one or the other snacks which I simply love. Carefree days.

First I will check for Masala vadai which is not often available as always sold out! Then the second thing I would have, would be the ice cream roti aka ice cream in sweet soft Asian bread.

Recently a friend of mine have bought me some very nice masala vadai and hubby and I were unashamedly gorging on them. It has been a long, long time since we have last eaten. I wanted to ask my friend to help me buy some more but hubby said he preferred to eat mine.

Luckily while tidying our Harry Potter’s room I found a 500g packet of Chana dal! It also so happened that tomorrow is Deepavali so I decided to make Masala Vadai today. As quite a few people have asked for recipe, I am typing it out.

However it is not the recipe that matters most but the TIPs. So here’s are the few TIPs from my experiences.

TIP – Nice vadais are those that is not too finely blended. So do not grind your Chana dal too finely. Hence I always saved a bit unground, grind half roughly and grind the other half finer.

TIP – I love my food to be colourful as they look so much better ascetically. So add in your red chilli, green chilli and curry leaves. You can also add some mint. Just roughly chop them.

TIP – Your mixture should bind together, not tightly but just hanging on. This is because of the minced onions that has a bit of juice. Do NOT be tempted to add any water.

TIP – you can roughly shaped them like me and then touch-up the shape just before frying. Shape into a ball then lightly press down with both your palms.

TIP – Thinner vadai are crispier so press down a bit like a flying saucer.

TIP – Use medium heat to fry the vadai, NOT high heat. You do not want the vadai to brown before the middle is cooked.

Masala Vadai

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian


  • 500 g Chana dal
  • 2 large red onions, cut into smaller bits.
  • 2 Red chilli or green chilli chop into smaller bits.
  • 1 tbsp Fennel seeds toasted
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds toasted
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger minced
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Masala powder
  • Curry leaves (I have some frozen ones)
  • Some mint leaves
  • Some coriander leaves


Getting Ready

  • The night before you go to bed, soak your Chana dal. Rinse it a few times before soaking. The next morning rinse and drain with a sieve while you get ready the rest of the mixture.
  • Roughly minced 2 red chillies and the curry leaves. You can use dried chillies but I prefers the redness of the fresh red ones. I would have added green ones too if I have on hand.
  • Peel and roughly cut 2 large red onions into small pieces.

Mixing with the help food processor

  • Blend half the Chana dal roughly, not so fine. Set aside.
  • Blend the other half of the Chana dal with the onions, garlic and ginger paste. Blend finer than the first half but not too fine!
  • Add in the rest of the mixture and mix well. Do NOT be tempted to add any water.
  • Form into a ball then press with both palms to shape like a small flying saucer and set aside.


TIP – I like to slice my chillies as it is better than mix into blender. Nicer bite and colours too
TIP – Leave half a red onion and slice thinly for the ecstatic and bit.

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