Dal Vada | Masala Vada

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Dal Vada also known as Parippu Vada or Masala Vada are savory, spiced, crunchy fritters that are a popular street food in South India. Gluten-free and vegan. There are many ways to make Chana dal vada. Here I share two awesome recipes to make dal vada. I have been making these for years now having learnt it from my mother.

dal vada arranged neatly on a white plate next to a small white bowl of red chutney
  1. Dal Vada – The classic version with a crispy, crunchy texture.
  2. Masala Vada – Robust and made with many aromatic spices.

Both these recipes taste great and you can make any of them according to your preference. The method of making both the recipes are almost the same. The only major difference is the addition of more spices in the masala vada that gives a more complex taste.

What is Dal Vada made of

Dal Vada is made with chana dal. Chana dal are derived from brown chickpeas that have been husked and split. They have a lovely nutty taste and flavor. Chana dal is also known as Bengal gram in english.

So obviously Dal Vada is also called as Chana Dal Vada. It is also known as Parippu Vada in Malayalam and Paruppu Vadai in Tamil. The word parippu or paruppu means lentils.

Aromatics like onions, herbs and spices give a lovely flavor and taste to Dal Vada. No wonder it is a popular and favorite South Indian snack. These are crispy, crunchy, tasty and make for a great tea time snack.

While growing up, dal vada used to be one of our favorite snack. My mom used to make these crispy fritters as an evening snack. These are also my Dad’s favorite tea-time snack.

Our visits to South Indian cities and towns, would always have us relishing piping hot, crispy dal vada on the streets.

I love to have parippu vada with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup or red chilli garlic chutney. These are so good and addictive that you cannot stop at one.

The taste of the classic chana dal vada is completely different from the masala vada. You need to try both to find the difference.

dal vada arranged neatly on a white plate next to a small white bowl of red chutney

Note: The recipe requires you to have a coarse mixture of the lentils which does include whole chana dal in it. If you have any family member with dental issues, then grind the batter finely. After frying the chana dal does become very crunchy, so not advisable for someone who has dental issues like root canal treatment done or gum related issues.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Dal Vada

Chana dal has to be soaked and then ground. So yes, you have some prep work of soaking the lentils. Lets begin!

Soaking chana dal

1. Rinse ½ cup chana dal for a couple of times in water. Soak them in 1 cup water for 2 hours.

TIP: Do not soak for longer than 2 hours as this would not give a crispy and crunchy texture to the dal vada.

soaking chana dal lentils in water

2. Drain the soaked chana dal very well. There should be no water in the soaked dal.

soaked chana dal lentils

3. Add the soaked chana dal in your trusted blender or mixer-grinder.

chana dal added in a blender

4. Without adding any water, grind to a coarse mixture. Some whole chana dal should be there in the mixture. I have not added any water while grinding.

TIP: If you add water, then it becomes difficult to shape the chana dal vada. If you are not able to blend at all, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and then blend.

coarsely ground chana dal

Making dal vada mixture

5. Now take the coarsely ground chana dal in a mixing bowl. Add ⅓ to ½ cup chopped onions, 1 or 2 green chilies (chopped), 10 to 12 curry leaves (chopped) and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. You can also add 1 inch ginger (finely chopped).

onions, spices and herbs added to the chana dal mixture in a steel mixing bowl

6. Season with salt as required. I have added ½ teaspoon rock salt. If you use any other salt, then add accordingly and as per your taste.

salt added

7. Mix very well. Check the taste and add more salt if needed.

all ingredients mixed evenly

8. Now make small or medium sized balls from the mixture.

mixture shaped to a neat round small ball

9. Flatten them and place them on a plate or tray. At times, I flatten them slightly thin which makes them very crispy and crunchy. But it needs some skill and experience.

If you are unable to make them thin, then it is fine. You can still have a crisp parippu vada. You can also use a banana leaf or plastic sheet or a ziplock bag to place the shaped vada. I often use a steel plate.

vada mixture flattened and kept on a steel plate

Frying

10. Heat oil for deep frying. On a medium flame heat the oil. Check the oil temperature by dropping a small portion of the batter in the oil. If it comes up steadily and quickly, the oil is hot enough for frying.

TIP: Use oil with a high smoke point for deep frying. For frying dal vada, sunflower oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, avocado oil are some good choices.

small portion of vada mixture getting fried in oil

11. Now carefully slid the prepared dal vada in the hot oil.

chana dal vada added to hot oil and sizzling and getting fried

12. Fry them for a couple of minutes and then turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the second side. Lower the flame while frying if the oil becomes too hot.

TIP: Add the number of parippu vada depending on the size and capacity of the kadai. Do not overcrowd the kadai.

dal vada getting fried in hot oil

13. Fry until they become golden and crisp. When the onions on the crust of the parippu vada, look golden or caramelized, this means they are fried well.

parippu vada becoming golden and crisp

14. Once they are nicely crisp and golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon.

parippu vada on a slotted spoon

15. Place them on kitchen paper towels to get rid of extra oil.

fried chana dal vada on kitchen paper towels

16. Fry the remaining dal vada this way in batches.

more portions of dal vada on paper towels

Serve dal vada hot.

dal vada arranged neatly on a white plate next to a small white bowl of red chutney

What to serve with Dal Vada

  • Coconut Chutney: In South India, parippu vadai is classically paired with coconut chutney. This combo is truly delish and awesome.
  • Coriander chutney: When I run out of coconut, I pair dal vada with coriander chutney or mint chutney. Trust me, dal vada tastes nice with these green chutneys as well.
  • Tomato ketchup: This is one of my favorite condiment to go with paruppu vadai. It is unconventional I know, but we simply like it. My growing up years have mom serving us dal vada with ketchup on occasions and till today it is one of my favorite food pairings. If you are not a fan of ketchup, the even this tangy Tomato Chutney tastes good.
  • Lunch or Dinner: Parippu vada can also be served as side snack with a South Indian meal of sambar, rice, rasam, veggie stir fries. You can also make a no onion variation of parippu vada to serve in a festive platter or meal.
Tips

Expert Tips

  • No onion: During Hindu festival or fasting days, onions and garlic are not added in the food we make. If you plan to make dal vada on such occasions, then you can easily omit adding onions. Remember to add a generous pinch of asafetida to mimic the onion flavors.
  • Soaking: Avoid soaking chana dal for more than 2 hours. Soaking them for a longer time will not make them crispy and crunchy.
  • Consistency: The consistency of the ground mixture is thick and coarse. Do not make it fine, superfine or runny. If the batter becomes flowing, then add some rice flour to thicken it.
  • Shaping: A thick mixture helps to shape into neat flat round shaped vada. For super crispy texture, flatten them more.
  • Herbs and spices: I suggest to add all the spices and herbs mentioned in the recipe for the best authentic taste and flavor.
  • Frying temperature: The right frying temperature is 180 degrees to 190 degrees Celsius. Since all of us do not have deep fry thermometers to check the temperature, we can still gauge the hotness of oil. Add a small piece of the ground dal vada mixture in hot oil. If it bubbles, comes up quickly and steadily, the oil is ready for frying. If it stays at the bottom of the pan, the oil is not hot enough. If it comes up too quickly and fast, the oil is very hot.

More Tasty South Indian Snacks!

About Masala Vada

Masala vada are spiced and crunchy vegan fritters made with bengal gram and spices like fennel seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies and black pepper. They are also a popular tea time snack in South India.

masala vada placed on thin kitchen paper towels

I had got requests for masala vada and it was time I added this favorite South Indian snack. Usually I prepare the less spiced dal vada (stepwise photos above) which has a fewer spices and herbs than this one.

The method of making masala vada is similar to Falafel Recipe. Instead of ground white chickpeas, chana dal is added here. The spices and herbs added in masala vada are also different than what is included in falafel.

I prefer to add both red as well as green chilies in masala vadai. But you can add either of them. If only using dry red chilies, then add two red chilies instead of one.

You can also add grated coconut and use some tuvar dal (pigeon pea lentils) with the chana dal.

Usually I serve masala vada with our evening tea or coffee and at times with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup.

Step-by-step Masala Vada

Soaking lentils

1. Rinse ½ cup chana dal (split & husked bengal gram) for a couple of times in water. Then soak in enough water for 2 hours.

TIP: For a quicker option, you can heat water. Switch off the heat. Soak them for an hour.

soaked chana dal

2. In a blender or mixer-grinder, add the following whole spices – 1 dry red chili, (seeds removed and halved), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon coriander seeds and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

spices added in blender

3. Grind the spices coarsely.

spices ground coarsely to make masala vada

4. Drain all the water from the soaked chana dal. Then add the soaked lentils to the blender in which the spices were coarsely ground.

chana dal added to blender

5. Blend the lentils coarsely. Some whole chana dal should be there. No need to add water while grinding. I did not add any water.

Adding water will make the batter have a medium or thin consistency and it becomes difficult to shape it. If at all you find it difficult to blend, then only add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

chana dal coarsely ground

6. Remove the ground dal in a mixing bowl.

masala vada batter taken in a yellow bowl

Making masala vada

7. Add ¼ cup chopped onions, ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 9 to 10 curry leaves (finely chopped), 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and a pinch of asafetida and salt as per taste.

onions, ginger, herbs and salt added to ground masala vada mixture

8. Mix thoroughly.

all ingredients mixed evenly

9. Shape to medium sized vada. Make medium sized balls and then flatten them.

TIP: If you are not able to shape vadai, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of rice flour to the ground lentils to thicken the mixture slightly. You can flatten the masala vadai more and make them thin.

shaped masala vada patties on a steel plate

10. Heat oil as required in a kadai (Indian wok) or a pan.

oil in a kadai (Indian wok)

11. Let the oil become hot on medium heat. Add a tiny portion of the masala vada mixture in the hot oil. If it comes up gradually and quickly on the surface of the oil, you can begin frying.

tiny vada mixture getting fried in oil

12. Gently and carefully place the masala vada in the hot oil.

masala vada patties getting fried in hot oil

13. Let one side become light golden and then turn them over with a slotted spoon. Then fry the second side. If the oil becomes very hot, then reduce the heat.

frying masala vada

14. Fry until masala vada turns crisp and golden. Turn each vadai a couple of times for even frying.

masala vada turning golden in hot oil

15. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels to remove extra oil. Use up the entire masala vada mixture to shape and fry as shown in the steps above.

fried masala vada on paper towels

16. Serve these spiced masala vadai hot with coconut chutney.

masala vada arranged on a paper towels

Helpful Tips

  • Scaling: You can easily scale the recipe and halve or double the recipe.
  • Baking: I would not suggest to bake masala vada. I did try baking them and the results were not that good.
  • Gluten-free option: To make a gluten-free version, skip the asafetida or add gluten-free asafetida.

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dal vada arranged neatly on a white plate next to a small white bowl of red chutney

Dal Vada | Parippu Vada

4.83 from 17 votes
Dal Vada also known as Parippu Vada or Chana Dal Vada are savory, spiced, crunchy fritters that are a popular street food in South India. Gluten-free and vegan.
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins

Cuisine Kerala, South Indian, Tamil Nadu
Course: Snacks
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 12 dal vada
Units

Ingredients

For Soaking Chana Dal

  • ½ cup chana dal – 120 grams (husked and split bengal gram)
  • 1 cup water – for soaking

Other Ingredients For Paruppu Vadai

  • ⅓ to ½ cup chopped onions – 60 grams onions or 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger – optional
  • ½ to 1 teaspoons chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves or 1 sprig
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ teaspoon rock salt (edible and food grade) or white salt – add as per taste
  • oil for deep frying, as required

Instructions

Soaking chana dal

  • Rinse chana dal for a couple of times in water. 
  • Soak the lentils in 1 cup water for 2 hours.
  • Drain the soaked lentils very well. There should be no water in the soaked dal.

Making dal vada mixture

  • Then add the soaked lentils in a mixer-grinder or blender.
  • Without adding any water, grind to a coarse mixture. Some whole chana dal should be there in the mixture. I have not added any water, while grinding. 
  • If you add water, then it becomes difficult to shape them. If you are not able to grind at all, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
  • Now take the coarsely ground chana dal in a bowl. 
  • Add chopped onions, green chilies, curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves. You can also add chopped ginger.
  • Season with salt. Mix very well. Check the taste and add more salt if needed.
  • Now make small or medium sized balls from the mixture.
  • Flatten them and place them on a plate or tray.
  • You can use a banana leaf or plastic sheet or a ziplock bag to place the shaped vada.

Frying

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan on medium heat.
  • Check the oil temperature by dropping a small portion of the batter in the oil. If it comes up steadily & quickly, the oil is hot enough for frying.
  • Now carefully slid the prepared dal vada in the hot oil.
  • Fry them for a couple of minutes and then turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the other side. Lower the flame while frying if the oil becomes too hot.
  • Fry till they become golden and crisp. When the onions on the crust of the vada, look golden, this means the dal vada is done.
  • Place them on kitchen paper towels to get rid of extra oil.
  • Fry the remaining dal vada this way in batches.
  • Serve the dal vada hot with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup.

Notes

  • No onion:  If you plan to make dal vada on a festival or a fasting occasion, then simply skip onions. Add a generous pinch of asafetida to mimic the onion flavors. 
  • Soaking: Do not soak chana dal for more than 2 hours. Longer soaking times do not give them a crispy texture.
  • Consistency: The ground mixture has a thick and coarse consistency. If the batter becomes flowing or runny, then add some rice flour to thicken it.
  • Shaping: A thick coarse mixture helps to shape the vada easily. For super crispy vadai, flatten them more.
  • Herbs and spices: Try to add all the spices and herbs to get the best authentic taste and flavor.
  • Frying temperature: Add a small piece of the ground dal vada mixture in hot oil. If it bubbles, comes up quickly and steadily, the oil is ready for frying. If it stays at the bottom of the pan, the oil is not hot enough – so increase the heat a bit. If it comes up too quickly and fast, the oil is very hot – so reduce the heat slightly. 
  • Scaling: You can easily double or triple the recipe. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Dal Vada | Parippu Vada
Amount Per Serving (1 dal vada)
Calories 69 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 99mg4%
Potassium 6mg0%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 36IU1%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 10mg50%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 24mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 99µg25%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 1mg0%
Phosphorus 1mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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masala vada

Masala Vada

4.75 from 16 votes
Masala vada are spiced and crunchy fritters made with bengal gram and spices like fennel seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies and black pepper.
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins

Cuisine South Indian
Course: Snacks
Diet: Vegan
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 10 masala vada
Units

Ingredients

To be ground

  • ½ cup chana dal (husked and split bengal gram) – 120 grams
  • 1 dry red chili – deseeded and halved
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Other ingredients

  • ¼ cup chopped onions or 1 small onion
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped green chili 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
  • 9 to 10 curry leaves – finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • salt as required
  • oil for deep frying – as required
  • water for soaking chana dal – as required

Instructions

Preparation

  • Rinse the chana dal for a couple of times in water. 
  • Then soak them in enough water for 2 hours.
  • Later, in a blender or mixer-grinder, add dry red chili (deseeded and halved), fennel seeds, coriander seeds and black pepper. Grind the spices coarsely.
  • Drain the soaked chana dal very well. Then add the chana dal to the mixer-grinder or blender in which the spices were coarsely ground.
  • Grind the dal coarsely. Some whole chana dal should be there in the mixture. 
  • Do not add water while blending. If you add water, then it becomes difficult to shape them. If you have difficult blending them, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
  • Remove the ground chana dal in a mixing bowl.
  • Add chopped onions, green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, asafoetida and salt as per taste.
  • Mix very well.

Shaping and frying

  • Shape to medium sized vadai. Make medium sized balls and then flatten them. If you are not able to shape vadai, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of rice flour in the mixture.
  • Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan.
  • Let the oil become hot on medium-flame.
  • Check the oil temperature by dropping a small portion of the batter in the oil. If it comes up steadily and quickly, the oil is hot enough for frying vada.
  • Carefully and gently place the vadai in hot oil.
  • When one side becomes pale golden, turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the other side.
  • Fry until the masala vada becomes golden and crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towels to remove extra oil.
  • Serve these spiced masala vada with coconut chutney.

Notes

  • The recipe can be doubled too.
  • To make the masala vadai gluten free, skip asafetida.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Masala Vada
Amount Per Serving (1 masala vada)
Calories 71 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 118mg5%
Potassium 6mg0%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 53IU1%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 10mg50%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 22mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 107µg27%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 1mg0%
Phosphorus 1mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Tried this recipe?If you have made the recipe and liked it then do share the recipe link on facebook, twitter & pinterest. For instagram mention @dassanasvegrecipes and tag #dassanasvegrecipes!

This chana dal vada recipe post from the archives (June 2015) has been republished and updated on 30 December 2020. 

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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56 Comments

  1. Made the spicy version of Masala vada today. Doubled the recipe. Before I completed frying, half were already eaten! Everyone loved it. Came out excellent, just as we get in restaurants. Thanks!5 stars

  2. I made it today, half of it disappeared even before I finished the whole batter!!😄
    Amazing recipe, easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

    1. Lovely and thanks for letting me know. Thanks for the feedback too. Welcome.

  3. If baking instead of frying do you the what temperature and time limit should be used? I can’t wait to try your recipe. Looks amazing!

    1. you can bake at 180 degrees celsius in a preheated oven. time taken will depend on the oven type. so an approx 15 to 25 minutes can be the time for baking.

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