Those moong lentils sitting in your cupboard have been trying to say something. Let me out… play with spices and cook me crunchy. Fried in oil, moong dal can transform into a crispy, nutty, savory snack. Reach for something crunchy when you need snack. If you haven’t heard of Masala vada, allow me to do the honors of introducing. Masala vada is South Indian crispy, savory fried snack. It is one of most crowd cheered festive snack. Which makes its appearance in every home on a festival day, entertaining smiley family and friends. For westerners, they can be described as moon lentil falafel. In different southern states, they are also called masala garelu, masal vadai, paruppu vadai. If you haven’t tried this snack yet, also allow me to introduce to all-natural step-by-step recipe. This is dangerous knowledge.
Play with herbs and spices while making masala vada. Many of you probably have not tried whole grain moong version. Whole grain makes vadas’ darker in color than non whole grain ones. Moong husk adds up fiber, texture and a luscious nutty taste. Adding fiber to diet is one of easiest ways to be healthy. Adding spinach to masala vada is norm. But spinach has a lot of water. Deep frying spinach will absorb a lot of oil. Instead, consider Kale. Adding kale to masala vada is like making kale chips in vada is an ultimate innovation. More fiber, crisp, nutrition. Along with kale, adding spring onion rather than onion gives intensive flavor with out absorbing much oil. Though deep-frying is not healthy way of eating kale, you need recharge or break from healthy diet once in a while. When you need break, make home-made. Limit restaurant food to minimal.
As they appear, making masala vada is as simple as it gets. Soak, dry, grind, spice up and fry. It is so addictive. First, soak moong dal for 2-4 hours. Don’t soak for long hours. It will absorb a lot of water and isn’t ideal to deep fry as it absorbs a lot of oil. 2-4 hours is right amount of time. Remove water and drain in colander for 15 minutes.
- 1 cup finely chopped kale.
- 3 cups split whole-grain moong dal
- 5-10 green chillies.
- 4 - spring onion sprigs
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp - cumin
- 2 cloves
- ½ inch Chinese spicy cinnamon stick
- Soak moong dal for at-least 2 hours. Maximum of 4-5 hours.
- Discard water, drain in colander for 20 minutes. Shake few times to drain water.
- In food processor, add cinnamon and cloves. Grind to powder.
- Add ¾th of moong dal, salt, chilies, onion springs, cumin and enough salt.
- Grind to coarse batter. Leave lentils a bit grainy. Do not grind to smooth paste. If you are using grinder, pulse slowly to make coarse, grainy batter. Running grinder continuously makes it a paste.
- Remove batter into a bowl, add remaining ¼ moong dal which wasn't grinded, kale, curry leaves and cilantro. Mix well
- Heat oil in kadai.
- Make 2 inch round balls and press flat.
- Add to oil. Fry them in medium heat. Frying in high heat will make outer part burn and inside will not cook. Turn vada's. Fry till vada's aren't bubbling anymore.
- Add paper towel to a bowl. Remove fried vada's into bowl.
- Serve hot with fresh chutney.