Masal Vadai (Channa Dahl)

Masal Vadai (Channa Dahl)

This is really very delicious. It is not difficult to make. Preparing the batter part may seem a little cumbersome, but these Vadai’s are worth the effort. When you taste them, you will agree with me. 

The process is simple. Just soak a couple of ingredients, grind, and deep fry. You can prepare them spicy or bland. When you see the pictures and the slide show, you may wonder, will they really taste as yummy as they look? Believe me, they do taste yummier than that!

Hover over the highlighted Keywords below for Images and/or Description of some of the Ingredients:
Channa Dahl, Coconut, Curry Leaves, Green Chillies, Red Chillies, Serrano Peppers, Hing


Slide Show:

Delicious Masal Vadai


Masal Vadai (Channa Dahl)

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve at Room Temperature, Serve Hot
Region Indian


  • 1 cup Channa Dahl (soaked in lukewarm or cold water for at least 2 hours)
  • 1 Red Chilli (dried chilli pepper, soaked with the channa dahl)
  • 1/8 cup White Long Grain Rice (soaked separately in lukewarm water or cold water for at least an hour)
  • 1 Green Chilli (serrano pepper)
  • 1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 - 6 cups Cooking Oil


  • 1/2 teaspoon Hing
  • 4 -6 leaves Curry Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder (Don't use baking soda, use baking powder)


Serving Suggestions:

1) Serve hot with Coconut or Mint Chutney.
2) Serve hot with hot Sambar.


If the Vadai pieces cool off or they become soft, you can do the following to have delicious options.

1) You can reheat them in the toaster oven. This will render them hot and crisp.
2) You can reheat them in the Microwave oven, but they may not be very crispy, but still tasty.
3) If you have "Spicy Buttermilk Gravy (More Kulambu)", you can soak these in it for an hour or so and they will taste simply delicious. It is like "Dahi Vada", but a yummy variation. You can find recipes for the Buttermilk Gravy right here on this website. If you are Vegan, skip this.


Step 1

Drain the soaked channa dahl and red chillies. Drain the soaked rice and keep it separate.

Step 2

The Vadai mixture when completely ready, should be thick and should not be runny. After grinding, you should be able to make a small ball out of the dough, flatten it and drop it into the hot oil to fry it.

Step 3

Place the red chillies and the green chillies at the bottom of a medium or large blender. Add the hing and the curry leaves.

Step 4

Add 4 tablespoons of water. Add 1 cup of soaked channa dahl to the blender. Add the soaked rice too.

Step 5

Pulse or grind a few seconds at a time. If difficult to grind, add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time. Grind until the dahl mixture is well ground but thick and not runny. Transfer contents to a medium size bowl.

Step 6

Add the rest of the soaked channa dahl to the blender. Add a few tablespoons of water and pulse a few seconds at a time on medium. Keep stirring the mixture in the blender with the blender spatula. If the mixture gets stuck and the grinding stalls, add a few more tablespoons of water. The mixture or batter, when finished grinding, should be Coarse and Thick. Don't grind it too much. Some of the channa dahl may be just broken into two pieces, or some of them may be left whole. That's actually good.

Step 7

Transfer the contents into the bowl with the already ground mixture.

Step 8

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the total batter in the bowl. Mix the batter in the bowl thoroughly until the mixture is well mixed.

Step 9

Add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to the mixture. Do not use baking soda. If you don't have baking powder, just don't use anything. The Vadai will still come out great.


Sometimes, depending upon the quality of channa or ural dahl, the Vadai may come out hard when fried. Baking powder softens the hardness while retaining the crispness and taste.

Step 10

Add the chopped onion and mix thoroughly.

Step 11

Place 4 to 6 cups of cooking oil in a small, sturdy Wok or a small to medium sauce pan. Place the sauce pan on medium heat.

Step 12

When the oil appears hot, drop a tiny, round piece of batter into the oil. If the batter sizzles in the oil and gets fried, that means the oil is ready. Otherwise, wait a little longer until the oil is hot.

Step 13

Have a large bowl lined up with paper towels ready by the side of the stove. Have a flat metal spatula also ready, to remove the Vadai pieces from the oil.

Step 14

Take a little of the batter, make it a tight ball about the size of a small lime, and flatten it a little on the palm your hand. Drop or slide it in the hot oil. Add a couple more into the oil. About 3 or 4 vadai at a time is good for beginners or if you have less oil.
Note : You can add as many as you like at a time into the oil, depending upon the quantity of the oil, how much experience you have, and how quickly you can turn over and also remove the items from the oil, before they get fried too much.

Step 15

With the spatula, gently turn over the pieces that are fried a little.
When they turn golden brown, remove them with the spatula one or two at a time, and place them in the bowl with the paper towels. Do not fry too much. See pictures.

Step 16

Serve hot, with coconut or mint chutney, or hot Sambar.

Step 17

You can reheat the Vadai's in the toaster. Then it will be crisp.

Step 18

If you reheat the Vadai's in the microwave oven, they may not be very crisp, but they will still taste good. These will taste good in room temperature too.


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