Craving For The Ordinary…
A few years back, when we were in college…
Who am I kidding?
Once upon a time, when we were in college, there was a famous Malayalam movie Niram which I enjoyed watching. It’s a story about two BFFs, a boy and a girl, who share a very special friendship. The movie portrayed a college life, which I could identify with at that time.
The movie has another significance to it.
For me, it made “chaaya & parippuvada” very fashionable. You see, chaaya or tea and parippuvada or (dal or lentil fritters) was a snack that was sold at train stations and available in any of Kerala’s street side restaurants (thattukadas). At that time, my parents did not allow me to visit thattukadas. And it was not fashionable, for me, to visit those shops and eat the delicacies available there. Anyways, I was not a big fan of chaaya too. I am more of a coffee person.
After I watched this movie, I had the craving of having chaaya & parippuvada. And, the craving was so intense that, I tried to make them at home. And my grandmother (whom I lovingly called Mammamma) was was explaining how to make it. Because of the teen arrogance (I blame it on the hormones) and hurry to impress my parents, I might have cut corners. And boy, I learnt a few lessons on that day…
- When you heat the oil, it gets really really hot.
- When your grandmother says, the dal has to be dry, it has to be really really dry.
- When your grandmother says, crush the green chillies, crush them.
So, anyways, to cut the long story to short, I did not drain the water from the dal properly, so the fritters exploded in oil and the oil spluttered and I got a few burns. About the significance of the green chillies, the very few fritters that survived, had big chunks of green chillies, making them impossible to eat.
We did not get to eat parippuvada that day, but the lessons I learnt that day, they are invaluable.
Here, in the US, we do not get these lovely vadas in any restaurants, at least where we live. So, I make them at home when we crave chaaya and parippuvada, especially those cold days. And it’s a big hit among my friends.
Parippuvada or Masala Vada is crunchy chana dal fritters, popular in South India. These are easy to make and are vegan and gluten free.
10 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1 cup Chana Dal soaked for atleast 3 hours
- 2 tbsp Cilantro finely chopped
- 5 tbsp Onions finely chopped
- 1 Serrano Pepper adjust to your taste.
- 2 inch Ginger
- 4-5 Curry Leaves chopped fine
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- Drain the soaked chana dal for about 20 minutes or till very dry to touch.
- Mince the serrano pepper and ginger to a fine paste.
- Keep aside about 2 tbsp chana dal. Using a food processor or mixer-grinder, coarsely grind the rest of the chana dal.
- Mix the minced serrano pepper, ginger, 2 tbsp whole chana dal, cilantro, onions, curry leaves and salt and add it to the coarsely ground chana dal.
- Heat oil in a pan on high heat.
- When the oil is sufficiently hot (see tip), reduce the heat slightly.
- Shape the chana dal dough into twelve equal sized balls. Flatten the balls a little using your palms.
- Deep fry. Fry till one side is golden brown. Flip over and fry the other side.
- Once the vada is cooked, remove from oil and drain on a napkin to remove excess oil.
- Repeat steps 6 to 9 to fry rest of the vadas.
- Serve hot.
Put a small drop of the dough into the oil. It should sizzle immediately and rise to the top. Your oil is ready to deep fry.
Do not deep fry with high heat. The vadas will burn.
Do not reduce the heat to very minimum either. The vadas will turn up very oily.
Even if you have big pan to fry more than one vada at a time, for the first time, try frying only one vada. This would give you an idea about the temperature of the oil required.The actual cooking time depends on the number of vadas you can fry in one batch.
Before you put in the next batch of vadas, heat the oil for a few seconds on high heat. And repeat with rest of your dough.