This is a rare snack in my kitchen as it involves deep frying. Somehow I cant bring myself to deep fry food, it just feels wrong:) An occasional indulgence is fine I guess and therefore one cold rainy afternoon, I made this famous south Indian snack. There is something about the smell of these fritters/vadas that is so powerful and inviting. Speaking of which, I have to share something very interesting. To trap rats I have seen people in Chennai buy masala vada from shops and place them in the rat trap overnight. Rats would get attracted to the smell of these vadas and get caught in the trap while trying to eat them. And I am not kidding. So not only Pied Piper even Indian masala vadas have a magic on rats:) The addition of garlic, mint and fennel seeds gives you the exact same taste as you would get in the tea shops of Chennai.
1 cup Bengal gram/Channa dal
1/2 cup split pigeon peas/toor dal
1/4 cup black gram/urad dal
1/4 cup moong dal
5 green chilies
1 medium size onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons mint leaves finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves finely chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 one inch piece ginger
5 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon asafetida powder
oil to deep fry
1. Soak all the lentils in water for 3-4 hours.
2. Grind ginger, garlic and fennel seeds to a coarse mixture.
3. Drain the lentils, add to the above and grind them. Make sure the batter is not very smooth.
4. Take the ground lentil mixture in a bowl and add onions, cilantro, mint, curry leaves and mix well.
5. Add salt and asafetida powder and mix well.
6. Heat oil in a saucepan and while the oil is getting hot, make equal sized balls with the batter.
7. Flatten the balls to make patties of medium thickness. I use a zip lock bag for this step.
8. Deep fry the patties in hot oil until golden brown turning once in between. Make sure to fry them in medium flame to ensure even cooking.