Food sometimes makes me wonder... How can some dishes from two different cuisines, belonging to different parts of the world, be so similar? Like tortilla and roti , Thai curry and kuruma, ingera (Ethiopian bread) and dosa, Chinese dumplings and kozhukattai.... I once saw an episode in discovery channel titled 'The real Eve', which talks about the first woman of the world who was from Africa and all of us are her descendants. Does this similarity in food prove that theory??? Anyways, today's recipe is an addition to above list of similarities. Masala vadai (or vada), an authentic south Indian dish which is very similar to the Middle Eastern falafel.
Masala vadai is deep fried channa dal (skinned, split and dried garbanzo beans) balls with spices. It is a must at our home during Diwali. My mom is such an expert at making it, that not just us at home, but all our friends love it too. Recently, when my husband's friends came home for dinner, I made this (for the first time) for appetizer.
Channa dal - 2 cups
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Cilantro - 2 tbsp, finely chopped (optional)
Curry leaves - 2 - 3 strands, chopped
Green chillies - 3 - 5 (or to taste), finely chopped or ground
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Sonf (fennel seends) - 1 tsp coarsely ground
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Soak channa dal for about 2 to 3 hours. Grind into a coarse paste with very little water. A chopper (if you have one) works better than blender or mixie. Add all the other ingredients (except oil) and mix well.
Heat oil in a frying pan or kadai for deep frying. Take a small lime sized ball of the channa dal mixture, flatten slightly on the palm and slide into the hot oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove into a plate lined with paper towel. Enjoy the crispy treat hot, warm or at room temperature. You can also serve with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup on the side.
Note: Start the frying process as soon as all the ingredients are mixed in, else the mixture will become watery making it difficult to handle and the vadai will end up oily.