Vegan Appetizer- Masala Vada

Usually prepared using chana dal/ split bengal gram/ split chickpea lentil blended with spices, these fritters are crunchy, flavorful and festive. Today, i am bringing this traditional Indian recipe of Masala Vada to my spice box and sharing with you all this monday for a protein rich Meatless Monday Meal.

I love these chana dal vadas. Masala Vada are a popular appetizer/ snack in South Indian cuisine. Masala Vada literally means a “spice mixed savory fritter”. They are the perfect crunchy munchy companions to any south Indian platters. My mom often made these for evening snacks when the whole family was together and me and my sister would stand beside her in the kitchen itself to grab our share before they went out of the kitchen and get picked up by the family members.

masla vada gallery

Lately i have been thinking about using lentils in creative ways (other than the typical dal soups) and yesterday, i picked up split bengal gram. These humble lentils were in my cabinet for sometime now and when i picked them up from the shelf, masala vadas were the first thing that popped in my head !

Why I call them the Indian Style Falafels ?

When my husband took a bite of these vadas, he asked me what this was and in order to explain him, i told him they were the “Indian falafels” !! To me that makes perfect relation : both of them use soaked lentils as the base and you add spices, herbs to both of them. The procedure is same too.. they both are fried ! and.. they both are D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S !!

masala vada close up

Vegan Appetizer – Masala Vadas

Masala Vada/ Indian Style Falafels

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

masala vada 1 copy


  • yellow split chickpeas / chana dal-3/4th cup + 1/4th cup , soaked in enough water for 3-4 hours (soak in 2 separate bowls)
  • peanuts-1/3rd cup , soaked for half hour and chopped
  • onion-1 medium , finely chopped
  • sago/ tapioca/ sabudana-1/3rd cup , soaked for half hour (optional)
  • 10-12 curry leaves (optional)
  • fresh coriander-handful , chopped
  • fresh mint-handful , chopped
  • 1 medium green chili, finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • red chili powder -1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds -1 tsp
  • dry mango powder (optional)-1 tsp
  •  grated ginger- 1 tablespoon
  • oil for frying -1 cup


  1. Grind the 3/4th cup of chana dal coarsely. The batter should not be runny. Do not use more than a couple of tablespoons of water to grind the dal. Remove in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add all the ingredients except oil in to the chana dal batter. Mix well. Let this batter rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan on medium high. Using a scoop/spoon, spoon out the mixture on your palm and using the fingers, form into a croquette shape. Drop them gently into the hot oil and fry a couple of them together on medium high till golden brown and crispy. Remove on an absorbent paper/ towel.
  4. Serve with chutneys/dips to enjoy as appetizer, sambhar to enjoy as a meal or with a cup of masala chai on a rainy day 🙂

Notes :

Peanuts, Onions and tapioca are optional in the recipe. They are added to bring in some crunch to the vadas. You can also add in shredded coconut, spring onions or even raw chopped potatoes in the batter.

These masala vadas are simply delicious ! Crunchy to core and lip smacking, me and my husband had them for brunch yesterday with some piping hot sambhar / yellow lentil soup (recipe coming up soon) and it was the perfect meal for our otherwise boring weekend. Since these Indian style falafels are made with lentils and we accompanied it with a different lentil, our meal was full of proteins and goodness ! Try them out yourself.

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  1. Nice! Definitely Indian falafels 🙂

  2. Pingback: Restaurant Style Sambhar – Divine Spice Box

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