This chana dal vada or masala vada is a very popular snack in South India. It is also known as ambode in Karnataka or paruppu vadai.
Traditionally these vadas are deep-fried but I make chana dal vadas in Air fryer with very little oil.
You can also make them in appe or paniyaram pan or microwave as well.
This is made on festivals and special occasions or when relatives or friends visit.
It is a favourite of all of us in the family so it was imperative that I learned the recipe and cooked it at home.
How to Make Masala Vada
You need soaked chana dal, spices and herbs. It is a pretty simple recipe and you can substitute herbs depending upon what is available.
Dill really does add a lot of flavour to the vadas, but I have managed without it when it's not available.
You can use the same recipe with other dals like moong dal (small yellow lentils), orange or red lentils (masoor dal) etc. but the traditional recipe calls for chana dal (or split gram or chickpeas).
How to Make masala vada Pictures
Soak chana dal for 4 hours in water. Drain well and keep aside. Blend the dal coarsely in a blender without any water. Let a few lentils remain whole.
Add chopped chillies, ginger, curry leaves, dill, cilantro and chopped onion.
Add salt and form thin round patties or vadas with your hands.
Preheat Air fryer to 180 C or 360 F for 5 minutes. Brush the basket with oil. Lay the vadas on it and brush once with oil.
Cook for about 10 minutes at 180 C. Flip vadas.
Brush again with oil if needed. Increase the temp to 200 C or 390 F and cook for 4-5 minutes more till they are golden brown and cooked.
Your crunchy masala vadas in Air fryer are ready. Serve hot with ketchup or chutney as a healthy snack.
This is a vegan healthy Indian air fryer recipe. If you liked this recipe, I request you to leave a star * rating either on the recipe card or in the comments.
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Here's the recipe card:
📖 Recipe Card
Chana Dal Vada | Masala vada South Indian style
- 1 cup chana dal Split Bengal gram or chickpeas or 250 gm.
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. dill leaves finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. cilantro leaves finely chopped
- a sprig of curry leaves finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. ginger finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp. oil for Air frying more for deep frying
- Soak chana dal for about 4 hours. Drain water from soaked dal and make sure it is dry.
- Then coarsely blend the dal in the blender without using water. Leave it slightly coarse. You definitely do not want a paste. So just give a couple of quick blending motions. If some of the lentils remain whole, don't fret. As a matter of fact, that is desirable.
- Now take out this coarse semi-paste in a container. Add finely chopped ginger, chillies, onion, cilantro, dill and curry leaves with salt to lentil batter. Add everything together and mix with your hand so that it is uniformly distributed. Now make small flat balls using your hands.
- Use a little oil or water on your palms if the mix sticks though it generally doesn't.
For Air frying
- Preheat Air fryer to 180 C or 360 F for 5 minutes. Brush Air fryer basket with oil and line the vadas on it. Brush with oil and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Turn the vadas in the middle and brush again with oil. Now crank up the temperature to 200 C or 390 F and cook for 4-5 minutes more till the vadas are golden brown. Take them out and serve hot.
For Deep frying or cooking in Appe pan
- To deep fry heat the oil to high heat. I use mustard oil because I love its taste but you can use any vegetable oil you like. Deep fry till golden brown ensuring that you reduce the heat to medium high else the outside will be brown too soon while the inside stays uncooked.
- Now drain them out and serve hot with any chutney or ketchup. This is very filling and incredibly delicious. Enjoy.
- For appe pan, heat it after brushing the holes with oil. Use a spoon to spoon in vada portions. Lightly brush with oil. Cover and cook on low to medium heat till one side is browned. Flip and apply some more oil and cover and cook. Your golden vadas are ready to serve.
- Make sure that your lentil mash is very dry. Do not use any water when blending the lentils. A slightly coarse mash is fine.
- Always add onion and salt only before you are planning to cook else your vada batter will get soggy.
- You can make the lentil mash and store in the fridge for a couple of days. Add onion and salt before frying.
- Add green chillies as per taste and how much heat you like.
- You can use other lentils like moong dal or orange lentils in the same recipe.
- If you make thinner vadas, your vadas will be crisper and air frying time will be lower.
- You must eat them right away or they lose their crispness.
- No need to flip the vadas midway. You can flip them right towards the end of 10 minute cooking at 360 F. The vadas come out easily and do not stick to the basket at this juncture.
If you liked the recipe, I request you to leave a star * rating. Thanks.