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Masala Vada - Split Pea Dumplings in Masala Gravy

Masala Vada - Split Pea Dumplings in Masala Gravy

Serves: 4


  • 100g channa dal 
  • 100g urid dal 
  • 2 green chillis 
  • 4 dried red chillis 
  • 2 tbsp water 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger 
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped 
  • ½ small red onion, chopped 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate soda ghee or oil for frying   


  • 2 tbsps sesame oil 
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ginger, grated 
  • 6 curry leaves 
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida 
  • ½ tsp chilli powder 
  • 6 large tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • ¼ tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tsp coriander powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder 
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground fennel 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 tsp jaggery 
  • 175ml hot water 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • Bunch fresh coriander, chopped   


  1. Soak the dals overnight or a minimum 4 hours, then rinse them well. 
  2. Put them in a food processor and blend with the green and red chilli, adding the water and lemon juice until well combined, but still a bit grainy. 
  3. Stir in the ginger, coriander and onion and season to taste with the salt, stir in the bicarb. 
  4. Scoop out 1 tbsp of mix with wet fingers and drop into oil, very hot – 180C, and fry until golden brown – 3-4 minutes.   

To make the gravy: 

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add the ginger and curry leaves and stir, then add the asafoetida and chilli powder.
  2. Immediately add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, ground fennel and a pinch of salt. 
  3. Stir and simmer covered until the tomatoes have broken down, about 20 minutes. 
  4. Season to taste with lemon and add jaggery. 
  5. Remove curry leaves and blend until smooth. 
  6. Push the dumplings into the gravy to heat through for a few minutes. 
  7. Stir in coriander to serve.