Looking for a vegan snack ? Here is one – Parippu Vada or Lentil Fritters . These are popular in parts of South India, and SriLanka. This region gets heavy monsoon rainfalls lasting nonstop for days at a time . Guess what everyone craves for on days like those ? – fried food of course !!! The hot favorite among those is this one, Paruppu Vada served with a hot mug of Chai !
It is hard to miss the food vendors on Indian railway stations. The trains may not run on time, you might not be assured of a seat, but the Chai Wallah (the tea vendor) is the one you can always count on. Often time they are more knowledgeable about the schedules than the anyone else !! Now if you re visiting South India I would highly recommend checking out the Nilgiri Mountain Rail .
It is not just Chai or Coffee that they sell – there will be assorted snacks as well. These may not come as neatly packaged as the brightly colored bags of lays or Kurkure, but often times these snacks turn out to be better for your health !! Depending on which part of the country you are the snacks too change . Parippu Vada is the popular one in Kerala, so much so that after a few hours in the train my 3 yr old was able to perfectly imitate the tea vendor’s “Chai Chai Vada Vada” chant 🙂
Coming back to the recipe – these are made with split chickpeas or pigeon peas – toor dal or chana dal as usually known in India. The split peas are soaked at least for an hour, long enough for them to soak up water and swell in size. It is drained and ground coarsely without adding any additional water. When I say coarsely, often times you could see the whole peas in the ground mix. The whole pieces fry very crisp and you get a Vada that is extremely crunchy. I do grind mine a bit more , not smooth for a paste , but enough so that all pieces are broken down.
To this ground mix chopped onions, chilies, ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida, and salt is added. All seasonings should be finely chopped. everything is mixed well , formed into patties and fried. Isn’t that simple ?
No one really pre-forms the patties like in the picture above. You portion the mix into lemon sized balls . When the oil is hot take the balls one by one and gently flatten to a thick disc and lower ti the oil . Please check the video for more details.
Do a small test vada to make sure that the oil is hot enough as well as to taste for the seasonings.
Fry till both sides are lightly brown . Drain and serve with hot tea .