Parippu Vada – Vegan Lentil Fritters

Video Recipe

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  🙂
Soaking the lentils

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.

Form The Vada

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.

Frying Parippu Vada

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 .

Parippu Vada

Parippu Vada

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10 to 12

Parippu Vada


Split Chickpeas - 1 C (see notes)
Onion - 1/4 C Chopped
Green/Red Chilies - 1 or 2 (to taste)
Ginger - 1 Tsp Minced
Curry Leaves - A few
Asafoetida- A Pinch (optional)
Salt - 1/4 Tsp (to Taste)
Oil - As Needed to Fry


Soak the dal (peas) in plenty of water for at least 1 hour. Drain and coarsely grind in a blender without adding any extra water.

Finely chop the onions, chilies, ginger, and curry leaves. Mix the all the ingredients except the oil together to make the vada mix.

Heat a thick bottomed pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan at least 1/2 inch deep. Make lemon size balls of the vada mix. When the oil seems hot enough take the balls one by one flatten each into a disc and place in the hot oil. Let it cook for a couple minutes until the sides begin to brown. Flip and cook the other side .

Drain and serve.


Fry in batches and do not crowd the pan. The beans of choice are split chick peas or pigeon peas (Toor dal or Chana dal). You can use either or a mix of both.


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Parippu Vada

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