Masala Vada - Khara Kadabu / Spicy Chickpea Dill fritters - steamed cakes

Masala vada as the name symbolizes, is spicy dough made of masala (ginger, garlic, and garam masala). This is the most common appetizer we make during festivals. I love the way south Indians use such healthy ingredients and create beautiful blends one after the other. This authentic classic has been handed down generations. They can be made into a healthy steamed snack or a crunchy fritter. 

What I used: Makes 12-20 fritters or steamed cakes
1 cup kadale bele / channa dhal / split chick peas
6 green hot chilies or more if you like
2 cups fresh dill chopped
2 cups onion chopped
1 tsp whole garam masala (4 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon bark)
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
1 tsp garlic cloves
Salt to taste
Oil to fry – about 2 cups or more

Soak the split chickpeas in ample water and let them soak for 4 to 6 hours until they are soft. Drain and put them in a food processor. Add the green chilies, ginger, garlic and garam masala. 

Grind it to a coarse paste. If you grind it to a smooth paste, the vada will not be very crunchy; it is the coarseness that gives it a lasting crunchy texture, even when the fritter gets cold. Mix the chopped dill, onion, chickpea mixture and salt to make it into a dough consistency. 

You may prepare the dough a day before and refrigerate it too. Just mix the onions, dill and salt before you make the vada or steam cake. This prevents the dough from getting watery.

To make the fritters:
Heat about 2 cups of oil in a fry pan. Wet your hands and make little lemon sized balls. Place each ball on a plastic sheet or palm of your hand and pat it down to flatten it to form a patty. 

Check the oil temperature by adding a pinch of dough into the oil, if it foams and fries, we are good. Gently lower each patty into the oil. Once the lower side is golden, flip it over, cook the same way on the other side.  Serve it hot with chutney of your choice. 

To make the steam cakes:
Many of them prefer this version, that is healthier and fat free.  Mix the chopped dill, onion, chickpea mixture and salt to make it into a dough consistency. 

Wet your hands and make little cylinders. Steam cook them like you would steam your vegetables for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat (or Indians, use an idli pan). Enjoy!