Monday, 12 May 2014

Dhal Masala Vadai

Vadai (also known as also known as wada or vade or vada or bara) is a south Indian savoury fritter type snack, which can be made from lentils (dhal), chick peas (channa), gram flour (besan) or potato (aloo). It is usually deep fried, but I decided to bake mine instead to make it fit in with the Slimming World regime.

I used leftover lentils and vegetables for this, but you can of course cook these especially for the vadai. I had green lentil mixed with onions, Chinese leaves and spring greens from Friday night's dinner; and also some leftover roasted vegetables from Saturday night which I added to the mix for extra superfree (red, green and yellow peppers, red and yellow onion and sweet potato). Add spices to taste – I used ground cumin (my favourite!), ground cinnamon, ground coriander, fresh and dried ginger, fresh garlic and red chilli flakes. Whizz it all up in a food processor, using the 'pulse' button to ensure it becomes paste-like but still retains some texture. 


Using wet hands so that the paste doesn't still to my fingers, I formed the mixture into little balls and placed them in muffin cups flattening them ever so slightly with my hands before spraying them with Fry Light and baking in the oven at 230°C for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned and crispy on the outside. 


In India, vadai is eaten as a snack (often for breakfast) or a side dish, never as a main course; and is found for sale all over the south at street food. I served mine with leftover coleslaw and potato salad from yesterday's picnic lunch; tomato salad made from chopped tomatoes (flesh only), onions, a red chilli and coriander with the juice of half a lemon and some salt and coarsely ground black pepper; mint raita (made from 0% fat plain yogurt, mint sauce and sweetener); and some rocket leaves to turn it into a complete meal. Garnished with red onion. 


Baking the vadai rather than deep frying them means that they do become a lot more crumbly when you cut into them, and it would be difficult to eat them as a street food snack with your hands (right hand only of course); but if you don't mind the texture, the flavour was superb. Even non-lentil-loving Husband enjoyed it so much he had second helpings. 


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