Friday, August 27, 2010

Parippu Vada: Dal Vada/ Deep Fried Lentil Discs

Parippu Vada and Chai/Chaaya  is one of the quintessential Mallu tea-shop favourites. Chaayakada= tea shop tea is a strong 'pulled-tea' with frothy topping! With this heritage, the Parippu Vada, has also not been immune to political colour;  claimants bestowing it with an egalitarian/  poor man's snack along with Kattan Chaaya = strong tea. [obviously men gathered around in the tea-shop to discuss all those worthy subjects :-)]. Moi version here might well be accused as the neo-liberal- imperialistic version, more so for the geographical location and as one seen through the lens of nostalgia, plus for making it more milky ! :-D

Parippu Vada and Chai...
...reminds one of those iconic Malayalam comedies of the 1980s; especially Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu = The Goose that lays the Golden Egg

The movie revolves around a small village in Kerala. One of the important events in a village  is the local temple festival. The much bissi and respected village elder completes his discussions at the local tea-shop and  hurries to his regular, evening rendevous with the local village belle...with the hot packet of Parippu Vadas,  wrapped carefully in layers of wilted benana leaves and newpaper sheets. He hurries in with the Parippu Vadas only to find the village Oracle, comfortably ensconced inside. The village elder stammers an excuse, hurries away, happily leaving behind the parippu vadas to be savoured by the Oracle and his consort for the evening!!!

Parippu Vada/ Dal Vada:  It is made from Channa Dal or Bengal gram, with chopped onions, green chillies, ginger, cummin and red chillies;  the soaked channa dal is ground coarsely, allowing it crunch and  texture, then spiced with the above ingredients, shaped into discs and deep fried. 

Had been waiting to post this recipe for a long time; saving the newspapers that came wrapped around some goodies, about 8 months ago. At that time, Manju had posted the same, so the recipe lapsed into the 'to-do's'. A spot of cleaning turned  up these newsprints... and prompted a friday snack. This goes to Melodie's Vegetarian Foodie Fridays.  It also goes to  My Legume Affair # 26  originally started by Susan.

1 Cup of Channa Dal, soaked for an hour or more]
2 green chillies, [1 hot green chilli and one green cayenne used here]
1/4 tsp cummin seeds, lightly crushed
1 tbsp ginger, chopped fine or cut into thin slivers
3-4 shallots, red sambhar onions, pearl onions sliced in thin rounds
1/2 stem curry leaves, chopped roughly
Pinch of asafoetida
11/2 Cup of  vegetable oil to deep fry the vadas


Heat the oil in a deep kadai/ wok.

Meanwhile drain the channa dal and pulse/ grind the channa dal into a coarse paste with texture. Do not add water; scrape down and pulse again.
[A few whole legumes add to the texture and look  of the snack.]

Finely slice the pearl onions
Chop the green chillies and the ginger fine
Add these alongwith the coarsely chopped curry leaves to ground channa dal mixture
Season with salt, a pinch of asafoetida  and mix well

Test the oil with a pinch of the above mixture. The mixture should not brown immediately. The vadas should be fried on medium high heat.

Take 1 1/2 tbsps of the mix and shape into a ball,
Gently flatten the mix in the palm of your hand,
Slide into the hot oil and fry until a deep golden colour, turning to a crisp light brown.
Drain  on paper towels and serve with hot, sweet milky tea. :-D


  1. Hey this vada has been a favorite during my college days as it was made in the canteen n with chai or coffee it used to be a great great snack...

    Interestingly in the north , strong tea is called 'cutting chai' you say 'kattan'....

    whenever i make it at home , it is really tough to keep the daal mixture dry enough to make the vadas flat n not puffy....any tips?

  2. I wanted to make this from long time.Thanks for sharing the recipe

  3. bumped in here for the first have a lovely space with delicious collection of recipes..enjoying those fritters..looks yummy...

  4. I like the story of the tea and how you describe your interpretation. A nice combination of food and drink. Thanks for participating.

  5. Sangeeta, thanks!
    The traditional tea-shop parippu-vada is usually puffy. At home we make it slightly less thick and crispier. The only thing I can think of is using less water in the grinding process; sprinkle water while grinding if needed, plus we do not grind the onions and green chillies alongwith, which will also reduce the moisture content. Hope this helps.
    You're welcome Subhashini.
    Thanks Suman and Simona.

  6. This I am going to make tomorrow. :)

  7. Just love this crispy parippu vada with coffee, makes me drool..

  8. Nostalgia! love the photographs with banana leaf, old newspaper and vada.

  9. Dear Q
    Just back from my bread earning trip to Taipei..beautiful city...and quickly going through the missed ones....Humm I learnt few new words " Pulled tea", " Neo liberal imperialistic version"..I am going to try this phrase indiscriminately while talking to SOMEONE and friends too...ha ha
    I always wanted to try this Vada at home , but never did it...During my Kuwait days the pulled tea and this vada was my staple snack days in days out...
    have a nice week ahead

  10. Happy to see you back Ushnishda!:-D :-D
    This milky version might clash with the frugality associated with Parippu Vada and Chai, staple for the working 'man' comrades/party workers and all such higher beings...the connotations of it being presented thus,carefully choreographed might also not be upto-froth !!!:-D And so, that particular movie scene becomes quite telling..:-D

  11. I just had it today...yumm with coffee too!

  12. Yes, it works with coffee too!Thanks Preeti.

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for ur kind words of to be in ur blog too

    And Vada looks perfect crisp and inviting! :)

  14. Those look amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. wow, I love the vada on banana leaves look :)

  16. Thanks Ananda, Melodie and Priya

  17. Hai
    thanks for yr comments in my blog. I am a fan of yr pictures. The picture in the header attracted me because my father had also this type lunch box. that picture evoked lot of memories and glad to know that you became so nostalgic by seeing some shots in my blog. Thanking you once again for dropping by
    wishing you a nice day

  18. A mouthwatering combo! just love it :-)

  19. Wow loved the recipe....the crispy look is making drooling here...

  20. here is the salad recipe u asked for:-

    Grate cucumber upto 1 cup. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and 2 green chillies finely chopped. Mix them with salt and add 1 tbl spn of lime juice. Give a mustard seed(rai) ka tadka (seasoning) and you are done.

  21. Your post is so nostalgic..chayayum vadayum is a great combo..I love to have a palayamthodan pazham with vada :-)

  22. Thanks Sarah and friend liked to smear butter and fold it inside a slice of bread!

  23. Good one.. The chai kada tale does conjure beautiful images of Kerala and especially mal movies. Very nice post. Had a roll walking the memory lane and passing chai kada's one after the other. Safely etched memories reawakened. Thanks. Loved the ela and malayalam news paper too. Good luck with the entries.

  24. Hi,

    My first time here...great recipe...


  25. Hi,

    My first time here...lovely blog...


  26. Really, it is criminal, this blog you write & the pictures. If someone is dieting they should instantly bar your site. For instance, right now I will gladly step out and order the most sinful thing on earth, your post has made me so hungry! And to think I was fine before I came here.


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