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Masala Vada

Masala Vada is an extremely popular fried South–Indian Snack item that is made using a mix of dal (lentils) and spices. Masala vada is sometimes also referred to as Paruppu vada, Kara vadai or Dal vadai in the South-Indian tongue as it is basically made using dals (i.e.Paruppu) and spiced with finely chopped green chillies. This vada is quite different from the other normal black gram dal vada in terms of its gritty texture and can be made with or without onions as one desires.

Ingredients and Preparation

Channa Dal or split Bengal gram dal, Rice flour or Rava, a half inch stick of Cinnamon [optional], Cloves [optional], Fennel Seeds, Red Chillies , Garlic cloves chopped finely, Ginger, Coriander Leaves finely chopped, Small Onions finely chopped, Salt to taste and Oil for deep frying.

Once the dal has been cleaned, washed and soaked adequately, it is drained and ground along with red chillies, ginger, cinnamon, cloves (optional) and fennel seeds to obtain a coarse paste. This is then mixed in a bowl along with finely chopped garlic, onions, coriander leaves, rice flour/rava, salt and mixed well. The batter formed is divided into uniform portions and pressed into circles using hands prior to frying in hot oil till golden brown. After draining excess oil on a tissue paper towel, it is served hot along with choice of chutneys.

Nutritive Value

A serving size of 2 ‘Masala vadas’ or Paruppu vadais ~ 120 g provides-

• A total of ~100 calories, calories from fat being 10.2 calories.

• Total fat content of 1.4 g, saturated fat content of 0 g, polyunsaturated fat 0.5.

• Sodium content of 75 mg and Potassium content of 330 mg.

• Total carbohydrate content of 19 g with sugar 5 g and dietary fibre content of 4 g with other carbohydrate components making up the remainder.

• Total protein content of 43.8 g.

• Estimated percent calories from fat is 11.9%, from carbohydrates is 69.9 % and from proteins 18.1 %.

Nutritional Improvement

Use of Bengal gram dal provides a good source of protein (17.1 g/100 g) and hence provides a feeling of satisfaction and once eaten keeps the stomach full for some time. This would be a fairly good source of iron too (9.1 mg/100g). Additional ingredients that may help enhance the nutritive value are-

• Grated carrot can add not only colour but also a good amount of Vitamin A but also beta carotenes and other phytonutrients like polyacetylenes that have been specifically studied to inhibit proliferation of colon cancer cells. It also adds good amounts of Vitamin K, fibre, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese apart from lutein and other antioxidants that offer protection from free radical damage. Carrots offer anti-cancer, cardio protective and vision benefits.

• Similarly using curry leaves can provide a distinctive taste to the vadas, increase fibre, Vitamin A content while promoting digestive health and assist diabetics in maintaining blood glucose levels. Small amounts of Calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin C may also be obtained.

Suggested Accompaniment

A hot cup of ginger-elaichi tea would be the perfect combination with masala vadas that can be dipped in green mint chutney for best results.

Where to Buy

Masala Vadas are easily obtained in the smallest restaurants across South India but can also be picked up at local tea-stalls and is a common savoury item sold at railway stations to satisfy evening hunger pangs.