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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Aromas

Crispy Masala Vada

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Masala vada or Ambode is an awesome quick and easy south Indian snack. Few crispy masala vadas and a cup of chai or coffee makes a perfect evening.

There are many variations of masala vada. Here, I show how to make masala vada with chana dal, veggies, and herbs.

The key to making crispy vadas is blending the chana dal coarsely. Leaving some chana dal as is ( less blended) makes the vada crispy when fried.

I tried them in the air-fryer and with a little oil used to brush on the vadas to prevent them from drying out, they turned out great. If the vadas tend to dry out, feel free to brush with some oil as required while air-frying.

I have added Moringa leaves to the vadas, as I am trying to incorporate Moringa in every way possible. It gives a nice flavor to the vadas.


  • 1 cup chana dal

  • 4 green chilies

  • 1-inch ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 medium-sized onion

  • ¼ cup cabbage

  • A handful of Moringa leaves or Dill leaves

  • ¼ cup Coriander leaves

  • 1 tsp Saunf/Fennel Seeds.

  • 1 tsp Cumin/Jeera Powder (Optional)

  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice (Optional but recommended)

  • ¼ cup grated coconut (Optional)

Video Instructions

Written Instructions


  • Soak chana dal with 2 cups water for 3-4 hours. 3 hours is the minimum.

  • Finely chop Onion, Cabbage, Moringa/Dill leaves, Coriander leaves.

  • Grate Ginger and Garlic.

Making the Vada Mix

  • Drain all the water from chana dal and transfer it to a blender.

  • Blend it coarsely with some chana dal remaining as-is. This will give crispness to vadas.

  • Transfer it to a bowl.

  • Blend green chili, ginger, and garlic and add to chana dal.

  • Add finely chopped onion, cabbage, moringa leaves or dill leaves, and coriander leaves.

  • Add saunf.

  • Next, you can add jeera powder. This is optional. It enhances the flavor.

  • Now add the red chili powder. Alternately, you could also use 2-3 dry red chilies and blend them with green chilies.

  • Add salt and lemon juice.

  • Now you can add grated coconut if you like.

  • Mix everything well.

Making Vada

Deep-Fry Method

  • Make lime sized balls and flatten them into vadas.

  • Warm oil on medium flame.

  • Add vadas to oil and fry until golden brown.

Air-Fry Method

  • Pre-heat air-fryer at 350F/180C for 5 mins.

  • Cover the basket with parchment paper or baking paper.

  • Please the vadas on the air-fryer basket.

  • Brush all the vadas with little oil.

  • Air-Fry the vadas at 350F/180C for 10 mins.

  • Take the tray out and flip the vadas with help of a tong.

  • Brush with little oil

  • Air-fry again at 300F/148C for 8 mins. Take care not to burn by checking after 5 mins.

Enjoy the crispy vadas with ketchup or coconut chutney and a cup of hot tea or coffee!


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