AMBODE / MASALA VADA / DAL VADA / SPICY BENGAL GRAM PATTIES
Today i’m sharing with you all one of our family favorite recipe from my native state Karnataka.It is called as “Ambode / Masala Vada ” or simply spicy Bengal gram patties / dal vada as called by all.It is a commonly seen street food in Karnataka and now famous all over India .It is almost the first choice of spicy snacks when it comes to festivals or festive occasions in Karnataka .
Masala Vada is basically lentil based deep fried snack.Soaked bengal gram is ground to rough paste with few spices and deep fried to get golden brown fritters.The crispy crunchy vada with few whole lentils and the aroma of fresh herbs and spices used,makes this vada a rather special treat with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They are also served as an accompaniment with sambar rice in the proper South Indian Thalis during festivals.Good thing about these vadas are they taste good even if they have turned cold .
My mom makes good Ambodes. Whenever she makes them ,she slips to good old days of her childhood where she would buy some of those insanely delicious Masala Vadas from a street vendor named Sugreeva in her town and she always tells us that till now she hasn’t tasted any masala vada as tasty as his.Few people has some magic in their hands probably…
Those of you who are used to the shop bought ones, and are very skeptical whether you would succeed making them at home, i assure they are so so simple.The only thing you need to take care is making a coarse paste of bengal gram… do follow the steps carefully and a tasty masala vada is all yours. You can make plain / with onion / dill leaves etc.. today i am showing masala vada with sill leaves or sabsige soppina ambode as called in Karnataka .Let us get on with the recipe, without much ado.
Soak bengal Gram for 3-4 hours.Drain the excess water from the dal and keep aside.
In a mixer,grind half the quantity of soaked bengal gram and the remaining ‘to grind’ ingredients to a coarse paste.Do not add water.The moisture in the lentils would be sufficient.
To this paste,add the remaining soaked lentils and just ‘pulse‘ the mixer a few times. Make sure to not grind it to paste.You should be able to see a few whole lentils as is. That is the texture we want for a crispy ‘Ambode’.
Transfer it into a wide bowl.
To that add chopped (onion,dil leaves,green chillies,Coriander leaves,curry leaves),rice flour,hing and hot oil. Mix well .Taste test.Adjust salt n spice level. If you want you can add little red chilly powder.Batter is ready .
To make vadas / patties:
Place oil in a kadai / frying pan on medium high flame.
Take a lime-sized ball of the mixture and pat them onto the greased palm of your left hand and shape them as a disc.Ref notes
Repeat with the rest of the dal mixture and lay these discs on a lightly greased plate / foil.
When the oil is hot enough (Ref Notes), gently slide the patty into the oil from a safe distance.At a time you can add 3-6 vadas depending on the size of your kadai . Do not overcrowd them.
Cook it on a medium heat until golden brown on both the sides.
Drain it on a paper towel & repeat the procedure with the remaining dough balls.
Enjoy the crunchy masala vadas as a starter or as an accompaniment with your rice.
Serve the Masala Vada hot with some equally steaming hot tea/coffee.
While patting vadas, you can either do it as full thin disc or little fat ones.Both taste good.Difference is that the thinner discs would be full crispy and latter would be crispy and crunchy outside and little soft inside.
To check the readiness of the oil, drop a small ball of dough (say around the size of the lemon seed). If the dough ball raises above the oil in a couple of seconds, the oil is hot enough to drop in the patties.
You can add 1-2 tbsp of extra rice flour to the coarse dal mix if : The dal mix just turned little watery / They are not binding together. You are having a tough time in giving them desired shape / They are breaking in oil
Variations : The ambodes are so versatile that there are so many variations of it ...
You can just omit dil leaves rest keep same .
You can tweak in pudina or methi leaves or any other herbs of your choice.
You can add some veggies like carrot or capsicum etc
If you are making for festive occasions you can avoid onions .They till taste good.
Substitute green chillies with red chillies.
Few add crushed saunf / jeera / garlic for extra flavor .