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 .