The Covid-9 Pandemic of 2020 not only had us all locked down in our home but there were scores of people who were visiting relatives or trying to earn their livelihood far away from home and who could not get back. While it was easier staying in the comforts of one’s own home, I can only imagine how unnerving it was for those away. How they waited endlessly to be back home – cause home is where the heart is! It was a sad situation and also satirical that besides all the things going on in the mind we also start to desire food items that we wouldn’t have given a second thought to otherwise. I have had numerous people asking me to put up certain recipes or asking for tips or advice making something that they had started to crave in the lockdown and also for some the challenge was to cook with limited resources. I tried my best trying to help as much as I could. Let me introduce you, here, to Dr. Merlyn D’Costa, my aunt-in-law, Sean’s Godmother, who is also the person through whom Sean and I met and we became #seanina. Merlyn Aunty happened to be visiting her daughter in Canada and was due to return but couldn’t because of the Covid-19 lockdown. We chatted occasionally and on one occasion she asked me to put up a recipe for Chana Dal Wada / Vada. She was craving them there in Canada and so I decided to put up one soon. So here’s the recipe for Chana Dal Wada / Vada especially for you Merlyn Aunty.
Yield: 10 to 12 Wadas
Prep. Time: 20 Mins + Soaking
Cooking Time: 20 Mins
[ Standard Measure: 1 cup = 250 ml ]
- Chana Dal [Split Bengal Gram] – 1 cup
- Rice Flour – 2 tsp.
- Onions (finely chopped) – 2 small
- Fresh Red / Green Chillies (broken) – 6 to 8
- Ginger (peeled, cut into pieces) – 1 ½ inch
- Corriander Leaves (chopped fine) – ½ to ¾ cup
- Fennel – ½ tsp. or a little more
- Cumin – ½ tsp.
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp.
- Asoefoetida – ¼ tsp.
- Oil – to deep fry
- Salt – 1 tsp.
Step 1: Wash the chana dal and soak in sufficient water for 2 hours (do not soak longer than 2 hours). Later, drain the water completely using a strainer. Keep aside ¼ of the dal.
Step 2: Take the remaining ¾ soaked dal and divide into 3 portions. Take one portion of the dal and transfer to a chutney jar (the smallest jar) of a mixer-grinder. Add the pieces of ginger and chillies and the fennel and grind (for a few seconds) to a coarse paste (do not add any water). Transfer to a bowl. Then take one more portion in the jar and grind and then the third portion (I have ground the dal in three steps so that it remains coarse and loose and does not stick to the jar). Transfer all to the bowl.
Step 3: Add the onion, asoefoetida, cumin, rice flour, corriander leaves, salt, turmeric powder and the remaining unground dal that was kept aside and mix well. Divide into 10 to 12 portions.
Step 4: Place a pan with oil (sufficient for deep frying) on high heat. Once hot, switch the heat to medium.
Step 5: Grease your palms with some oil and take a portion of the Chana Dal Wada mixture and roll into a ball and then flatten to form a thin cutlet (It needs to be rustic. I do not bother to form it with smooth edges). Then gently drop them into the hot oil in the pan. Do this for more portions and fry 4 to 6 of them at a time on medium high heat (depending on you pan size and quantity of oil) till golden. Do not fry on high heat as the outsides will brown without the insides cooking.
Step 6: Drain from the oil and place on a plate lined with kitchen towels. Serve hot with a tomato kechtup (click here for a homemade ketchup recipe) or with fried chillies.
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