Chana Dal Pakora or Dal Vada Recipe- revised
250 gm (8.8 oz) Bengal Gram (Channa/ Chana Dal)
1 1/2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
2-3 finely chopped green serrano chili
2-3 cloves (Loung?)
1 stick (1 inch) cinnamon bark (dalchini)
salt to taste
Cooking Oil for deep frying
Chutney to serve- mint or cilantro chutney is lovely. Mint AND cilantro chutney is also nice. A red tomato chutney or even ketchup offers a nice contrast.
Soak 250 gm. (washed) Bengal gram for 5-6 hours. Strain the water and grind the strained dal along with crushed garlic, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon bark. It’s hard for the food processor to break up the cinnamon bark, so make sure to start with it. You may have to break up pieces by hand. Put the ground mixture in a bowl and mix finely chopped onions, fresh cilantro leaves, salt, and green chilies. Mix it well with spoon or by hand. Make round, flat patty shaped balls and deep fry on medium flame in oil heated on medium heat. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot! I find that it is very easy to burn the first few while trying to get the temperature right, but you’re shooting for a cooking period of about 2.5 minutes, then turn for 2.5 minutes more. If you fry them too fast, the inside will be raw, so you really want that type of extended frying period.
*Tip: Before you start frying, set up a cooling area with an (edged) cookie pan and a cooling rack. You can line the cookie pan with paper towels if you like, but place the fritters on the rack when they’re done. Then the oil can drip down but the fritter won’t get soggy like it would on a paper towel.
This is a South Indian recipe that our friends (originally from Northern India) had been introduced to by their son’s caretaker. They liked it so much they adopted the recipe- and after weeks in India drooling over all the gluten containing fried snacks I couldn’t have, it was a thrill for me to enjoy this in their home. I begged them to make it again when we visited their house a second time- and it was just as wonderful as I remember! Probably my favorite thing I ate over the entire duration of our trip. :)
I finally made this recipe in my own kitchen on the first day of summer because my local Celiac support group was having a potluck with an “indian foods” theme. I wanted to bring all my favorite recipes that I discovered while visiting India, so I made this recipe, as well as homemade rasgulla and aloo jeera. It was all sooo yummy! And everyone gobbled up the Dal Vada, because as DH put it- of course everybody wanted gluten-free fried goodness. :)