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5 from 2 votes

Dal Vada

Chana Dal vadas are packed with tons of flavor, fried to crispy, crunchy perfection, and served with a spicy green chutney. Absolutely addictive and taste amazing. Serve it at your party, and there won't be any left!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 82kcal
Author Ruchi



  • Rinse and soak chana dal in 1 cup of water for 3 hours. Soaking helps to aid in digestion. 
  • After the soaking time, soaked lentils will swell in size. Discard the soak water and rinse the soaked dal well with tap water.
  • Transfer the lentils to a blender. Blend the dal until coarsely ground.
  • Transfer the lentils to a mixing bowl. Add onions, spinach, ginger, green chilies, peanut powder, cilantro leaves, curry leaves, and all the spices.
  • Use your hands or a spoon to mix the spices into the lentils thoroughly. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • Separate the dal vada mixture into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Then, gently flatten the ball into a vada. Use your fingers to smoothen the edges of the vada.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture. 
  • Heat oil in a pan.  To check if your oil has reached the frying temperature, put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil starts bubbling around the spoon, then the oil is ready. Add dal vada to the hot oil. Fry dal vada on medium heat for 4-6 minutes per side.
  • Work in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Depending on the pan size fry 4-5 vadas at a time. Fry until the dal vadas are deeply golden in color, turning them halfway through the cooking. 
  • Once cooked, transfer the dal vada to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess oil. Repeat this step until all the vadas are fried.



Cooking Tips and FAQ's
» Don’t have fresh spinach on hand? No worries.
  • For the days when I don’t have fresh spinach leaves handy, frozen chopped spinach is a huge time saver.
  • Squeeze the water out of the frozen spinach leaves and add it to the vada mixture. 
  • This is an essential step. Do not skip through it. Water in frozen spinach will make the dal mixture runny and difficult to handle. 
» Can you store Chana dal vadas? Absolutely!
  • You can easily store the cooked dal vadas in the freezer until needed.
  • Thaw the vadas on the counter and they can go directly from the freezer to the oven.
  • Reheat the vadas in a preheat oven (@375 degrees F) for 7-8 minutes or until warmed through. 
» Can you use other lentils for these vadas? You sure can!  
  • The possibilities with these masala vadas are endless.
  • Swap chana dal with yellow moong dal or mixed lentils works great too. 
» What else can you use instead of spinach? Other leafy vegetables like Kale leaves, swiss chard are the closest match. 
» Make sure the dal vada mixture doesn’t become sticky. For that follow these guidelines- 
  • While grinding, do not add water to the dal. 
  • No form of moisture should be added to the dal vadas.
  • The combined dal mixture should feel moist and not sticky. 
  • If the lentil mixture is sticky, then you need to add a little extra flour. You can add arrowroot flour or cornstarch to the vada mixture. 
  • Do not store the uncooked vadas in the fridge. Salt will draw the moisture out of the onion and spinach, and make the vadas soggy. 
» How else can you cook these dal vadas? You can bake them in the oven and still end up with deliciously, crispy vadas.
  • Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Take a cookie sheet and place a wire rack on top.
  • Grease the wire rack. Arrange the vadas on the wire rack and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden, turning them halfway through baking.
  • The wire rack will allow the air to circulate under the vadas, and will enable them to cook more evenly.
»  Can you cook these vadas in an Appe pan too? You sure can!
  • Heat the Appe pan on medium heat.
  • Brush the cavities of Appe pan with oil. 
  • Place the chana dal vadas in the greased cavities of Appe pan
  • Brush eat vadas on top with oil. 
  • Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes until golden brown, turning them halfway through the cooking process. 


Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 548IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg