Dhal vade (parippu vade, also spelled vada, vadai, wade) is the quintessential street food of south India and Sri Lanka. Whenever something is sold at street corners, train stations, rest stops and cricket games, you know that it must be really, really good. (Don’t you think that all over the world, street food always ends up being more fun than the “proper” meal?) I like to eat my vades with mango chutney, and I like to serve them at parties. Nothing is guaranteed to animate your crowd like tasty morsels of food from a far away country. The guests stand in line excited to try, they ask questions, they want to know the history of the dish, they come back for more. Didn’t I mention that street food is so much more fun -- and needles to say, compared to these pricy lamb chops you had in mind, incredibly budget friendly. —QueenSashy
yellow split peas or chana dal
crushed red chilies (I like to use a milder variety, such as Kashmir chilies)
Soak the split peas in cold water for about 4-6 hours. Drain the soaked peas in a colander. Divide the split peas into two equal parts. Process the first part in the food processor into a smooth paste. Process the second part in the food processor into a chunky paste. Mix. (Sometimes I reserve a handful of whole peas, and throw them into the mix for extra chunkiness.)
Crush the curry leaves. In a large bowl mix the peas, curry leaves, chilies, shallots, ginger and salt. Mix well. Add the chickpea flour and work it into the dough with your hands.
Pour enough oil into a deep bottom pan and heat over medium-high heat, until hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat to medium. Take a golf-ball size amount of the vade mixture, and form about 1/2 inch thick patty. Deep fry the vade until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the vades to paper towels to drain. Vades stay crispy for a long time, and you do not have to rush to serve right away.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.