How to make Masala Vadai (Crispy Lenthil Cakes)
Before Frying

Masala Vadai/Parippu Vadai is considered as one of the popular street food in Sri- Lanka. This dish always brings back the happy childhood memories for me.

 As a kid growing up in Sri-Lanka, My mom would always take me to Wallewatte beach for our evening walks and getting piping hot Masala Vadai and coconut chick pea mix from street cart vendor was my favorite things to do.(besides screaming and jumping over the waves).

 I don't know if it was the salty air, coconut oil or the additives in the food, it always tasted better than any fancy restaurants I had dine in Colombo.

I tried to mimic the taste in my head with this recipe, it came out pretty darn good, really crispy and spicy with lots of green chilies inside.

Cooking time: 20 minutes
Preparation time: 2 hours


1 cup of split peas dal (Channa Dal)

2-3 dry red chilies, crushed (1 tsp red chilli flakes or 2 green chillies)

1 piece of ginger, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 strand of curry leaves, torn into small pieces

2 tbsp of rice flour

1 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)

2 cups of canola oil, for deep frying


1. Wash and soak the dal for 2 hours and drain the water.

2. Reserve 2-3 tbsp of the dal and grind the rest into an almost smooth paste without adding any water. Add the reserved whole soaked dal to this.

3. Take all of the dal in a bowl. Add the curry leaves, rice flour, ginger, salt, finely chopped onions to this. Mix everything well.

4. Dip your fingers in the bowl of water. Take a lime-sized ball of the mixture and make into a smooth ball.
5. Gently flatten the ball of about 1/4 thickness. Repeat with the rest of the dal mixture and lay these discs on a plate.
Note: Wet your fingers again when flattening the balls, making sure that it does not crack on the top or sides.

6. Heat oil to almost-smoking point and gently slide 2-3 of the vadai to it.

7. Fry until both sides turn golden brown.
8. Drain and set aside on a plate lined with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.