Masala Masoor vadai – Brown lentil fritters

masoor vadai with brown lentils

Whenever there is a sadhya, banana leaf meal on the horizon, the first things we look forward to is the vadai and payasam. All the other items on the plate are immaterial if the vadai and payasam don’t feature against that green leafy background. The sugar fatigue, while you consume a ladle full of the warm payasams, is broken with the salty slightly spicy break while consuming the vadai fritter.

What makes vadai click?

Among the melange of Indian recipes, the fritters feature a couple of times during the day. We South Indians love the crunch lentil bite of vadai to have for breakfast. At lunch, we love to treat ourselves to a bit more of the vadai and then carry over the love to the evening snack.
Vadai comes as medhu vadai or as parippuvadai. The softer medhuvadai pairs well with the pillowy soft steamed idlis, the coconut chutney and piping hot sambhar. Whereas the crunchier parippu (lentils and dals) vadai features more like snacks. The easiest equation of this vadai to any of the global foods is to falafel. The soft inside and the crunch of the crispy exterior is actually what clicks. Mind you, it is a highly addictive snack.

masala masoor vadai

Making the Masala masoor vadai.

Traditional parippuvadai are made with Bengal gram. No offence, but there are a ton more options. My local market carries brown lentils, these are so much easier to procure than the long drive to the Indian grocery store. So we have been experimenting with brown lentils. The masoor vadai with this brown lentil is softer and pairs well with Kerala paal payasam and ada prathaman. When serving for teatime, try it with pudina chutney or green chutney and a cup of masala tea. 

The major time spent on this recipe is to just soak the brown lentils. The rest of it is as quick as grind mix and fry. Follow the recipe card below for the detailed recipe and step by step images to guide you through the making of this vegan, gluten-free, brown lentil fritters.

Hope you like the recipe and the pairings. Do subscribe and leave us your comments. 

masoor vadai with brown lentils

Masala Masoor Vadai

Deep fried vegan fritters perfect for that sadhya on a banan leaf or a snack at teatime.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
soaking time for the lentils. 4 hours
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian


  • deep fryer


to soak the whole brown lentils

  • 1 cup brown lentils ( whole masoor )
  • 3-4 cup drinking water

to make the vadai batter

  • 4 shallots
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste

For deep frying the fritter.

  • 3 cups cooking oil


  • Wash and soak the lentils for 3-4 hours.
    soaked brown lentils
  • Drain the lentils after the time and place it in the processor.
  • Add some peeled shallots, red chilli powder, cumin powder, and salt into the processor.
    vadai mix
  • Blend this mix to a smooth mix adding water only if needed.
    batter for the fritter
  • What you need is a coarse mix which will hold shape when pressed together .
  • Collect this mix in a bown and set aside till the oil heats up.
  • Set your deep fryer at 180 degree or oil in a kadaii ( frying pan)
  • Shape the batter into small balls and place it on the palm of your hand and gently press to flatten it out slightly.
  • Drop this gently into the oil and continue shaping more out of the batter.
  • When you have about 5 to 8 in the deep fryer, watch for the ones that stop sizzling and flip over to cook the other side.
  • Once both the sides are golden brown, remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
    vadai in hot oil.
  • Place on a serving tray and serve with chutney.
    masoor vadai with brown lentils
  • Store in a tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
    vadai with brown lentils
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5 8 votes

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Lata Lala
3 years ago

Whole masoor dal is generally made in curry form at our place. Making fritters out of it is a wonderful idea.

vadai sounds super delicious as a perfect tea time or any time snack. I am happy to have found this awesome masoor dal recipe here Seema.

3 years ago
Rating :

😀 I love you, Seema. I have a huge jar of masoor and hubby has threatened to throw it all out if I make bhaji or dal with it! I bet he will not throw away the vadai! Thanks, you are. a lifesaver or a masoor saver.

3 years ago
Rating :

This is such a delicious masala vada recipe using brown lentils. Very new to me and thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.

Uma Srinivas
Uma Srinivas
3 years ago
Rating :

vadai is the perfect tea-time snack! love the texture and color of the masoor vadai. Looks delicious!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan
Sandhya Ramakrishnan
3 years ago
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OMG! I have only used whole masoor for dal and kichadi and this vadai was such a brilliant idea. We love whole masoor and this will be something that I will make regularly. Thanks for sharing!

Poonam bachhav
3 years ago
Rating :

Masala badai with whole masoor sounds like a perfect tea time snack. Would love giving your version a try.

Mayuri Patel
3 years ago
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Seema you’re so right, whenever a festival platter of food is served we all get excited with the sweet dish and the fried snack too. Masala Masoor Vadai, wow, they look so crunchy. Wouldn’t mind just having those on their own.

3 years ago
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Masoor dal Vadai looks so delicious and crispy ..I have never tried vada with masoor dal. It sounds super tempting, will give it a try .

Priya Srinivasan
3 years ago
Rating :

Making vadai with whole masoor dal is a brilliant idea seema! I use lot of whole masoor in my regular cooking, this vadai would be a great evening snack! perfect with tea!

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