Makes 15-20 vadas

Bengal gram - 3/4 cup
Roasted Bengal gram - 3 tsp
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Green chili - 4
Onion - 1
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Water - as required
Salt - as required
Oil - enough to deep fry

Optional Variations (any one at a time):
Vazhaipoo - 3/4 cup
Spinach - 1 cup


  1. Soak bengal gram in water for 45-60 mins.
  2. Finely chop onion and green chili.
  3. Chop the vazhaipoo if using and keep soaked in a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tbsp of yogurt.
  4. Wash and finely chop spinach leaves if using.


  1. Pulse the bengal gram without the water, roasted bengal gram, and fennel seeds in a food processor into a coarse mixture. A few whole pieces is expected. Make sure to not add any water. If the mixture is too dry and not getting ground, add 1-2 tsp of water and grind.
  2. If using vazhaipoo: remove half the ground mixture and keep aside. Add the vazhaipoo to the food processor with the remaining mixture and give it a few pulses.
  3. Combine the ground mixture with onion, green chili, rice flour, and salt. Mix in chopped spinach if using.
  4. If you are using airfryer to cook, mix 2 tbsp of oil to the mixture now.
  5. Make small flat patties with about 1 tbsp of the mixture in each.
  6. Fry them in any of the below methods:
    • Hot oil:
      1. Heat oil in a deep pot. To test if hot, add a drop of the mixture in the oil. It should start bubbling up and float to the top.
      2. Once oil is hot, add the vada patties in one by one making sure not to over crowd or overlap.
      3. Fry until the bottom starts looking golden brown and flip the patties to cook the other side. 4-6 mins per side.
      4. Once both sides look a deep golden brown, remove from oil and place on napkin to blot the excess oil.
    • Air Fryer:
      1. Lightly coat the wire in the air fryer basket with a little oil.
      2. Arrange the patties in one layer in the air fryer basket.
      3. Set the temperature to 400F and cook for 7 minutes.
      4. Open and shake the basket gently.
      5. Close and cook for another 7 minutes at 400F.
      6. Let it rest in the airfryer for a few minutes.
  7. Serve hot on its own or with coconut chutney or other side of your choice.