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Masala vadai

7 tips for the perfect oven baked chana dal masala vadai you’ll love every time

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 14 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Cuisine: Sri Lankan


  • 500g chana dal
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp Maldive fish (optional)
  • 1 large red onion 
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cms ginger 
  • 1 green chilli
  • A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray


  • Soak the dhal in a bowl of cold water for two hours before draining and setting it aside
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  • In a small frying pan, on low heat, dry roast the dried spices, and curry leaves. When the fragrance is released from the spices, take off the heat and set it aside
  • Grind the Maldive fish in a pestle and mortar and set it aside
  • Take the chana dal, and in a food processor blitz it into a grainy pulp – you should be able to see whole pieces of the dhal within the pulp. Tip this into a bowl
  • In the food processor blitz the onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli  and coriander – again to a pulp and tip into the bowl with the pulped chana dal
  • Add the spices and the Maldive fish into the bowl with the chana dhal, add a little salt to taste
  • Using your hands mix everything together 
  • Again using your hands mould the chana dal mix to a golf-ball sized ball then flatten to chubby disc. You’ll need to give the lentils a good squish and a squeeze for the chana dal to clump together
  • I place the vadai onto a fish slice then nudge the vadai onto the  baking tray, which I’ve sprayed with vegetable oil to prevent sticking
  • You may need a couple of trays, and pop in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • Take out, leave to cool, whip up a dip, and serve


Equipment needed:

  • Small frying pan to dry roast the spices
  • Bowl to soak the chana dal, another to mix the dal
  • A colander
  • A food processor
  • Two baking trays
  • A fish slice

Keywords: chana dal