Crispy Lentil Fritters (Parippu vada)

  Parippu Vada is something you will find in all tea stalls in Kerala along with the ubiquitous Pazham Pori or plantain fritters. I had posted the recipe for pazham pori before in a post where I shared some lovely pictures of Kerala.  To me nothing says Kerala more than plates of pazaham pori and parippu vadas served with steaming cups of chaaya (tea as it is called in malayalam).  When we were kids, we used to wait for parippu vada vendors to come in our train whenever we traveled to Kerala. The many pleasures of journeying by train (it took us 32 hours from Mumbai! ) included eating mom’s home made snacks, playing cards perched on the top berth, watching beautiful scenery go passing by and who can forget these vadas! Savoring these hot tasty vadas… gulping them down with a cup of coffee was what made these ‘2 day’ trips totally memorable and satisfying 🙂

DSC_0529Whenever I ask my husband for ideas on appetizer dishes, his instant response will be ‘Parippu vadas’! He just loves them and cannot have enough of them. That’s him – my simple fella – No gourmet dishes for him please! Give him his chaaya, parippu vada and a newspaper to make his day!

Looking at Sri Lankan recipes lately for my ‘Around the world’ series I realized that parippu vadas are quite popular in Sri Lanka too!

This is a simple recipe however grinding the lentils is a crucial step and its important to grind them coarsely using very little water or no water at all.  Use the large size jar of the food processor.  I use my Ninja Master Prep blender for grinding this.

Crispy Lentil Fritters (Parippu vada)
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Crispy Spicy lentil fritters that are a great protein packed snack or a delicious side to any meal!
  • 2 cups Toor dal (yellow lentils) washed and soaked in water for 6 hours or more (up to 12 hours)
  • 1 inch by 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4-6 green chillies, chopped fine (use less or omit if you don't like biting into green chillies)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 dry red chillies (optional - omit if you don't want too spicy)
  • 8-10 fresh curry leaves, chopped roughly
  • ¾ tsp salt
  1. Drain the water from the soaked dal (lentils). Reserve about 2 tbsp of the dal and place the rest in a food processor and grind it using very little water - about 1-2 tbsp or so not more. The ground mixture should be very thick. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the ground dal mixture and the reserved dal and mix using a spoon.Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Test the oil by adding a drop of the mixture. If it comes up immediately then the oil is ready. Keep heat on medium. Using your hands make small patties of the dal mixture into the oil and deep fry turning it once so that the patties are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Drain on paper towels.Serve the vadas hot with coconut chutney or ketchup.
Reserving a few whole lentils gives the vadas additional crispiness and texture.
Make sure to use very less water while grinding and grind only to a coarse mix and not fine; the mixture needs to be shaped into patties so it needs to be thick. If you add too much water to grind, you will get a loose batter and then you will not be able to make the vadas.

Parippu Vada


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  1. Thanks for sharing another tempting recipe. Are yellow lentils the same as yellow split peas? If not, can I substitute with green, brown or red lentils which are available locally? Will these fritters keep in hot weather for hiking trips? Can I skip the curry leaves? I am unlikely to be able to obtain them where I live.

    • hi there, yes yellow split peas will do. or you can substitute with other lentil types. Only thing make sure when you grind to add water slowly since you want a thick paste to be able to make the fritters. yeah you can skip curry leaves and add cilantro leaves or any other herbs.

  2. These sound wonderful and train trip sounds memorable. I traveled by train throughout Ukraine a few years back. It was an enjoyable way to travel. Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you bring this week!

  3. Parippu vada is not something we have tried (yet!) and we might even try baking them. They look and sound amazing- definitely another lovely lentil-based meal to add to our meal planning! 🙂

  4. Wow–what picturesque memories you shared! I can imagine these fresh flavourful fritters being the perfect snack on the train (and what a long train ride–though it sounds so fun!). Memories that come with food are more appetizing than something fancy schmancy any day! 🙂

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