Crunchy parippu vada is a favorite accompaniment with a cup of hot tea in Kerala. Traditionally it is made with thuvar dal. Both Channa dal and dried yellow split peas make a good substitute for thuvar dal.
2 cups of thuvar dal or yellow split peas
3 or 4 hot green chilies, finely chopped (less for milder taste)
Salt to taste
½ cup of thinly chopped onion
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
A few springs of curry leaves
6 cups vegetable, canola or corn oil for deep-frying
Soak thuvar dal in water for 3 to 4 hours, and drain in a colander. In a food processor combine three tablespoons of the soaked thuvar dal salt and process to a thick puree. Add the remaining soaked thuvar dal and grind coarsely. Since the dal absorbs water during soaking, there is no need to add extra water when processing. The ground mixture should be very thick so that it can be shaped into small discs. Remove from the processor, sprinkle chopped green chilies, onion, grated ginger, cilantro leaves and curry leaves and mix well. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan or wok to 350° F. When the oil is hot, wet the palms of your hand and shape about two tablespoons of the dal mixture into a 1 ½ to 2 inch round disc. Slide the vada gently into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining mix. Fry vadas for approximately 4 to 6 minutes till they turn golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain. Serve hot with tea.