Monday, May 3, 2010

Spinach and Mint Paruppu Vadai (fritters made with lentils and greens)

If you were taking a road trip in India, you are more than likely to stop under the cool shade of a tamarind tree for a break to stretch your legs or to spread out a picnic meal and hard to resist a taste of the tender green tamarind. The roads leading to my grandparent's village were lined with Jamun trees and during season tasting those mud splattered fruits was a delight unto itself. Should we say thanks to King Ashoka? He was instrumental in promoting the planting of roadside fruit trees and rest areas.

Split peas ready to hit the blender with the spices

Contrast this to trees on the road side here in the US, they are invariably trees that don't flower or fruit and exception being a few weeks in a year when they will be in a blaze of color. Seeing rows and rows of trees is no doubt pleasurable but it was surprising for me as a new immigrant not to see a lone fruit tree. May be an occasional crab apple tree usually on older residential streets but none on the interstates or rest areas. The obvious reasons that come to your mind are all the reasons that they you do not see them. Nuisance from birds and falling fruit littering the streets being most common. I only wished there were more serious reasons for not planting fruit trees!

blended dal

Paruppu vadai, bhajjis and medhu vadai. What do these snacks remind you of? Good Times? They always remind me of my summer vacation at my maternal grandparent's with a house full of aunts and uncles and cousins . Whenever a choice was offered invariably the bhajji or medhu vadai got the most votes, paruppu vadai never had a chance. Not that I missed it much. I preferred medhu vadai and so picked it when I was ready to deep fry. Latha of A Peek into My Kitchen had these crunchy and very tasty looking Mint Vadais and a thought slowly crept into my mind result of which are these Spinach Paruppu vadais.

Blended dal mixed in with the greens
Another important requirement for these snacks is to share it with good company and that is what we did. Our good friends came over for an impromptu snack eating and chatting.

Recipe Adapted From: Mint Vadai at A Peek into My Kitchen


Spinach and Mint Paruppu Vadai
1. 2 cups green split peas (yellow split peas or channa dal can be used)
2. 1/4 cup toor dal
3. 5 red chilies
4. 1 tsp fennel seeds
5. 2 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1/2 tsp asfoetida

7. 1 cup finely chopped onions
8. 6 green chilies chopped fine
9. 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
10. 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
11. 1 cup chopped mint leaves
12. a handful of chopped curry leaves
13. salt to taste
14. peanut oil for deep frying

1. Wash the split peas and toor dal and soak for 2-3 hours
2. Discard and remove water completely save a handful of the dal and blend the rest with the first 6 ingredients and salt to a slightly coarse mixture.
3. Heat the oil in a pan to deep fry
4. Mix in the chopped greens , saved dal and salt to the dal mixture
5. Take a small lemon sized dal mixture, pat in the palm the hand to make a flat pattie
6. Drop in the oil and fry on both sides to golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve with cucumbers/carrots and some tomato sauce on the side.

1. Add the greens and onions just before making the vadais
2. Wash and pat dry the greens completely before chopping and adding to the dal mixture.
3. Less the moisture less in the dal mixture the less oil the vadai will absorb while frying.

Off this will go to Blog Bites #3: Adaptation over at our favorite blog One Hot Stove.


  1. Your description of your grand-parents place is making me so nostalgic! I so remember the tamarind trees in my grandma's house.. good old days... the vadais look delicious, perfect to treat some nostalgia with tea.

  2. Crunchy and Yummy Vadais. Loved the addition of fennel seeds. I usually add it to masala vadai. Glad you tried it.

  3. My stash of split green peas is almost over - we don't get those or even yellow split peas here. Any substitute? Actually, I saw a packet of yellow split peas in a supermarket but it was old and v costly, didn't know if they were really worth that much!

  4. Crispy vadais looks elegant and yumm!

  5. Just the thought of eating those tenger green tamarinds make me drool. I so remember the school days when we used to eat them whole way from the bus stop to home :-)
    I have never made anything with split peas othe than german soup. This looks really a wonderul idea to use the split pea.

  6. Sra, it is usually called vadai paruppu or pattani paruppu I think. Skip it and use kadalai paruppu. Channa dal will make a good substitution and methi or amaranth leaves for the spinach.

  7. Lovely lookin vadai!! Adding the greens was a great idea.

  8. I've not used this paruppu before. I too prefer ulundhu vadai and like to make that when we decide to deep fry :) But the crispness of paruppu vadai with the fresh mint must also be irresistible.

  9. hey wow nice one..remembered my college canteen..same fritters

  10. Vada looks so crispy and delicious. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Yes, there are seeds in the custard apple (cherimoya), I scooped out the pulp and removed the seeds using a fork.

  11. Summer vacation in India used to be so much fun. Vadai with mint eh? I will gobble them anytime

  12. Oh those look so so good! Nothing like a deep-fried snack over a cozy chat with friends :)

    Thanks so much for the lovely entry!

  13. recipe sounds interseting, nice variation with mint.

  14. Hi Indo, good to be back. They took almost 7 weeks to fix it, it was ready last week but I took my time! :)

    Hope weather is good there, we are already having a Summer heat already, severe allergy season here and to add, had a Tornado hit our next door neighborhood too,destroyed many houses but we are fine though.

    I remember these green beans, we use to eat fresh off the branches still in the pods, so sweet and yummy. Vadas looks mouthwatering. I did fry Dal vadas after almost 5 months of not frying at all, that's a record!!:D

    Happy Mother's day, enjoy.

  15. Crispy and yummy vadais...mmm mouthwatering:)

  16. Oh man! I must make this! As soon as this diet gets over, I'll make this one.

    Raw tamarind stories - I have quite a few but the one that I remember often is how me and my friend persuaded our biology teacher to pick us some puliyangai that falls right inside the small yard accessible only from the staffroom! :)

  17. Wow, vadai here too! Love this combo. Great way to push in greens to kids! Love these kind of vadai with a strong cup of tea!

  18. Lovely green vadas...My father's house has several big tamarind trees and your story is making me nostalgic :-)


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