Lentil and spinach vadai

Neil Bentinck

Neil Bentinck

12th October 2016
Neil Bentinck

Lentil and spinach vadai

⁣‘ vadai, vadai, vadai ‘ cry the
streethawkers of India as they sell these tasty morsels … this little snack
packs in plenty of flavour and is one of the most popular dishes at skosh


  • ⁣For the vadai –
  • 400g chana dahl (yellow split lentils)
  • 100g baby leaf spinach
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 100g vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • 100g white onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp. grated garlic
  • ½ tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2 long green chillies, de-seeded and finely
  • diced
  • handful chopped coriander
  • Aubergine puree –
  • 2 large aubergines
  • splash veg oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 veg oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 1tsp garlic
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and diced
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp ground cumin
  • .5 tsp garam masala
  • pinch ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Preheat the oven to 220*C.


⁣For the vadai –
Firstly soak the lentils for 1 hour in cold
water. While the lentils are soaking
prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Add the spinach to a large frying pan with
the water and quickly cook till wilted.
Drain and set aside to cool. When cool, roughly chop.
out the frying pan and add the vegetable oil over a medium heat to warm
Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to
‘crackle’. Remove half for later and then add the onions and salt. Soften over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Tip the onions into a large bowl, add the
chopped spinach, garlic , ginger, chillies and coriander.
Drain the lentils, and puree to a coarse
paste. Add to the onion mixture and mix well. Season to taste with salt and lemon
juice. Roll into small golf sized balls
and leave to chill in the fridge whilst you make the aubergine puree.
Aubergine puree –
Preheat the oven to 220*C.
Rub the aubergines with the oil and pinch
of salt and roast on a flat baking sheet for 30 – 40 mins till soft. Alow to cool then split in half and scrape
out the flesh. Place the flesh in a colander and gently press with a ladle.
leave to drain for 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a pan overta medium heat
and add the cumin seeds to ‘crackle’.
Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, chilli and
salt and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Next add the ground spices and cook for 1
minute. Add the aubergines to the through
then puree in a blender till smooth adding the butter at the end.
Reserve and keep warm.
To serve, preheat a deep fat fryer to 170*C
or use a tall, medium sized pan filled halfway with vegetable oil on your stove
top, with a thermometer attached, and raise the temperature slowly to 170*C (be
very careful when working with hot oil disclaimer entered here!). To test add a small piece of bread which
should brown in around 1 minute.
Gently heat the aubergine puree in a small
deep fry the vadai till golden brown and
hot on the inside( 2 – 3 minutes ), drain onto a paper towel lined tray and
sprinkle with maldon sea salt.
Place spoonfuls of the puree on small
plates and top with a few vadai. Drizzle
the reserved curry oil on top and garnish with good old fashioned mustard
cress. Enjoy with a crisp lager.

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