The weather has cooled down this week after a bout of heat last week, and before June bites the dust, I’m making sure that my tingling tongue remains “numbed” with the explosion of spiced up dishes and snacks in the pipeline 😉

I was so craving – again – for one of my childhood favourite snacks, the Masala Vada (Spiced dhall fritters).  I have a story on this and you can read it here.

Masala Vada, Masalvade, Cucur Roday, Vadai....whatever - a favourite snack in our household

Masala Vada, Masalvade, Cucur Roday, Vadai….whatever – a favourite snack in our household

Masala means spices and Vada is the disc shaped lentil (dhall) fritters, very popular in South India. We used to call these snacks “Cucur Roday”, definitely a misheard word, coined by the Kuchingites as “Roday” instead of Vada or Vadai or Vade. Cucur” is the Malay word for fritters or beignets in French.

Think Global, Act Local

With the migration of mostly South Indians to Malaysia and Singapore many, many years ago, even prior to the British colonization of Malaya, you would notice the strong influence of Indian cuisine on traditional Malay cuisine. Indian and/or Mamak restaurants are well received by Malaysians and Singaporeans from all walks of life. The roti canai has become one of Malaysia’s favourite breakfast dishes! Other dishes and snacks included the delectable curries in many forms, flavours and textures, Idiyappam (or putu mayam), nasi kandar, rojak pasembor, thosai (dosa), murukku and the lists go on…

Vada is a snack that has been a favourite in our household since time immemorial. I made this snack last weekend, trying to replicate the vada, I used to eat when I was a child growing up in Kuching, with the inclusion of the secret ingredient “hay bee” (dried shrimps).

I followed the recipe – with some modifications and adjustments – from the paperback, Hawkers Delight: A Guide to Malaysia & Singapore Hawkers’ Food (compiled by Jabbar Ibrahim and photographed by Tan Tai Peng)

Oh! Look at that sneaking hand.... :-D

Oh! Look at that sneaking hand…. 😀

Ingredients –

300g dhall chickpeas (I used 2 cups brown chickpeas, soaked overnight)

150g shrimps (I used 1 cup dried shrimps, soaked in lukewarm water)

2 large onions, chopped

3-4 dried chillies, chopped (I used 3 green chillies)

1 tsp meat curry powder (I used 1 Tbsp Yeo’s Malaysian curry powder)

½ tsp garam masala (I used 1 Tbsp of the self mixed 6 “C” spices *)

2 eggs, beaten (I used 3 eggs)

2 Tbsp flour, sifted (I did not use any flour)

1 tsp salt (I used ½ cube vegetable stock, plus some salt to taste)

1 sprig curry leaves, chopped (I used one handful dried curry leaves, crunched)

1 tsp fennel seeds (not in the recipe)

1 tsp lovage seeds (not in the recipe)

Half a carrot, chopped finely (not in the recipe)

5 sticks French beans (Haricots verts), chopped finely (not in the recipe)

2 roots of fresh coriander, minced (not in the recipe)

Oil for deep frying (I shallow fried my fritters)

*The 5 basic ingredients in Garam Masala are PepperCorns, Cumin, Cloves, Cinnamon and Cardamoms. I added the 6th C – Coriander. If you remember the “C’s” in the garam masala mixed spices, you will not go wrong.  That’s one trick I taught myself :-D

Since I had all the powdered form of the “C” spices, except cloves, I combined everything.  I then ground 3 fresh cloves to powder form and mixed that in the other “C” spices, which rounded up my Garam Masala mix. In hindsight, it would be better to dry roast the fresh spices and then blend them to powder form, just like I did my curry dish here.

Pre-soaked vs soaked (overnight) chickpeas.  The size doubled after soaking overnight and became al dente

Pre-soaked vs soaked (overnight) chickpeas. The size doubled after soaking overnight and became al dente

3c. Masala Vada_soaked chickpeas3d. Masala Vada_dried shrimps

3e. Masala Vada_chopped carrots+green beans3f. Masala Vada_garam masala

Method –

  • Clean the soaked chickpeas and grind/ blend coarsely.
  • Discard the water from the soaked dried shrimps and chop them roughly.
  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly including eggs, curry leaves, chopped carrots and French beans.  Leave the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I left mine for an hour or two.
  • If deep frying, rub a little flour on your hands and make disc-shaped dough and roll the flattened dough over the flour. I did not use flour but made the disc-shaped dough and shallow fried the fritters. (Note: the batter crumbled easily while handling and the key word was – whether you like it or not – PATIENCE 😉
Coarsely blended chickpeas with all the spiced mix and vegetables

Coarsely blended chickpeas with all the spiced mix and vegetables

Mix well to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Mix well to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Disc-shaped fritters, shallow fried in a pan

Disc-shaped fritters, shallow fried in a pan

....until crispy and golden brown

….until crispy and golden brown

It's worth the wait. YUMMY!

It’s worth the wait. YUMMY!

Once bitten, forever smitten :-D

Once bitten, forever smitten 😀

Vadas in mini cup liners?

By the way, I never owned a deep fat fryer, which is rather unusual for someone living in Belgium. It would definitely be easier to deep fry these vadas in the fryolator, however, without one, I became fidgety and thought out of the box.

It took me ages shallow frying the little gems, and suddenly I had a stroke of genius and baked some of the batter in little paper cup liners 😉

5. Masala Vada_mini cupcakes

Did they or did they not work?

Erm…let’s just say, stick to the conventional way.  After all, they’re  Hawkers’ delight 😛

6a. Masala Vada_frying vs baking

I am submitting this entry to the following  ‘blog hop-over’ events –

1Little Thumbs Up  with the theme “CURRY”, hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats well in Flanders, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite D.I.Y.


2Cook-Your-Books #1 organised by Kitchen Flavours.

Cook Your Books

By the way, I’ve said this before, carry on CURRY-ing 😉


Related posts –

  1. This is one of my favourite too! There’s another vadai, shaped like a doughnut, I love eating that! We used to buy these two types of vadai from the kacang putih seller that goes round with a bicycle when I was young, those kampung days! Boy, how I missed those days!
    We would eat the vadai with one whole fresh green chili, a bite of vadai with a bite of green chili! Delish and yummy, how I wish for one of your vadai now! Looks so good with all the spices and ingredients! Thank you for linking to Cook-Your-Books!

  2. melharry says:

    Cucor Rodey…one of our old time favorite. Only in Sarawak it is called as Cucor Rodey…
    lovely che, I hope you will do some when I go visit you. hehehe…..

  3. Nasifriet says:

    I only knew of the doughnut shaped vadai not so long ago, can you imagine this? The disc-shaped ones were and are very popular in Kuching. W Malaysians are so lucky with the huge arrays of Indian / Mamak dishes. I think this is in alignment with the population of the Indians in the States. There are not as many in Sarawak and Sabah compared to West Malaysia 😀

    I think the ” Kacang putih” you mentioned is equivalent to what Sarawakians say, ” kacang kuda” as horses love chickpeas. LOL! Oh yes, love the boiled ones served in conical shaped newspapers. Those were the days…

    WOW! you are a chilli girl. My late dad would do that with “tempuyak” – one chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli), ikan bilis and a mouthful of tempuyak and rice. That’s it…Ha ha ha!

    Cheers and will continue supporting your awesome Cook-Your-Books! 😀

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Yeah, right Da. Only in Sarawak are these little gems called Cucor Rodey/ Roday . LOL!
    Pls remind me when you’re here. Will definitely make these again. Oh yes, they’re pretty fibrous, and you know the outcome, right 😉

  5. Zoe says:

    Great thinking that you tried baking the fritters! – I wouldn’t think of this :p Never mind that it didn’t work, it is a good effort too thinking outside the “conventional box”.

    I wonder if there is any taste and texture difference between dhall and brown chickpeas…


  6. Nasifriet says:

    Ha ha ha! The baked fritters actually looked pretty. My sons thought they were sweet cakes (like muesli bar), and when they had their first bites…….LOL! if only you had seen their faces. Well, I was the only one who ate all the baked fritters and honestly speaking, I enjoyed nibbling the cup cake fritters. They were on the dry side, but the flavours were there. The fried ones tasted far more superior, like the originals, and my boys loved them 😀

    Oh BTW, I did post the vadai I made using the split Channa dhall ( I can tell you this. The whole (brown) Chickpeas took a longer time to become ” al dente”. You need to soak them overnight, or you’ll end up chipping your teeth with the raw/ stone-textured chickpeas 😀 Channa dhall taste great. It has that nutty flavour, quite sweet and crispy when fried. The brown chickpeas were great, too, less crispy and the flavour of the chickpeas were not so pronounced – maybe due to the overnight soaking. I did change water a few times…

  7. […] Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight ( […]

  8. Chris says:

    Hello Isadora! Happy Summer!!! Sorry I miss so many of your posts…you’ve been a busy beaver. 😀 Things have been a bit crazy around here – Keith and I are so sleep-deprived due to our grieving and depressed pup…..not sure what to do, we’re just hanging in there but I sooooo NEED sleep. This dish looks yummy…send some over…actually send some of your paos over first. 😀 I wanted to ask if have a recipe on how to make the popular salty, crunchy, channa dhall snack (I think it uses channa dhall)? You would eat it like those roasted green peas snack. If you don’t, it’s okay. Miss ya lots…..hope you are doing well.

  9. Nasifriet says:

    Hey there Chris!

    I’m really, really glad to hear from you again! Miss reading you 😀 It’s been ages…
    I cannot imagine how you, Keith and Alex have to go through the sad moment losing a loved one again in such a short span of time. Will getting a “replacement” help? I mean another pup 😀

    Thanks! This is the 2nd time I made these beauties. The first time I used split channa dhall which was absolutely great. This time, I used brown whole chick peas. Great, too, but the soaking took a long time to get the peas al dente 😀

    Oh yes, I know what you meant!! Love those “kacang”, too. Very addictive, isn’t it? I’ve never done it, but I’m sure it’s not difficult. Gotta find a recipe for that 😉

  10. […] Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight […]

  11. […] cucur roday or masala vada(i) a few times aleady on my own. You can find the recipes on my blog: Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight and Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late […]

Let me know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s