Parippu Vada – Spicy and crunchy turtle fritters…

The crunchy and tasty ‘parippu vada’ is a favourite snack, mainly of Kerala and also other parts of South India. This savoury snack, is served as an accompaniment with a cup of hot tea. The deep fried parippu vada, is a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity. These crunchy treats need no season or reason, as they are savoured often, in my home. Traditionally the parippu vada is made only with tur dal/yellow split pigeon peas. Nowadays, the Bengal gram is also mixed with the batter to give it a nice crunchy taste.

The Indian snack ‘vada’ is made in different varieties and methods. To list a few we have:

Maddur vada – A unique snack item Karnataka.

Uddina Vada – This is a snack made from urad dal/split black gram. It is a common street food in Karnataka.

Medhu vada – The vada is prepared with a hole in the centre. This is another favourite South Indian snack.

Thayir vada or Dhai vada – The vadas are served immersed/soaked in curd.

Sambar Vada – Here the vadas are soaked in sambar and served.

Vengaaya Vada – This is a type of vada made with onions as it’s main ingredient.

Parippu Vada– Made mainly of tur dal/split pigeon peas, is also called ‘aamai vadai’ which means ‘turtle fritters/patties’.

Rava Vada– This is made of Semolina

Masala Vada– Another favourite spicy snack served with hot tea.

Popular varieties of vada in Maharashtra include – Sabudana Vada– a deep fried pearl sago-potato dumpling; Bata Vada – potato mash patties coated with chick pea flour and deep fried; Vada Pav– a common street food, which is a fast food special native to this state, where the vadas are served with buns/pav(paos).

And so the list goes on with the innumerable varieties of vadas, in the Indian cuisine, which are prepared in various shapes, sizes and methods.

Savour and relish this crunchy snack with your family!


  • 1 large cup Bengal gram (chana dal/ kadala parippu)
  • 2-3 tbsp  tur dal/split pigeon peas
  • 1 medium sized onion thinly sliced/chopped
  • 2 to 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp sweet cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying


  • 1 or 2 green chillies (de-seeded) – Finely chopped


  • Soak the lentils together for about 45 minutes. Drain well and keep 2 tbsp of the drained lentils aside.
  • Grind the rest of the lentils, along with salt and the red chillies, into thick coarse paste.
  • Add the 2 tbsp reserved whole soaked lentils to the paste along with the rest of the ingredients (except oil) and mix. This makes the fritters nice and crisp.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan for frying.
  • Moisten the fingers and inner palm of your right hand with water. This ensures the batter doesn’t stick. Take a small scoop of the lentil paste and shape it into a ball.
  • Now, moisten the palm of your left hand with water and place the ball on your other palm.
  • Flatten it slightly (about 1/2″ thick) and slowly slide it into the oil.
  • Repeat with the rest of the lentil mixture and fry in batches of 5 or 6 depending on the size of your pan.
  • Fry the fritters on both sides till brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato sauce.

Standing Time: 45 minutes

Preparation Time: 20 minutes (to grind and form the entire paste into a ball)

Frying Time: 10-15 minutes (It depends on how many vadas are fried in a batch)

Makes: 15-18 vadas (I am not very sure, as the hot vadas were disappearing while I was frying. Just managed to save a few for the snap)


  • If adding water while grinding do not add more than a tsp or so. Too much water (or if the lentil paste is not coarse enough) will make the fritters difficult to shape. Also, the fritters will not turn crisp on frying.
  • If any vadas remain, they can be served immersed in Rasam. Savour this with steamed white rice.
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