Palak Vada recipe | Indian Snacks Recipes
Indians have variety of snacks where each one boasts of variations galore. As if that's not enough, every family has its own recipe that adds to the number. So you do the math (in other words, pls do not ask me calculate!). This is a variation of one of the many fritters recipe made especially in the Southern parts of India. If you have enjoyed Sambar Vada in the Indian restaurants then you would be familiar with how this one tastes (without the sambar). Its the same Vada with few albeit minimal changes.
Palak Vada recipe | Indian Snacks Recipes
We love it and I make them without fail at least once during the rainy months. Every time I do, I cannot help but remember a finicky American teenager whose mother is a colleague at work. "Spinach? This has Spinach! Shut Up!....Gaaawd Spinach never tasted this good!". Her mom's quip of  "Drama Queen" with a roll of her eyes makes me laugh even today.  I try to incorporate some health factor into whatever I make. But to be honest, in this recipe, the addition of spinach has nothing to do with nutrition but more so for the fact that Spinach adds a new dimension to the flavor of these vadas. I cannot pinpoint exactly what but the crispy spinach adds to an already crunchy surface paving way to slightly spongy insides.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Yields: Makes around 8-10 depending upon the size and thickness
  • 1 cup Whole Black Gram, skinned (Urad Dal/ Ulundu Paruppu)
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced thinly (or as per taste)
  • 2" Ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (around 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup tightly packed coarsely chopped Spinach (see Tips)
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: Few springs of Cilantro (roughly chopped) and Curry leaves (torn)
1. Spinach: I have used Baby spinach leaves for this recipe but regular spinach can be used. The amount of Spinach will depend on how Spinach(y)(!!) you like your fritters. Start with few leaves and then the next time based on your preference increase the amount. No hard or fast rules to the amount of greens in this recipe.
If you want to bake these instead of deep frying, refer my Baked Masala Vadai Recipe Post for the details.
1. Soak the Dal in 3-4 cups of water for about 2-3 hours or until you see that they have grown in size and absorbed most of the water.
2. Then drain them well. This step is crucial when it comes to shaping the Vadas, provided you want to shape them.  Dropping them in small clumps in the hot oil tastes as good too, in my opinion! But well, I am not fussy when it comes to anything fried so I might be biased;) While that's draining, heat a shallow pan with oil for deep frying.

Add the lentils to a food processor along with salt, asafoetida, ginger and chillies.

4. Grind it into a coarse paste. Do not add water. I usually find that Pulse + Grind combination works well in avoiding water. But if you really must, add drops of water until you can get the processor to grind the mixture.
5. Drop the mixture in a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients to this mix.
6. Mix until well combined.
7. Take a little dough and shape into a ball.
8. Place it on a well greased Zip Lock bag/ Plastic sheet/ small plate and pat it down to a patty.
9. Poke a hole right in the center with your finger to make a doughnut. This is not necessary really!
10. Now carefully transfer this to your hand and drop them in hot oil (med-hot).
11. Turn until well browned.
12. Drop them on a paper towel. If you have followed the principles of deep frying, you will find that it does not soak up oil at all. The paper towel will not be soggy.
Serve them warm and as soon as possible since they taste the best when made. They go well with almost anything - Coconut chutney, spicy tomato chutney or the most obvious ketchup! They are also quite self sufficient and don't really need any accompaniments. Palak Vada recipe | Indian Snacks Recipes

Recipe Reference

recipe courtesy: mom

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3 Member Reviews

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By Shabana on Oct 8, 2012

This keerai vadai turned out really yummy it was a great hit in our family,above all inclusion of keerai makes it healthy too,the only modification i did was i added litted baking soda to make it even more crispier and success of this ulunda vaidai depends upon how u grind ur ulundhu ... i have posted thisrecipe onmy blog

By Charlotte on Feb 5, 2012

Yummy! Very good and easy to do! I replaced asafoetida with two big garlic cloves and added lots of salt. Thank you!

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By Sushi on May 19, 2013

Please tell me if these vadais can be baked? Have you tried it and was the outcome good or tolerable. I'm unable to fry because of certain restrictions. Thank you.

I have baked Masala Vadais before, you can try these along the same lines. Pls refer this post: Baked Masala Vadai Recipe --DK

By nathi on Sep 15, 2012

i prepare this vadai its very easy to made...

By Kamila on Jun 30, 2012

I made this recipe so many times. Everybody in our family loves it, especially kids!

By Shubhangi on Jun 26, 2012

hello just for info ...please check the order of the methodology( no. 2).....wrongly placed perhaps...Oops ...

I really dont see what's wrong with step 2...can you pls elaborate? --DK

By Amandla on Jun 25, 2012

These look amazing and they are gluten-free as well. I'll have to share them on our blog.

By VP on Jun 25, 2012

Looks Yummy!!! I have given a try .. its has come good .. thanks DK

By Anu on Jan 12, 2012

I don't think I should wait for the rain to make this. Vada is coming up for pongal..maybe this version will be good.

By indu on Jan 10, 2012

vada looks really taste..shall try it this weekend

By Shubhangi on Dec 13, 2011

Thank u for the link will just check it out!!!!

By Deepa on Dec 13, 2011

Thanks for the link to the article DK! Pardon my ignorance but how do you know when the oil has reached the range of 325-400F? As you can guess I'm a real newbie, haven't made any deep fried item so far :oops:

Use a candy/fry safe thermometer

By Deepa on Dec 10, 2011

Hey DK, Could you please share the principles of deep frying for some of us newbies who are just getting initiated to the kitchen?

Its just an article that I shared in my FB Chef In You Page. Here is the link : It explains the correct way to deep fry.

By Siri on Dec 9, 2011

Simply <3 these crunchy vadas. My mouth is literally salvating.. :-D :lol: I want some now! :evil: Siri

By sunita on Dec 8, 2011

your last photo is really mouth watering so shiny and delicious dk have to make this tomorrow

By Shubhangi on Dec 7, 2011

hello ....lovely blog ..I love it ... A query ...where will I get to read " priciples of deep frying "as u mention?

Here is the link: I follow this and my fried goodies never are soggy and hardly drain oil when I put them in a paper towel after frying. Hope its useful to you too

By Mehek on Dec 6, 2011

will definately try this. and will also use it as dahi wada. will soon give u my experience for the same. bye

By Pattu on Dec 5, 2011

:) Lovely recipe, shown in detail. Thanks for those pictures, makes me to try it soon. Thanks.

By Raji on Dec 5, 2011

Hi DK, Very nice blog. Vadai looks wonderful. Feel like having one. One q, from the ingredients list, I thought you had used whole black urad skinned while from the pictures it looks like the deskinned ones. Whole black urad skinned is highly nutritious. Take care. Raji.

By "Skinned" I mean the lentils without their skin/cover. I think skinned is the word which means "with skin removed" instead of deskinned

By Priya on Dec 5, 2011

Crispy vadas looks irresistible.

By Priyanka on Dec 5, 2011

Last week I made simple vada.. but it was to hard to bite :( Cudnt get the reason for tht.. do u have any idea? Thanks in advance :)

By India-leigh@aveganobsession on Dec 5, 2011

These look absolutely amazing and your pictorial guide makes them look so simple to make. I will definately be trying these. Thank you! p.s What dip do you serve them with?

Have mentioned the suggested accompaniments in the last line of the post. Pls do refer. For this pictorial, I fell back on the old standby - Hot ketchup :)

By Nishi on Dec 5, 2011

The vadas look so crisp and wonderful. I am sure I will be making this soon :)

By Jai on Dec 4, 2011

:wink: I'm making this next! Thank you!!

By swathi on Dec 4, 2011

Waw..looks yum :!: . Can you suggest the name of the food processor ,or is it an Indian mixer..coz ,I tried in mine ...which is not Indian mixer,but all waste. Waiting for your answer. Thanks n Regards.

Its Indian and quite an old Model - Its Preethi Chef Pro Mixie

By saranya on Dec 4, 2011

Wow! Looks wonderful! :-)