Chana Dal Paniyaram with Cauliflower & Green Pea/Non-fried Dal Vada
“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
This conversation between Alice and the Cat from Mr. Carroll’s ingenious book is my favourite.
When standing at a crossroad, it is best to let go, to just go with the flow and see how things pan out.
Today’s recipe is a result of this proverbial crossroad I reached while planning for it.
I had some cauliflower and green pea remaining after making the pohe. I had also not made use of my paniyaram pan for a while so thought of experimenting with non-fried pakoras using the remaining vegetables and split chickpea.
Had no idea what the end result would be like so imagine my surprise when the destination turned out to be familiar tasting dal vada (lentil pakora).
For those who are not familiar with paniyaram or aebleskiver, here is some explanation. These are small, round balls made in a special pan which has holes. These balls can be sweet or savoury.
In all these, the concept is the same – batter poured in the holes of the pan and cooked over a stove. If you would like to try today’s recipe and don’t have a paniyaram pan, you can use an aebleskiver, a poffertjes or a takoyaki pan.
My kooky version of these savoury balls involve split chickpea, cauliflower, green pea and onions. So you are getting your 4 out of 5 of the day from these healthy, non-fried “pakoras” :-).
1 Cup split chickpea (chana dal)
1 Tablespoon rice (optional)
1 Cup cauliflower
1 Cup green pea
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1-2 Teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 Teaspoon turmeric
10-15 Curry leaves (optional)
3-4 Green chilli
Fresh ginger, the size of your thumb
1-2 Teaspoons oil
Salt to taste
- Wash and soak the split chickpea (and rice, if using) for 10 hours.
- Once the soaking time is up, peel, wash and chop the onion.
- Wash and chop the green chilli.
- Peel and chop the ginger.
- Chop and wash the cauliflower.
- Wash the green pea.
- Wash the curry leaves (if using).
- Drain the split chickpea. Reserve water.
- In a food processor, put the drained split chickpea, onion, green chilli, ginger, cauliflower, green pea, curry leaves, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, black peppercorns and salt to taste.
- Using the pulse function, break up all the ingredients.
- Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved water to make a batter. Add more water if needed but cautiously. You want a thick (not watery) batter.
- Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and check for salt.
- At this stage, you can leave the batter for a couple of hours or start making the savoury balls straight away.
- Heat the pan, lower the heat and add a drop of oil in each mould followed by a spoonful of batter.
- Again put a drop of oil on the top side of each ball.
- Cover and let the batter cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, uncover and flip over the balls.
- Cook the other side, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove to a plate and serve hot.