Hot n Crunchy Kalmi Vada or say Masala Vada, is basically a spicy Chana Dal Vada. However, I add some more lentils to it and turn it into a Mixed Dal Vada.

It is a popular street food of Delhi, which is crunchy from outside with a soft centre. Deep fry it or make it in air fryer.

If Moong dal vadas are fit for Kanji Vada then this Chana Dal Vada is a perfect party snack.

(Do not forget to check the video at the end)



Kalmi Vada: A Perfect Party Snack

Be it a rainy evening or a get-together or any festival, these spicy and crunchy Kalmi Vada are loved by all. The best thing is that you make it at your convenience and then refry or in the air fryer at the time of serving.


What Is Kalmi Vada?

Kalmi Vada is a Chana dal pakoda, that is fried twice. First like a roundel (tikki) and later after cutting it into wedges. It has a crunchy outer layer with a soft centre.

Different people make it differently and there is no fixed recipe or method to make it.

What I am sharing here is a typical Delhi style Kalmi Vada which is deep-fried and is made in two stages.

  • At the first stage, round cakes are fried. Then at the second stage, these roundels are cut in strips and refried. With time, I have started using the air fryer for the second time frying, though Mom still fries them only.
  • Once the roundels are made you can keep them in the refrigerator even up to a month. Whenever required just take out cut strips, fry and serve. This way it becomes an easy and handy party starter too.

Some other Popular Chaat recipes of Delhi that you may find interesting are:



Crispy Kalmi Vada is my Mom's speciality. Passionate about cooking, no party or get together at her place is complete without some of her signature dishes. The caterer may get any number of items but she ensures to make some things herself.


How To Make Kalmi Vada

  • Normally, Kalmi Vadas are made of Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)  by adding a lot many spices, ginger, green chilli etc.
  • But here, I have also added some other lentils along with Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram). These lentils are added in very little quantity rendering tremendous crispiness and crunchiness on the outer layer, softness in the inside portion, at the same time retaining the authentic taste of Chana Dal. Add roughly 1/4th of other lentils for every 1 cup of Split Bengal Gram.
  • I may not be able to do justice by explaining here in words what difference these lentils add to Kalmi Vada. You need to make it yourself to experience that taste and crunch.
  • These are extremely easy to make as, unlike Ram Ladoo, you don't have to beat the batter after grinding. Just soak, grind and make.
  • Lentils are grounded coarsely and not finely. In fact, you can see some of the lentils in the batter too. For this, keep a spoonful of lentils aside and grind the rest of it. After grinding add that spoonful lentils in it. This is because if by chance you grind the lentils too much then you have those whole ones for your rescue. Just a tip, not necessary to do so.
Kalmi Vada


  • Since the batter is coarse, you can easily keep it on your palm, give it a round shape and leave it in the frying pan. It does not stick to your hands.
  • Authentic Kalmi Vadas are extremely spicy, typical Delhi Chaat style. But you can adjust spices as per your taste buds.
  • We make it without onion and garlic. But yes a lot of ginger, green chilli and cilantro are added which imparts its flavour.


Kalmi Vada



Serving Suggestions

Serve this kalmi vada with green chutney or Kachalu chaat. Another variant is to add these to your Papdi chat along with Bhalle and serve with beaten curd and Meethi chutney.

Read: How to Store Coriander and Make Fresh Green Chutney When Required


Chana Dal Vada Recipe Step by Step

  • Soak all the four lentils for 2 to 3 hours.

Tip: do not soak for long otherwise they turn soft and do not get crisp when fried.


  • Drain water, reserve 1 tbsp lentils and grind the rest lentils coarsely
  • Do not add water. After grinding add the reserved lentils in it.
Kalmi Vada


  • Add salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, coriander powder, ginger, green chilli and green coriander.
Kalmi Vada


  • Mix everything. You don't have to beat the batter.
Kalmi Vada


  • Take little batter on your palm, give it a round shape.
Kalmi Vada


  • Drop it in hot oil. Fry on medium heat.


  • Fry all the roundels like this.
Kalmi Vada


  • Once cooled completely, wrap in aluminium foil and store in the refrigerator.


  • For serving, cut thick strips.
Kalmi Vada
Kalmi Vada


  • Again deep fry... in frying pan or in air fryer
Kalmi Vada


Kalmi Vada

     (the ones on the left are of air fryer and on the right are deep-fried)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q) Why add other lentils along with Chana Dal?

These other lentils lend crispiness and crunchiness on the outer layer, softness in the inside portion, at the same time retaining the authentic taste of Chana Dal.

Q) How else can I use this ?

You can add it Papdi Chaat along with Bhallas. In Old Delhi, Chaat vendors serve Papdi Chaat which has Papdi, Bhalla as well as Kalmi Vada drizzled with chutneys and kachalu.


Let us Connect!

Hope you have liked this recipe of Kalmi Vada and will surely try it for your loved ones.  Do share your views if you try it out.

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Kalmi Vada Recipe

Kalmi Vada, or simply Chana dal vada is a popular Street food of Delhi.

  • 1 Cup 200 g Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
  • 2 Tbsp White Urad Dal (Split and Husked Black Gram)
  • 2 Tbsp Yellow Moong Dal (Split and Husked Green Gram)
  • 2 Tbsp Arhar Dal (Split and Husked Red Gram)
  • 1 Pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)
  • Salt as per taste
  • Red Chilli Powder as per taste
  • 1 tsp Dhaniya powder (Coriander Powder)
  • 2 Tsp Saunf (Fennel Seeds Coarsely Grounded)
  • 1 tsp Haldi (Turmeric Powder)
  • Finely Chopped Green Chilli as per taste
  • 1 tsp or as per taste Finely Chopped Ginger
  • 2 Tbsp Hara Dhania (Finely Chopped Green Coriander)
  1. Clean lentils and soak for around 2 to 3 hours. (See Note 1)
  2. Drain all excess water.
  3. Reserve 1 to 2 Tbsp lentils and grind rest of it coarsely. Do not add any water while grinding. If at all you have to, then just sprinkle few drops only.
  4. While grinding add very little asafoetida in it.
  5. Once the lentils are grounded, add reserved lentils in it.
  6. To this add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, coarsely ground fennel seeds, chopped green chilli, ginger, and green coriander.
  7. Mix everything nicely.
  8. Heat oil in a frying pan. When very hot, fry round cakes of the lentils batter.To make round cakes, using your working hand (normally right) put a little batter on your non-working hand (normally left hand). Shape it round and slowly and carefully drop it in hot oil.
  9. Similarly, make as many roundels as your frying pan can hold. There is a small video, in the end, showing how to make these roundels.
  10. Increase the flame. Do not touch these for the first 30-40 seconds otherwise, they may break.
  11. Flip it carefully. Reduce the flame to medium.
  12. Cook from both the sides till golden brown.Like this make all the roundels. This much batter will make 7 to 8 roundels.
  13. Let these roundels cool down.
  14. Once cool, wrap in aluminium foil and keep in the refrigerator. You can keep these in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  15. At the time of serving cut thick strips from the roundels and once again fry them till golden brown.
  16. You can fry them in air fryer also. For this, preheat air fryer for 15 minutes at the highest temperature. Put strips and fry for 15 to 20 minutes.
  17. Serve with love, coriander chutney /kachalu chat optional.
  1. In winters you may soak it for 3 to 4 hours. But do not soak much else it would become too soft and we want little crisp lentils for making Kalmi Vadas.
  2. While frying, oil should be very hot.
  3. Reduce flame while dropping round cakes.
  4. Once added, fry on medium flame.
  5. Do not cut strips when the roundels are hot. They may break. Cut only when completely cool.
Masala Dal Vada, Mix Dal Vada

Not to mention that the deep-fried ones taste great.

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Kalmi Vada


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