Lentils, Snacks

Steamed Mixed Dal Vada

It seems like only yesterday when my first taste for fried Dal Vada (or Paruppu Vadai) started… It’s STILL my comfort food, especially for festive occasions, when I love to dunk some vadas in piping rasam or bite into the crusty heavenly stuff just out of the frying pan.

One more secret I will let into is, I love dipping these fried vadas into Semiya Payasam (Sevai Kheer), however eclectic the combo it may seem .And while I did that, my sis wondered if I had gone bonkers (perhaps you as a reader would also have raised eyebrows, reading this now !! – but the combo needs to experienced to savour the spicy hot – sweet taste)… However, time passed and my ever expanding waistline started telling me I need to look for healthy alternatives to this deep fried delight, and so comes today’s recipe – the steamed Dal Vada. 

Like the fried version of Dal Vada, I was introduced to the Steamed Dal Wada (presented today) whenever amma made Paruppu Usli( esp with Kothavarangai / beans). She used to make these lentil cakes (with finely ground lentils) that was hot, spicy, steamed and oil free! How much more healthy can it get ? Your protein intake for the day is quite taken care of by this. I usually also like to re-steam the leftovers and enjoy it the next day with hot piping Milagu Rasam and hot rice. Or drop them in a simmering kuzhambu (tamarind-veggie gravy) for an easy version of Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu ! Slurp. Another popular steamed snack that we enjoy as a family is this Brown Rice Corn Dhokla (recipe link below)

So, to make things easy, I made this for an evening snack last week, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.I ground the dal coarsely and the mixture of dals was an experience worth writing about.

Other Low cal/ Low fat Steamed snacks you may like on the blog…

Brown Rice Corn Dhokla
Brown Rice Corn Dhokla is a Gluten free steamed snack, made from Brown Rice and Corn. Served with Mint – Coriander Chutney
Check out this recipe
Brown Rice Corn Dhokla is a Gluten free steamed snack, made from Brown Rice and Corn. Served with Mint - Coriander Chutney
Methi Muthia
A low calorie steamed and stir fried snack with fenugreek (methi) leaves and basic kitchen spices. Vegan too.
Check out this recipe
Methi Muthia
Oats Methi Dhokla
Oats Methi Dhokla is a spongy, soft and steamed snack using Oats and fenugreek leaves. Served with Green chutney or some sauce.
Check out this recipe
Oats Methi Dhokla is a spongy, soft and steamed snack using Oats and fenugreek leaves. Served with Green chutney or some sauce.

Prep time – 20 mins + 2 hours soaking time Cooking time – 20 mins ; Serves – 3

Cuisine – South Indian , Course – Snack / starter


  • Mixed Dal – 1 ¾ cups (See notes for more info)
  • Red Chillies – 4 or 5 (less spicy variety)
  • Green chillies – 1 or 2 (adjust spice)
  • Hing / Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Coriander / Cilantro & Curry leaves – a nice huge handful
  • Salt – to taste


The following dals were added. These are approximate measurements (and proportion). Vary them according to the taste: Toor dal – 1 cup, Channa Dal – ¼ cup, Whole Urad (without skin) – ¼ cup, Moong Dal (split green gram) – ¼ cup.



  1. Mix and wash the lentils. Soak for 2 hours in warm water along with the red chillies.
  2. After 2 hours, drain water thoroughly. Pulse them just once (for less than 20 seconds intervals) along with the red chillies.
  3. Drain to a large bowl. Add chopped green chillies (I de-seed them), turmeric, hing, salt, chopped coriander and cilantro leaves and mix well to a wet (but not runny batter).
  4. Check salt as dals tend to absorb salt only later – so if it seems like a little less right now when you taste, the better.
  5. Line an idli cooker (or steamer) with adequate water.Lightly grease the plates used for steaming. Divide the batter into equal portions and with slightly wet hands, pat them into small vadai (or flat patties).
  6. Place them in the steamer (in batches) without the vadais touching each other.
  7. Steam for 10 -12 mins on medium-high flame. Repeat till you exhaust the batter. You should get about 18 – 20 medium sized servings.
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee or any spicy coconut chutney / tomato ketchup (for kids).



  1. Very healthy and nice!!!!

  2. Tempting vadas Kalyani.

    Event: Kid's Delight

  3. Sangeetha Nambi

    Nutritious and healthy one…


  4. this is very nice and healthy version

  5. yum, that's definitely healthy!!!

  6. Healthy and delicious..love to try this soon!

  7. Priya Suresh

    Fabulous guilt free vadas.

  8. yummm yummm these fritters dont look like they are steamed at all Kal. they look as good as fried and moong dal in fritters s something i m yet to try

  9. Chef Mireille

    healthy vadai and they don't look it, which is fab – that payasam combo sounds interesting too!

  10. I liked the colour of the vada..looks yummy..

  11. Gayathri NG

    crispy n yummy vada…

  12. That's really wonderful..the vadas will be soft right..I remember making like this for the usili..maybe for indulgence we can pan fry it?

  13. Spice up the Curry

    looks very delicious. awesome recipe

  14. The vadas look delicious.
    As for your taste abt dipping vadas in kheer you will find company with my hubby. His latest is "Mandgi" and Tomaro saar.
    I am hosting Kitchen Chronicles Theme Go Nuts…Do send me your entries

  15. A great healthy alternative to the deep fried version.Looks delicious..

    Divya's Culinary Journey
    Showcase- FUN IN THE SUN

  16. The Pumpkin Farm

    life saving recipe Kalyani….steaming vadas….mind blowing..will def try and let u know

  17. It can't get better than this. Steamed vada looks so delish

  18. I do that too,Vada and payasam are like a match made in heaven.Your version is really nice 🙂

  19. Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen

    Looks yum!!! mention of parupu-usli i feel like having some now!!!!

  20. Sangeetha M

    i too love eating this steamed vada/dumplings…looks too tempting!!
    Very healthy n nutritious snack!!
    Spicy Treats

  21. Lovely recipe Kalyani, we need healthier version and I'm all ears looking for such alternatives. Looks super yum!!!

  22. vaishali sabnani

    these r welcome…n they look really delicious wonderful option to avoid that fat!

  23. Cool Lassi(e)

    Healthy Vadai!

  24. Sounds interesting. I pan fried and baked but never steamed these 🙂

  25. Wow! These vadais r so healthy!

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