Beetroot Vada (Medallions)

I have parupu vadai (dal vada) quite often with my cup of spice tea in the evenings. It is one of the first things I experimented with when I bought my air fryer. And was thrilled with the end result of converting a traditionally deep fried dish to one with zero oil – and no compromise on taste. The beetroot vada was an innovation that suddenly struck me one evening – and a completely successful experiment. Ideal for a rainy day – or, in fact, any day!

1/2 cup Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1/2 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 medium sized beetroot, chopped fine
10 shallots or 1 big onion, chopped fine
3-4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
To Grind
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam)
2 dried red chillies
1/2″ piece ginger (optional)
Wash and soak both lentils for 2-3 hours
Soak the red chillies with the lentils
Drain the water completely and set aside
Grind the lentils and chillies to a coarse paste (do not add water)
Reserve a tbsp of the Bengal gram
Add the beetroot separately to a blender and pulse a couple of times
Add this to the coarsely ground lentils
Add the coriander leaves, cumin seeds and salt
Mix well
It will look crumbly, but will hold together
Transfer to a bowl
Make lemon sized balls of this batter
Take each ball on your palm and pat into a medallion shape of medium thickness
Steam these balls for about 12 minutes
Transfer to an air fryer
“Fry” for 10-15 minutes or till the vadas turn golden brown (ensure that the vadas are not burnt)
Serve it on its own, with a coconut chutney or any other chutney of your choice

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