Monday, November 11, 2013

A blast from the past: Kalmi Vada

My MIL claims not to be much of a cook herself. But the truth is, her discomfiture in the kitchen makes her one of the better home cooks I know of. She measures and tastes and strives for perfection when most people, including yours truly, get side-tracked by their own confidence into serving without tasting first.  One of the first things I remember from her kitchen was this delicacy she called Kalmi vada.  I had been married barely about a month,  when she made these for the Holi festival over a decade ago.  I remember she'd sounded surprised when I said that I'd never eaten those before. Apparently,  Kalmi vada is a Rajasthani snack....never saw it made in my Rajasthani side of the family though.....


So that year, she made it and I was sold (doesn't take much to sell me on the fried stuff anyways). After that, I thought of it often, but never a chance to eat it again. Although she's been visiting us every summer for the past couple years, I never tried to make an effort of learning how to make them either.  This year, during one of our inane pre-Diwali preparations, the mention of Kalmi vada came up...which is how we ended up with her making, and me devouring those Kalmi vadas once again.


Kalmi Vada



Chana dal 1 cup, picked and soaked overnight in 3 cups of water
Green chillies 2-3
Ginger  a good 2 inch piece
Cilantro chopped about 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Red chillies 1/2 tsp
Asafoetidia/ Hing a pinch
Roasted cumin powder 1Tbsp
Baking soda 1 tsp
Oil to deep fry

  1. Drain off the dal and grind it coarsely with no extra water added.
  2. Make a coarse paste of green chillies, ginger and cilantro and mix it in with the lentil paste.
  3. Now add in the rest of the spices.
  4. Heat oil to medium high.
  5. Just before you are ready to fry, mix in the baking soda with lentil paste.
  6. Using greased palms, shape the lentil paste into patties the size of burger patties and drop them carefully in to fry.
  7. Fry them 1-2 at a time till a light brown on all sides (these will be fried again, so keep them on a moderately-cooked side).
  8. Drain them on a paper towel, and allow to cool  completely. It takes at least an hour if not more.
  9. Cut each patty into 4-5 pieces about an inch thick.
  10. Just before serving, fry these pieces again for 5-6 minutes *
  11. Serve hot with the spicy coriander chutney or sweet and sour tamarind chutney.
My two cents: These are really good; and addictive. Not to mention, pretty easy to make. The biggest challenge was to wait that hour in between the two cook times. 
* As a side note- I felt too guilty deep frying twice. So, ignoring my MIL's displeasure, I baked them the 2nd time around: in a single layer on a cookie sheet, 350F; about 20 min with a flip-over half way in.  Even she conceded that they tasted as good as the twice fried ones!!

With this measure, we got about 4 decent sized patties. Since each of those get cut up into 5, we ended up with a lot of Kalmi vadas. We just saved the leftovers in an air-tight container for 2 days- and they were gone :-) 

And now, I am one recipe richer....

Linked to:

  1. Festive treats @ Cuisine Delights
  2. Only Diwali Treats with a giveaway by Pari
  3. Foodabulous Fest @ Simply Tadka
  4. My Legume Love Affair # 65 started by Susan. More information about this event can be found here.