ajwain · baking soda · bengal gram · chana dal · chilli · cilantro · garlic · greek yogurt · green chilli · Indian · lentil · medium · mint leaves · onion · pepper · salt · seed · snack · sugar · sweetener · turmeric · Uncategorized · yoghurt

“Piaji” – Our very own Falafel – Chana dal vada aka

As we sinked into our homey seats at the popular Mediterranean restaurant last weekend, it took us almost no time to agree upon falafel as appetizer. Just about then, it struck that irrespective of different tastes and disposition towards food almost everyone loves falafel. It’s undoubtedly the perfect starter which doubles up even as an entrée as a delish Falafel wrap. For those very few of you who might want an introduction, falafel refers to Middle eastern seasoned fritters made with chick peas and/or Fava beans. One bite into the crispy goodness and I had that Aha! moment wherein it actually dawned upon me as to how very similar it is to our chana dal fritters or “Piaji” as it is known in Odia. The mere mention of “piaji” almost instantly transports me to the rainy, stormy evenings that turned fragrant with these fresh out of the oil, crisp, spicy and completely wholesome fritters accompanied with puffed rice and onions marinated with lemon juice and green chilies. It wasn’t the first time I had pondered on its semblance to falafel, but now I definitely had the opportunity to express it.

Well that was it – I had to make an attempt and offer up the recipe for trial to all of you. So, this post is dedicated to our very own desi version of the mouth tantalizing appetizer – “ Piaji ” or the Chana Dal fritter. Isn’t it lovely to find similarities in cuisines of lands demarcated by man made borders and so-called politics which meld together in the history that food shares. It further substantiates the fact that probably we have very similar origins but have diversified in different directions keeping with us the basic originality.

In Odisha, “Piaji” basically refers to chana dal fritters seasoned with chopped onion and spices. Onion is added in more quantity as referred by the name “Piaji” which derives itself from the Odia word “Piaja” for onion.

  • Servings: 4-serving
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

As we sinked into our homey seats at the popular Mediterranean restaurant last weekend, it took us almost no time to agree upon falafel as appetizer. Just about then, it struck that irrespective of different tastes and disposition towards food almost everyone loves falafel. It’s undoubtedly the perfect starter which doubles up even as an entrée as a delish Falafel wrap. For those very few of you who might want an introduction, falafel refers to Middle eastern seasoned fritters made with chick peas and/or Fava beans. One bite into the crispy goodness and I had that Aha! moment wherein it actually dawned upon me as to how very similar it is to our chana dal fritters or “Piaji” as it is known in Odia. The mere mention of “piaji” almost instantly transports me to the rainy, stormy evenings that turned fragrant with these fresh out of the oil, crisp, spicy and completely wholesome fritters accompanied with puffed rice and onions marinated with lemon juice and green chilies. It wasn’t the fi

Summary

  • Cuisine: indian
  • Course: snack
  • Cooking Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

½ cup Chana dal or Bengal gram
4 cloves garlic
2 – 3 Red chillies
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Turmeric powder
to taste Salt
Pinch (1/8th tsp) sugar
Pinch (1/8th tsp) Ajwain / Carom seeds
½ onion
Bunch mint leaves
2 Green chilies
Oil for frying
For the dipping:
2 tbsps Greek yogurt
½ Green chili
1 tbsp Cilantro
to taste Salt
Pinch black salt
Pinch sugar

Steps

  1. For Chana dal fritters: Soak the chana dal for about an hour. Chana dal puffs up almost to about double its size.
  2. Thoroughly drain out water from the dal and grind it coarsely along with garlic and red chilies.Mix in baking soda, salt, ajwain and turmeric to the batter and keep aside.Tip: Almost immediately after adding the baking soda, the batter lightens up and is noticeable while mixing.
  3. Chop onion, green chilies and mint and keep it separate. In the meantime, heat up the oil over medium heat.
  4. Mix in the chopped onion, green chilies and mint to the batter immediately before frying.Tip: This ensures that the batter does not become too watery that may cause the fritters to break apart.
  5. Make up small round balls, flatten them and fry till golden brown
  6. For the dipping: Make a coarse paste of cilantro and green chili and add it to the yogurt along with salt, black salt and sugar. Mix and serve chilled.

One very interesting fact I came along while inquiring about Chana dal or Bengal gram dal is that it’s a close relative of chick peas / garbanzo beans , only more sweeter, younger and with a lower glycemic index which doubles up the nutritive value. Bengal gram dal can very easily be substituted in a lot of recipes that call for garbanzo beans and it can be instantly used without having to be soaked unlike its sibling.

I leave you now with this tit-bit hoping that you have liked and are itching to try this crunchy munchie!

Good luck!

J

P.s : I am submitting this post to –

-“Warm foods to beat the rain” hosted by The Pumpkin farm and Srivalli.

22 thoughts on ““Piaji” – Our very own Falafel – Chana dal vada aka

  1. Wow..wonderful tea time snack..thanks for linking this to my event. You have linked under both countries, though I have published yours under Indian, if you are not residing in India or you dont have Indian residence address, do let me know and I will change.

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  2. Delicious vada, perfect with tea. Picture looks so good and thanks for send this recipe to my event.SarasKitchen Chronicles ~ Heirloom Recipes

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  3. wow..perfect vadas..love them.. beautiful clicks :)My first visit to your beautiful space here and I love it.. following you already.

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  4. Nice one.. Thanks Linking @ “EP Series – Mint & Coriander”:)Ongoing event”EP Series – Mint & Coriander””Let’s Party-Breakfast”

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  5. This is my all time favorite !! looks so crispy and nice tasty snack !! Thanks for linking to the event!! Appreciate it :)Ongoing event CC:Mom’s Recipe

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  6. Haven’t eaten Piaji but it really looks delicious! I’d probably try it this weekend. Plus I would add some more of turmeric spice. 😛

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  7. perfect with tea or coffee!!! Thanks for linking it to my event!! Looking for more yummy recipes!!SowmyaOngoing Event – Tried and Tasted – Raks Kitchen Ongoing Event – Know Your Dairy – Cheese Ongoing Event – Dish it out – Lentils & Garlic Ongoing Event – What is with my Cuppa

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