Rajasthani Kalmi Vada Recipe: A Protein-Packed Vegetarian Snack
Image Credit: Facebook/Arzooman Irani

When it comes to using lentils or dal to the hilt to prepare the most delicious dishes, nobody can beat Rajasthani cuisine. From Dal Bati to Dal Kachori, there is no dearth of lentil-packed savoury dishes from the state. In fact, if you are a vegetarian foodie who loves snacking, then Rajasthan is paradise for you thanks to these dishes. And when it comes to Rajasthani lentil snacks, Kalmi Vada is hands down one of the best the region has to offer. 

Also known as Dal Vada, Kalmi Vada is made with chana dal or Bengal gram flour. Despite being a deep-fried dish—you can always try an air-fried version if you are a health freak—Kalmi Vada is packed with plant proteins all thanks to the key ingredient of chana dal. This apart, the dish is also packed with onions, garlic, cumin, chillies and coriander leaves, making it a flavour bomb of a snack. 

Making Kalmi Vada at home is the easiest thing in the world. The most important step is the soaking of the chana dal. If you want your Kalmi Vada to be crispy, crunchy and smooth, then it is crucial to soak the chana dal overnight. This allows the lentils to swell up and absorb water, so when you grind them into a paste, the batter is not coarse but smooth. 

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This apart, you need to chop the remaining veggies and herbs that go into this dish very finely. You can always add more spices or remove the onion and garlic to make this dish sattvik and Jain-friendly. Here’s the recipe for this simple yet delicious Rajasthani snack called Kalmi Vada. 


½ cup chana dal 

1 onion, finely chopped 

1 tsp cumin seeds 

6 garlic cloves, minced 

1 green chilli, finely chopped 

½ tsp red chilli powder 

2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped 

Salt, to taste 

Oil, for frying 

Image credit: Facebook/Ravi A. Kushvah


1. Wash and rinse the chana dal thoroughly with clean water to get rid of any dirt, husk or pesticides. 

2. Place the chana dal in a large bowl and soak in water for at least 4 hours. Preferably, the chana dal should be soaked overnight. 

3. Drain the water and transfer the chana dal into a mixer jar. 

4. Grind the chana dal into a thick paste. Add a little water if needed. 

5. Transfer the chana dal paste into a large bowl. 

6. Add the finely chopped onions, green chillies, cumin seeds, garlic, coriander leaves, red chilli powder and salt. 

7. Mix everything together into a thick and smooth batter.  

8. Heat oil in a wok. 

9. Take a handful of the batter and gently drop it into the oil. 

10. Deep fry the Kalmi Vada until golden brown and crispy, then drain on a towel or cloth to get rid of the excess oil.  

11. Follow the same process to whip up the rest of the Kalmi Vada. 

12. Serve the Kalmi Vada hot with chutney and chai.