Perfect Sri Lankan Street Food made for Dad!

Last Father's Day, in Australia we celebrate it on the 5th of September; we decided to have a picnic! I made a traditional street food that is very popular in Sri Lanka. This snack is easy to prepare and is delicious. Its called Parippu Vade and it's made with lentils. I decided to make a chilled spinach sauce to go with it, which gave the dish a fresh and creamy "zing" and it combined well with the crunch of the vade. When I told my mother what I had done, she said: "well, we don't have a sauce with vade, it's not traditional!" Yet I think we have kept the tradition long enough, so let us break it! Besides, it is delicious, so why not. I hope that you'll try it and enjoy it too.

I took this recipe from the recipe book Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka by Bree Hutchins. If you are interested in learning to cook traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, you should buy this book. We have cooked out of it many times, and it always comes out perfect.

PARUPPU VADAI (gluten free and vegan)

2 cups of chan dhal

1 red onion finely chopped

4 cloves garlic ground into a paste

4 dried long chillies, stalk removed and chopped

1/2 long green chilli, finely chopped

I sprig curry eaves, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1 tablespoon plain flour (optional if not gluten free)

vegetable oil for deep frying


Drain the soaked dhal, then rinse and drain again thoroughly. Using the food processor, process the dhal into a course paste (without adding any water). Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Pulse the chopped onion in the food processor for a few seconds, then transfer to a small bowl and add the garlic paste, dried chillies, green chilli, curry leaves, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and salt; mix to combine. Add the onion mixture to the dhal paste and mix well with your hands(you don't need to add any water, as the water released from the onions will be enough). If needed add a little flour to bring all the ingredients together.

Take one tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hand and shape it into a ball the size of a lime, then flatten between the palms of your hands to form a disc approximately 6 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Fill a wok one-third full of oil and heat to approximately 160 degrees Celsius . Work in batches, deep-fry the Bandai for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

How I made the spinach sauce: I just grabbed a handful of spinach(I grow in my garden) and blitzed it in a processor with coconut yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice, crushed fresh garlic and seasoned it with pink salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe was exactly reproduced from Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka by Bree Hutchins. I only found a copy that you could buy here but my copy was purchased from the Mornington Peninsula bookstore found here. I very much enjoy supporting the local bookstore, we need to keep them open!

Please write to me from here and tell me about your cooking adventures with Sri Lankan cuisine. I would love to know how you went. One day, my husband and I dream of opening our own Hoo Cuisine Restaurant featuring our very own fusion food with a distinctive Sri Lankan flavour. Dreams are always delicious!

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