Nei Kadalai is a deep fried snack prepared with Bengal Gram (Kadalai Paruppu) and few spices added to it. It is popular in all over India – with little variation between regions. In North, Chat Masala and Black Salt are added whereas they are avoided in the South. We will see how to make this Nei Kadalai in the South Indian Style with just Red Chilli and Salt. You will see that I have added Garlic also for its flavor which you can avoid if you want to avoid Garlic flavor. I have also added Baking Soda to get an airy, light crispy snack and I suggest that you do not avoid it.
Bengal Gram (Channa Dal / Kadalai Paruppu) – 2 cups
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 ½ to 2 tsp
Garlic Gloves (crushed with the peels) – 10
Curry Leaves – from 2 twigs
Asafoetida – a small pinch
Oil – for deep frying
Wash and rinse Bengal Gram twice or thrice. Take the washed Bengal Gram in a vessel; add water to immerse it completely and add 1 tsp of Baking Soda. Mix it well. Let it remain soaked in water for 6 to 7 hours.
Pour everything into a colander and drain the water. (Do not rinse it now). Spread the Bengal Gram in a clean dry cloth and allow them to dry for 30 minutes in shadow. (Do not dry in sunlight). Check whether any moisture has remained. If so, pat dry gently with the cloth. Take the Dal in a bowl.
Heat enough Oil in a pan for deep frying the Grams. Once the Oil becomes hot, add a small amount of the Gram to the Oil. (Do not try to fry the full quantity of Bengal Gram in one go.)
When you add the Bengal Gram to the Oil, the Oil will start foaming and will make a hissing sound. Fry the Grams in medium high flame. Keep stirring in between. Fry till the foaming and the sound stops. The Gram will start floating in the Oil. This is an indication that the Dal has fried well. Remove the Dals with a slotted (Holed) spoon, allow the Oil to drip back to the pan and then transfer the fried Dal to a paper napkin (tissue) so that excess Oil in the fired Dal is sucked away by the paper napkin. Fry the remaining Dal also in the same way.
Take the fried Dal in a mixing bowl. Add Chilli Powder, Asafoetida and Salt. Mix very well. (Sprinkle a part quantity of the Chilli Powder, Asafoetida and Salt and mix well , then add further quantity and mix etc. This will help in combining them with the Dal evenly). Adjust Salt and Chilli Powder to suit your preference.
Fry the crushed Garlic in hot Oil. When it becomes crispy, add the Curry Leaves and fry for a few seconds till they become crispy. Add the fried Garlic and Curry Leaves to the Dal and mix well.