Vazhaipoo Vadai in Air Fryer/ Banana Flower Fritters

Vazhiapoo Vadai is a delicious South Indian Tea Time Snack made Guilt free in an Air Fryer. Low Oil, great in taste and ideal for monsoon snacking.

Vazhaipoo Vadai in Air Fryer/ Banana Flower Fritters

Quite delayed, yet a great start to Monsoons in Mumbai, during the weekend. The husband worked from home during the weekend and so the kitchen was busy (longer than usual). No complaints absolutely as the humidity levels have decreased, making it bearable to stand in the kitchen and cook.

Rains or Monsoons are often associated with pakoras or bhajiyas. Since I run away from the thought of deep frying, I love that I found the Air Fryer. In the month of May, I posted an Air Fryer Onion Pakoda recipe especially for Ramadan. So, while I was wondering what to fry next in the Air Fryer, my husband immediately suggested, “Try Masala Vadai”. I thought of an even better idea, Vazhaipoo Vadai or Banana Flower Fritters.

Masala Vadai to the South Indians is what Kanda Bhajiya is to Mumbaikars. These are crunchy delights and the perfect tea time snack to be enjoyed with Kothamalli Chutney and piping hot filter coffee. Vazhaipoo Vadai is just a variation of Masala Vadai and a great way to enjoy / include banana flower too.

I had a cup of chopped Vazhai Poo in the refrigerator (after making Usili (lentil crumble) a day ago). Unlike bhajiyas or regular pakoras, vadai takes slightly longer prep time as it involves soaking the dal and grinding them. But, as you bite into the crunchy vadai, all your efforts seem worth it!

Delicious Vazhaipoo Vadai served with Kothamalli Chutney
Crunchy Vazhaipoo Vadai served with Kothamalli Chutney

Some other Tea Time Snack Recipes that you can try out during Monsoon season are

Here is why you would love to try the Vazhaipoo Vadai Recipe!

  • Air Fried Tea time Snack
  • Low Oil
  • Guilt Free Snack Option for the entire family
  • Great way to include / sneak Vazhaipoo or Banana Flower in your diet
  • Vegan and Plant Based Recipe

To be honest, being an ardent fan of Masala Vadai, I was very skeptical about how this recipe would turn out. My test batch fared well and gave me the confidence to shoot the process pics with a detailed recipe for the blog. The issue with dal based fritters is that usually the paruppu remains uncooked in the centre. However, with few tips and tricks shared below, I could easily manage to get the best results.

Tips for making Vazhaipoo Vadai in Air Fryer

  • Preheat your Air Fryer for 10 minutes. Just like how you preheat the oven before baking.
  • Follow the temperature and timings mentioned in the recipe below
  • While Grinding, ensure you do not add water. Grind in small batches so that you are aware of the consistency / thickness. Tip – Grinding this in a chutney Jar in small batches is what I did!
  • Pat the vadai slightly thin. Helps in faster cooking. Since we are not frying, the center cannot be kept very thick (tried and tested) as it takes longer to cook.
  • Make sure you brush the air fryer mesh with oil before placing the vadai for air frying.
  • Do not crowd the mesh. Cook few pieces at a time or depends on the size of your Air Fryer. My Air Fryer (as you can see below in process pics holds 6 pieces without sticking to each other).
  • Brush oil on top and bottom at different intervals as mentioned in the recipe below.
  • Air Frying is not equal to Deep frying. Always serve the air fried snacks immediately or reheat again with few drops of oil in the air fryer (if they have turned cold).
Perfectly cooked vazhaipoo vadai in Air fryer
Centre of the Vadai – Well cooked!
Crispy Low Oil Masala vadai
Crunchy exterior and soft centre – Perfect Vadai!

While the entire recipe is easy, the only time taking task is the cleaning and chopping of vazhaipoo or banana flower. But trust me, we consume this vegetable once in 15 days as it has umpteen health benefits. While I make a stir fry in coconut oil usually, the vadai is occasional.

How to store Banana Flowers in the refrigerator (after chopping)?

  • The flowers discolour or darken easily when exposed to air so keep them soaked in a mixture of thin buttermilk mixed with turmeric powder.
  • Even though the the chopped vegetable stays good for a couple of days, ensure it is immersed in the mixture of buttermilk and turmeric powder and kept covered in a glass container or steel dabba with a tight lid.
  • For using the banana flower in this particular recipe, drain the buttermilk mixture completely and lightly rinse it under tap water. Drain well and add to the ground dal or paruppu mixture.
  • Note – I try to use the chopped flowers within 24 hours. I found the storing in the refrigerator process slightly convenient especially since the chopping / cleaning process of this vegetable is time consuming. Also being a family of 2, there is bound to be some leftovers.

Step by Step Recipe to Make Vazhaipoo Vadai at home in an Air fryer

  • Wash, Drain and Soak the Chana Dal (split chickpeas).
  • Drain water completely for grinding coarsely.
  • In a bowl add the ground chana dal, onions, saunf, red chilli powder, finely chopped vazhai poo, salt to taste, hing and curry leaves. Mix well.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.
  • To the bowl, add rice flour and 2 tsps of oil. Mix well and shape them into patties.
  • Once the Air Fryer has preheated, place the patties carefully on the mesh and apply oil with the help of brush.
  • Air Fry the vadais at 180 degree C for 8 minutes and then remove, turn over the patties, apply oil and cook again at 180 degrees for 10 minutes until crisps on the edges.
  • The recipe yields 14 nos. small size Vadais.
Vazhaipoo vadai

Vazhaipoo Vadai in Air Fryer / Banana Flower Fritters

Vazhiapoo Vadai is a delicious South Indian Tea Time Snack made Guilt free in an Air Fryer. Low Oil, great in taste and ideal for monsoon snacking.
0 from 0 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: Banana Flower recipes, South Indian Snacks, Tea Time Snack Recipe, Vazhaipoo Vadai
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas) 1 cup is 250 ml measurement
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Vazhaipoo / Banana Flower or Banana Blossom 1 cup is 250 ml measurement
  • 2 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 2 nos Onions finely chopped Medium size onions used
  • 1 tbsp Fennel seeds or Saunf
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Hing or Asafoetida Skip this ingredient to make the recipe Gluten Free
  • 2-3 nos. Sprigs of Curry leaves torn
  • 2 tsp Oil + More for Brushing / Air frying as required
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Wash the chana dal twice and soak for 2 hours. Drain the water completely. Set aside 2 tblsp of chana dal and coarsely grind the remaining dal without any water.
  • In a bowl add the ground chana dal, onions, saunf, red chilli powder, finely chopped vazhai poo, salt to taste, hing and curry leaves. Mix well.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.
  • To the bowl, add rice flour and 2 tsps of oil. Mix well and shape them into patties
  • Once the Air Fryer has preheated, place the patties carefully on the mesh and apply oil with the help of brush
  • Air Fry the vadais at 180 degree C for 8 minutes and then remove, turn over the patties, apply oil and cook again at 180 degrees for 10 minutes until crips on the edges
  • Repeat the process and air fry the balance vadais in the similar manner.

Notes

  • This measurement yields 14 nos. small size vadais as show in the pictures above. 
  • It is important to preheat your Air Fryer. Do not skip this step. 
  • Adding rice flour makes vadais crispy and balances the moisture to an extent in the air fryer, making it crunchy and less soggy. 
  • Onions tend to leave some moisture, making it slightly difficult to pat the vadais for the 2nd batch. In case you face any issue, add a tsp of rice flour, mix and pat. 
  • No baking soda / cornflour / breadcrumbs are added while making the vadai. 
  • The recipe is vegan but not gluten free since there is hing.
  • I have used sesame oil for the entire process (brushing and adding to the batter). It imparts a lovely aroma and we generally fry vadais too in sesame oil at home for pooja, functions etc.  

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Thank you for visiting

Vidya Narayan

Views: 1924

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. These look delicious Vidya.. I use Chana Dal for kebabs both baked and fried .. never used banana flowers.. will see if I get here.. perfect combo with chai especially when it raining!!

    1. We South Indians adore Banana Flowers. It is extremely good for health. I hope you find it soon.

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