Vadai is a savoury snack, or ‘short eat’ as Sri Lankans call them, made from deep-fried pulses. There is paruppu vadai made from chana dhal and ulundu vadai made from black gram. Malathi made her vadai from chana dhal; they were incredibly moreish, especially when accompanied with a cup of hot, sweet milky tea.
Drain the soaked dhal, then rinse and drain again thoroughly. Using a food processor, process the dhal into a coarse paste (without adding any water). Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Pulse the chopped onion in the 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 s