Ambode(deep-fried chana dal patties) is a quintessential accompaniment in a traditional iyengar meal for any rice dishes like puLiyogre, mango rice etc.I had been planning to make it for a long time but the thought of deep-frying, had been putting me off 😉 With an Ugadi potluck planned, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make this, with step by step instructions from mom who makes the best ambode!
As with any Indian dish, this can be made with a lot of variations. I personally like to make it with mint. You can also use cilantro, dill (sappsige soppu) if you like the strong aroma, onions can be added( being a tam-brahm, I consider it a sacrilege to add onions to this dish :D). The trick to making crispy ambode is to not let the chana dal soak longer, one hour of soak time makes the crispiest ambode!
Ingredients : Serves 8-10
3 cups chana dal. (Soak for an hour)
5-6 red chilies ( Use half bydagi and half guntur)
1 packed cup mint leaves, washed and chopped finely.
1 pinch hing
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 table spoons shredded fresh coconut
2 table spoons dry coconut (koppari)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ghee (optional but recommended)
3/4 – 1 liter oil for frying
In a blender, finely powder the chilies, fresh and dry coconut. Add turmeric, salt and hing. Next drain the chana dal completely using a sieve and transfer it to the blender. Using the pulse option of the blender, pulse the mixture until the chana dal is coarsely ground. Be sure to not grind to a paste, coarse ground dough adds to the crispiness.
Transfer the contents to a mixing bowl and then add the chopped mint leaves, and ghee. Mix thoroughly.
Make lime size balls out of the dough and keep aside.
When the oil in the frying pan is hot and the stove is on medium heat, take the lime size ball of dough and flatten it out into a patty, making sure the patty is 1/4″ in thickness. Add about 5-6 patties at a time and fry on both sides till golden brown. Do not fry them on high heat, this makes the outside get brown while the dough on the inside remains under-cooked.
Serve with a full course of tam-brahm meal ;). It also pairs well with ketchup or mint chutney.