Dutch oven or high-sided skillet (for fried version)
1cupdried chickpeas, preferably split chickpeas aka chana dal
½cupfresh dill, roughly chopped
¼cupfresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½cupfresh curry leaves(*optional)
1large onion, quartered
1inchpiece ginger or 2 tsp dried ground ginger
3dried Kashmiri chili peppers or 2 tsp chili flakes(add more if you like it hot)
1tspfine salt or 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
½tspasafoetida(*can sub with garlic powder)
grapeseed oil or sunflower oil(1 cup for deep frying or 1/4 cup for baking)
Soak the split chickpeas. For baked vada, soak them for at least 8 hours; for fried vada, 2 hours of soaking is enough. (You may need to soak longer if using whole chickpeas.)
Add all the ingredients except oil to a blender or food processor. Blend on low speed until ingredients are very finely chopped, but with some whole chickpea chunks still visible. (If you overblend, you'll lose some of the chunky texture but the recipe will still turn out nicely).
Form the mixture into balls slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. Gently pat them between your palms into patties around 1/2-inch thick.
Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. If you have a laser thermometer, the oil should read around 350 °F (175 °C); it will drop down to 300 °F (150 °C) when you add the fritters.
Place the vada into the skillet. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on both sides. Add more oil for subsequent batches as needed. I ended up using 3/4 cups (150 g) of oil to cook all the fritters.
Place vada onto baking sheets and use your hand to flatten each to 1/2 inch thick. Drizzle 1/4 cup oil over top.
Bake at 425 °F for 25 minutes, flipping halfway.
Spray waffle iron generously with oil and cook the vada until golden-brown.
Serve with hot ketchup, spicy chutney, or red pepper jelly!