Kanji Vada

Chef Eric Valdez of Dhamaka, New York | Adapted by StarChefs

This is one of the most memorable dishes I have tasted while traveling in India. The flavors are intense—and at the same time, comforting. Kanji Vada is a traditional Rajasthani snack made seasonally during Holi, Diwali, and mostly during winter as the mustard in it heats up the body and helps during those severe cold seasons.

Ingredients for the Kanji:

  • 1-quart coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard paste
  • ½ teaspoon black salt
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon The Perfect Purée Lime Zest, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon green chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt

Method for the Kanji:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut water, mustard, black salt, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Mix until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to a large jar and cover with a cheesecloth. Let ferment for 4 days at room temperature. When fermented, mix in the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and season with salt. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Ingredients for the Relish:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon The Perfect Purée Lime Zest, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder

Method for the Relish:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate

Ingredients for the Vada Water:

  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • Salt

Method for the Vada Water:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients with 1-quart warm water. Set aside.

Ingredients for the Vada:

  • Black lentils, soaked overnight and drained
  • Split mung beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 5 green chiles, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • Salt
  • Neutral oil

Method for the Vada: 

  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Set aside. In a shallow pan over high heat, heat oil. Using a spoon, scoop the lentil mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown. Let cool. Soak the lentil balls inVadaWater for 1 minute. Remove and squeeze out excess water. Place on a paper-towel-lined tray. Set aside.


  1. In a small serving bowl, place 4Vadas. Add a quenelle of Relish on top of each Vada. Tableside, pour chilled Kanji over the top.