Spicy red lentil fritters in air fryer are the crunch and burn I crave

image of red lentil fritters

Spicy red lentil fritters have been a huge step up in my snack game lately. These little mini vadas are everything I crave in one bite. The heat, crunch, saltiness, and flavor along with the healthy plant proteins and fibers are all included in my red lentil fritters recipe.

Making red lentil fritters, masala vada style.

Red lentil fritters mix

I make them quite spicy to bring my own Sri Lankan sensational red peppery burn to them. It is a must have. Golden red masala vada piled high on a plate shimmering in hot chili and curry leaves herb oil I just poured over them, filling my every breath with anticipation is something I do not regret. I could hardly wait until I took a few nice photographs. After the photo session was over not one survived to go into the storage for later.

How to make spicy red lentil fritters in air fryer

Although soaking the beans can be time consuming and grinding them into a paste can be bit messy, making my red lentil fritters isn’t hard at all! This is a classic dump and go recipe with red curry powder

Soaking the beans, however, is extremely important. If you are using soybeans and whole chickpeas in this recipe, it is even more so. I usually soak them 24 hours, changing the water every three hours. If you wish to do a quick version of red lentil fritters with just red lentils, you could do that, and they are going to be quite good too.

Once the lentil and bean paste are ready add everything together and fold them in. Maldive fish can be hard to find where I live in the USA, however you could substitute bacon bits, or dried shrimp or thinly sliced pepperoni into the batter. For vegan plant-based option, mix in caramelized onions, Zucchini, carrots, or fried leeks if you prefer. A red lentil fritter batter without any extra vegetables or meat-based toppings works too!

I like to fry my red lentil fritters in an air fryer. My air fryer is my go-to healthy convenient option I use every day. I mix in a little bit of gingelly oil to the mix. It gives a little bit of aroma and flavor along with the deep fried in oil sensation to the vada when they are fried in air fryer.

Red lentil fritters in a plate with tomato and chili chutney

Adding Gingelly oil to red lentil fritters is totally my personal preference. Skip the step if you are not able to find it. However, making chili oil with some sliced red pepper, garlic, and curry leaves is highly recommended. If the red lentil fritters are made in air fryer this is even more important. I certainly love and don’t regret the sensation of having deep oil fried vada in my fingertips even when they are actually not fried in oil.

image of red lentil fritters

Masala Vada with Sri Lankan curry powder


  • 1 cup red lentils soaked and pureed
  • 1 cup chickpeas / soybeans soaked well and pureed
  • 1 medium red onion or 4 to 5 shallots finely minced
  • 2 Green Chilies finely minced
  • 1 inch Ginger finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons Rice flour optional
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tablespoon roasted red curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Maldives fish Crushed
  • 1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil / gingelly oil optional
  • 10 curry leaves


  • Soak Red lentils in water for an hour or until very soft. Drain and puree into a fine paste. Set it aside.
  • Soak chickpea/ Soybeans for 24 hours changing water at least three times. Drain and puree into a chunky paste. (Alternatively, you could use chickpea dal as well. )
  • Mix red lentil and chickpea/ soybean paste with finely minced onion, ginger garlic, green chili, red curry powder, black pepper, crushed red chili and Maldives fish.
  • Add fish sauce and salt according to taste.
  • mix in curry leaves. If you have gingelly oil mix that in with the batter as well.
  • Shape it into oblong patties. Spray in olive oil
  • Air fry at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Enjoy with your favorite sauce or chutney

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