Dhal Wade

My parents are originally from the Sri Lankan mountain city of Kandy. We still have many relatives there and spend time on our family holidays there. Our main pot of call is Helpitiya, where my mother’s Aunty lives. There’s is a huge house, full of secret rooms and nestled in cool tropical forest.

They  are planters, like much of my family, and they have men and women who supervise the workers. These workers are often Tamil and possess amazing additional skills, one of them being cooking. One particular man made the most amazing wades. Crispy fried and spiced lentil patties.

He would come by the house in the afternoon with a silver tray of ground lentils, ground on a traditional mirisgala, no food processor in site.

If you’re curious as to how this would work, take a look here.

He would then set up a small wood fire out the back and fry these goodies up on demand. The skill required for this always amazed me. He was always able to control the temperature precisely so that the wade were crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside, never burnt, never underdone. Since it always takes me a few goes on the gas stove to master this, I’m always amazed


  • 2 cups yellow split peas / red lentils
  • 1 onion minced
  • Egg
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Curry powder
  • Flour as needed
  •  Maldive fish (optional)


        Soak the peas/lentils overnight
        The next morning drain the water water and blend ½ the peas in a blender until broken up but not smooth (you want pieces for texture).
         Mix the blended and unblended half together. Add the egg , spices and onion (I mince the onions in a food processor). Mix  the dhal mixture and add flour (if needed) to make a firm paste that can be moulded into round patties. That is to say, add  flour if the mixture will not hold together or is too “liquidy”. Sometimes you need it, sometimes you don’t. Make the mixture into round patties about 2.5cm in diameter and about 1cm thick. I make these first and put them on a        plate.  If you’re busy, you can do up to this step and refrigerate, ready to fry later.
        Heat some oil in a shallow fry pan. When hot place 2-3 of the wade in and fry until golden. Deep fry in hot oil till golden  brown and cooked on the outside.


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