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Nei Kadalai
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Chana dal namkeen | nei kadalai

Popular fried chana dal, a perfect tea time snack
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Soaking time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 35 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: tea time snacks
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Jeyashri suresh


  • 1 cup chana dal
  • Oil for deep frying
  • ¼ tsp baking soda

For making North Indian style namkeen

  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp kala namak | black salt
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp amchur powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • Salt as needed

For making South Indian Nei kadalai

  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • 2 pinches asafoetida
  • Salt as needed
  • Few curry leaves


  • Soak chana dal in water along with baking soda for 3 hours.
  • Baking soda makes the chana bit softer and the texture will be perfect after frying.
  • Wash it thrice and drain the water completely.
  • Spread this in a clean towel and let this completely dry. Do not dry in sunlight.
  • I just put the fan and kept the towel under it.
  • Ensure there is no moisture.
  • Deep fry them in oil in batches.
  • Once the bubble subsides, take them out from the oil.
  • Drain in a kitchen towel.
  • Fry few curry leaves and keep it aside.
  • We are going to make 2 versions of snack

Let’s make South Indian style Nei kadalai first.

  • Take half portion of the fried chana dal and add it in a bowl.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida, pepper powder, salt and slightly crushed curry leaves.
  • Mix well.
  • Nei kadalai is ready.
  • Store this in an airtight container.

Let’s make the North Indian version, Chana dal namkeen

  • Take another portion of dal in a bowl.
  • Add turmeric powder, amchur powder, chaat masala, red chili powder and pepper powder.
  • Mix well.
  • Chana dal namkeen is ready.
  • Store this in an airtight container.



1. Ensure there is moisture in the chana dal before frying in the oil. Else it will burst.
2. Chana dal namkeen | Nei kadalai is not only a tea time snack but a perfect accompaniment for rice too.