Split Black Gram Fritters (Biscuit Ambado)

Split Black Gram Fritters (Biscuit Ambado)

Biscuit ambade is the Kannada name for deep fried black gram fritters (urad dal vada). Biscuit ambado is the Konkani name. These yummy fritters with a crispy crust and a soft inside are a perfect snack and will vanish from the plate in seconds when served hot. You can't just stop at one!

In Mangalore, Udupi region biscuit ambade is a popular tea time snack and breakfast. Biscuit ambade is also served along with idlis and sambar. Crispy, tiny or large balls of biscuit ambade are served with just sambar as a tea time snack and are called as bonda soup. Biscuit ambade are soaked in curds for few hours and seasoned to make yummy dahi vada as well. These yummy fritters are so versatile and can be served in so many different ways.

Biscuit ambado is a favourite of Konkani's and is commonly served as a snack/breakfast during rituals and marriages.

Biscuit ambade are similar to the uddina vada/medu vadas that are popularly served along with idlis. The only difference between uddina/medu vada and biscuit ambado is their shape (medu vada has a doughnut shape and biscuit ambado is round in shape, without a hole). The ingredients and method of preparation is the same for both.

Biscuit ambade requires only few ingredients. The only part that's difficult is to get is the right consistency of the batter. Once that is achieved everything else is a breeze. Here's the recipe for you:


3/4 cup urad dal/split black gram
4-5 green chillies
2 leaflets of curry leaves
A big generous pinch of asafoetida (Hing)
2-3 tablespoons of coconut pieces
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger

Serves: 2-3

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Preparation Method:

Preparing the batter for biscuit ambado:

1. Wash and soak urad dal for 2 hours. Drain the water completely after soaking.

2. Grind the soaked urad dal in a blender/mixer until all the urad dal breaks down into a paste and then transfer the paste into a grinder for an extra smooth, fluffy batter.

3. Grind for a minimum of half an hour in the grinder and let the dough rise as it gets ground.

4. Minimum amount of water should be used while grinding. If the ground batter is runny then it absorbs a lot of oil on deep frying. So, add as little water as possible throughout grinding. Add water little by little only as and when needed while grinding.

5. Once the batter rises in the grinder, transfer the ground batter into a bowl. 

6. Grinding the batter only in the blender doesn't make the biscuit ambado fluffy and soft. Grinder makes the batter extra smooth and makes the biscuit ambado fluffy and soft. So, it's worth the extra effort and time.

7. To the ground batter add in finely chopped green chillies, ginger, finely chopped curry leaves, asafoetida powder, chopped coconut pieces, salt and mix well.

Deep frying to make biscuit ambado:

8. Heat up the oil for deep frying.

9. Once the oil's rolling hot, lower it to a medium flame.

10. Dip your hand in water, take a small amount of batter using your fingers and drop them into the hot oil. 

Water on your fingers prevents the batter from sticking to your fingers.

11. Drop lemon sized batter into the oil to make few fritters (don't over crowd the oil). 

12. Fry these fritters on medium heat until the fritters are golden brown in color throughout. 

If the flames high you'll get ambade/fritters with crispy, overcooked outer layer and raw batter inside. And if you allow the fritters to cook for longer on a high flame to have a perfectly cooked inside, then you'll end up having a crunchy exterior. So, make sure you set the flame to medium, once the oil's hot and ready to be used for frying. This way you have unifromly cooked ambado's with a nice, crispy exterior and soft inside.

13. Transfer the golden brown ambades/fritters onto a blotting paper to drain excess oil.

14. Serve hot biscuit ambade with a cup of hot tea/coffee. I bet they'll vanish in seconds from the plates.

Serving suggestions:

1. Biscuit ambados taste great as is. Serve them as a snack.

2. You can also serve biscuit ambade as breakfast with chutney or sambar.

3. Serve hot, crispy biscuit ambado dipped in piping hot sambar and they are called as vada soup. They can be served as breakfast or as tea time snack.

4. Serve hot biscuit ambados with idli - sambar or idli - chutney for breakfast.

5. You can serve any remaining biscuit ambade's as dahi vadas. Biscuit ambade's dipped in seasoned, flavoured curds are called as dahi vada.

Steps to make yummy dahi vada:

a. Add 2 cups of curds in a bowl. Add salt, sugar, chopped fresh corrainder to it and mix well.

b. Heat oil in a tadka pan, add mustard, cumin seeds and let them sizzle. When they start to splutter add in urad dal and fry them until they start to brown. Then add in curry leaves, split dried red chillies and fry them for few seconds. Add this seasoning to the curds with salt and sugar and mix well.

c. Then add in deep fried fritters/ambade's that aren't hot and let them soak in the curds for a minimum of 4 hours. You can add about 5-6 medium sized vada's to 2 cups of curds. Don't over crowd the curds. Let the vadas get enough of curds to soak in.

d. The more the ambade's soak in curds, the better they taste. Serve soft, sweet, spicy, yummy dahi vadas chilled or as is and enjoy!

Find more Udupi, Mangalorean tea time snack, breakfast recipes here.

Tags: Biscuit ambade, split black gram fritters, uddina vada, medu vada, urad dal vada, Konkani recipe, tea time snack, breakfast, dahi vada, bonda soup, ambado, Konkani food, Mangalore food, Udupi cuisine, Konkani cuisine, Udupi Mangalore street food, udha doddak