Prawn and lentil snacks

Prawn and lentil snacks

Isso vadai

My Feast
Chris Chen

If you take a stroll along Galle Face Green, the seaside promenade in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you will find many vendors selling this tasty snack. Our dad always took us there to fly our kites and run around on a Sunday afternoon and it always had the feeling of a funfair to me. Eating this crispy snack always brings back those Sunday memories.

During his childhood my dad got very sick and had a lot of trouble recovering. One day, his dad took him to Galle Face Green to get some sea air and he saw a group of young men wrestling on the beach. He was interested in what they were doing and when one of the boys asked him to join he thought he would give it a try. He became a great wrestler and his sickness also went away.


Quantity Ingredient
200g split red lentils
2.5cm ginger
2 onions, chopped
4 small green chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
6 curry leaves, finely shredded
12 coriander leaves, chopped
salt, to taste
500g raw school prawns, unshelled
vegetable oil, for deep-frying


  1. Soak half of the lentils in plenty of cold water for 2–3 hours.
  2. Drain the lentils, place in a small food processor or blender with the ginger and coarsely grind.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining lentils, the onion, chilli, cumin, curry leaves and coriander, season with salt and mix well.
  4. Using damp hands, roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls, then flatten into patties. Push four or five whole prawns into each patty.
  5. Fill a deep-sided saucepan or wok one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the patties, in batches, for 3–5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve hot or at room temperature.
My Sri Lanka
Island Feast
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