Wash the lentils and soak them in water for an hour.
Tip: avoid soaking the lentils for too long. If the lentils absorb too much water, it will be difficult for the ground mix to hold shape when make the lentil balls.
Drain the water using a colander. You can use a cloth or a kitchen towel to soak up any leftover water. Transfer the soaked lentils to a food processor and pulse to a coarse consistency. Ensure that you don't grind the lentils and make it a paste.
Tip: if you grind them too much, the parippu vada cannot hold their shape.
Transfer to a mixing bowl. Now finely chop the ginger, shallots, and green chillies, and add to the bowl. Also add the curry leaves (you can tear each leaf to two or three pieces), the ground black pepper, and salt. Combine well.
Tip: slice the shallots and ginger just before you add them to the ground lentils. If you leave them out too long, the shallots will become moist and the vada will not hold its shape when you fry them.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Once the oil is hot, lower to a medium flame.
Tip: use coconut oil to get the most authentic taste.
Equally, divide the lentil mix into 12 small balls. Flatten a lentil ball with your palm and gently slide into the hot oil. Let it fry. Depending on the size of your pan, you can add a few more flattened lentil balls into the oil without touching each other.
You can turn them over to fry evenly. Fry till the parippu vada is golden brown.
Drain oil using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel to soak up any extra oil. Serve hot. You can serve it with cilantro chutney or a coconut chutney for an extra zing!