Make Masala Vadai:
Put all the ingredients other than the cilantro and the oil into a food processor or blender and process until it comes together in a coarse paste. I ground up my vadai batter quite fine, but you could leave a few visible bits of the dal in there for a more traditional look.
Try not to add any water, because you want a stiff batter that you can shape into vadais. If your blender refuses to budge, however, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it relents. If the batter gets too loose, sprinkle in just enough chickpea flour so the dough holds together.
Add the cilantro to the batter and mix in. Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Heat oil in a cast-iron or other pan.
Make a ball about one inch in diameter with the vadai batter and then flatten between the palms of your hands into a disc.
Fry in hot oil until golden brown, about a minute on each side.
Serve hot with chutney.