Crispy fluffy medu vada or Medhu vadai is a quintessential part of South Indian breakfast. A perfect match to steamed idli. It is a very popular in all the Southern Indian states. Kannadigas call it as uddina vada. Tamils call it as ulundu vada. While Telugus call it as garelu, Malayalis call it uzhunnu vada. You can have it with sambar and rasam which are both lentil stews. You can have it dry too with some coconut , tomato pachdi or ginger chutney.
I must sincerely thank all Udupi restaurants and all popular South Indian eatery chains which made them so popular. Most restaurants are run by Shetty and people from Mangalore Udupi region across India. Hence, this cuisine has now spread far and wide. Nowadays, they are available across India and the world. Most foreigners also love it thanks to Veganism on the rise. Idli vada sambar is one of the most popular breakfasts whether you travel by air or train nowadays. This recipe fills your tummy with nutrients and heart with pride.
Why medu vada has a hole?
Medu means soft and as the name suggests it has a soft interior. It has a crispy fritter texture on the outside. It is a simple recipe involving frying soaked and fermented black gram split lentils or urad dal. The batter consistency should not too watery. It looks like a donut once done. You can make it without a medu vada maker. You may or may not make a hole in the middle. However, having a hole in middle, ensures the interior cooks perfectly. You can also wet your hands put a cookie ring and pour batter inside and make a hole. Remove the ring and slide the batter into hot oil carefully to fry it. This is both vegan and gluten free.
Yes, it is full of protein. It helps strengthen bones especially after illness or pregnancy. It is also used to make idli dosa & papad. However, you cannot have it daily as it is still fried. Air frying them can definitely reduce the calories.
This snack has always been a part of Indian travel culture and temple food cuisine. You can always find it being served on train platforms. Many vendors choose to sell it as it is very popular. You will find it as a common snack at canteens for breakfast and rail ahar. In the olden days, railways did not have pantry in all trains. Neither you could find apps which could bring the food to your berth. Most people who would travel long distances either brought food along or relied on the vendors. At major stations in South India, you could find stalls with hot piping coffee and tea and yummy idli, vade. Once the train approached a vendor would jump up the stairs with a basket full of chana dal vade, mendu vadai and piping hot idli. Soon a coffee or tea vendor would follow. Ah, those days of idly youth and long train journeys.
We usually serve 2 idli or rice dumplings along with 1 vada and chutney for breakfast. This is available in all canteens, mess and even in temples. Most devotees travel long distances to reach the temple. Snacks and sweet shops serve it all day long cater to devotees. Hence, they go back with both nourished belly and soul.
- mixer grinder/blender
- Urad dal/ split black gram lentils
- Green chili
- Coriander leaves/curry leaves
- Black peppers
- Rice flour optional
- Oil for frying
How to make medu vada?
Making the vada batter of the right consistency, and of the right shape gets easier with practice. You understand the right consistency of the split black gram batter just like you do for bread. Here are the steps below
- Soak the urad dal in water for 4 hours/overnight. Always better to throw the water away and then grind with minimal fresh water in a wet grinder or mixer grinder. I had a ultra wet grinder back home but now I just use my Ninja for it
2.Add other ingredients to the dal. You can also add some curry leaves to medhu vadai.
3. Mix all ingredients. 4. Take a spoonful and make a ring of the batter, let it cook in medium hot oil. 5. Take them out of the oil once cooked/golden brown
Read the recipe below:
Medu Vada recipe
- kadai/wok/frying pan
- Mixer grinder/blender
- 1 cup urad dal split black lentils,soaked for 4 hours/overnight
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- Few sprigs of coriander leaf ,finely chopped
- 8-10 black peppers crushed
- 1 green chilli optional ,finely chopped
- Salt as per taste
- 1 tablespoon rice flour optional
- Oil for frying
- Grind the urad dal in a mixer grinder with minimal water.
- Pulse it with minimal water to form a smooth batter.
- Add all ingredients and mix well.
- In case, batter is too watery,add rice flour to it.
- Heat oil in a kadai/saucepan.
- Take a small portion of dough and lower them slowly in hot oil with/without hole.
- On a medium flame, fry them until golden brown.
How can we reduce oil in Vada?
Batter should not be very thin. If your batter is too runny, it will absorb more oil. Place the fried vadai on a tissue so that it soaks the extra oil.
How do I fix watery Vada batter?
In case, your batter is very runny or watery, you can still fix it. Simply, add some rice flour to it. If you do not have rice flour at home. just grind some rice in a coffee grinder.