Medu Vada or Ulandi Vadai are donoughut shaped urad dal fritters that have been a traditional favorite of south India from antiquity. With exchange of food and culture, they have now become popular all over India and is often considered a healthy breakfast item. In south India they are often served with sambar and coconut chutney. You can however serve them with just about any chutney you have at hand and enjoy at teatime with your dose of caffeine.
Lately things have been somewhat unsettling around here. The thing is... we want to move back to India. But right now the job scenario in homeland does not look too promising. We feel that the fact that husband and I are both past our mid thirties is working to our disadvantage. While I do not mind a change of career, my husband is not quite prepared for it. So he is tensed and I have been doing all that I can to lighten the atmosphere at home. Cooking his favorite meals, indulging in little scoops of ice-cream after dinner and mostly listening him out.. Hopefully things will change for the better soon.. Till then there will be a lot of deep fried snacks coming out of my kitchen.
I adapted the recipe from Ez Cook Book. Chopped onions were my only addition to their recipe. You can leave them out if you like or add some greens like finely chopped spinach, kale or fenugreek leaves to the batter. The recipe is highly adaptable so feel free to customize the flavors and make your own veggie medu vadai...Medu Vada
Prep time: minimum 1½ hours including soaking and grinding time
Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: minimum 1 hour 50 minutes from start to finish
Yield: fifteen 2½ inch vadas
- 1 cup urad dal
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- few springs of curry leaves
- 2 tbsps chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tsps finely chopped ginger
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped (optional)
- ¾-1 tsp salt (depending upon how salty you like your food)
- Wash Urad dal till the water runs clear.
- Soak the washed dal in water along with the fenugreek seeds for 1-2 hours. Then using your mixer grinder or food processor grind it into a thick batter. Avoid adding water while grinding the dal. If you must, just sprinkle some water so that dal batter does not stick to the walls and base of the mixer jar.
- Add cumin seeds, chopped coriander, curry leaves, ginger and chopped onion to the prepared batter. Mix well and keep aside.
- When ready to fry, pour oil in a frying pan so that it is 1½ deep. Heat the oil to 325 ° F. To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a small amount of batter in it. The oil is ready for frying if the batter sizzles and comes up right away without changing color.
- Keep a bowl of water handy. You will need this while making the vadas to wet your hands and shape the batter.
- Wet your hand slightly, take a lemon sized ball of the batter, flatten it, then using your thumb, make a hole in the center so that the batter looks like a donut.
- Now carefully slide the donut shaped batter into the oil and turning once or twice in between, deep fry until they are crisp and look golden brown.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve with coconut or mint chutney.
- Grinding the dal without adding extra water may take sometime. Be patient and resist the temptation to add water. This is important as the consistency of the batter determines the softness of the Vadas. I cannot tell you the reason, but from experience I have learnt that adding water to the batter leads to dense and hard vadas. ( Just so that you know, it took me 30 minutes to grind the dal in my basic Oster Blender. )
- Depending upon the size of your frying pan, you can fry a number of vadas at a time. However do not overcrowd your pan, else the vadas might remain undercooked.