Medu Vada, deep fried lentil( split black gram) fritters from South Indian Cuisine, served for breakfast or lunch with Sambhar and Red Chutney(Onion Tomato chutney)
Crispy from outside and from inside, Medu Vada are a popular breakfast item served with idllis along with Sambhar and chutneys.
These are my kid’s favorite snack item. Though these are deep fried but we don’t mind eating these once in a while.We love to have these dunked in dahi too just like North Indian Dahi Vade, makes a good summer afternoon lunch so many times.
Medu Vada are quite different from the North Indian vada that we make for Dahi Vade . Though both are made with split black gram lentils (urad dal), in Medu vada we add curry leaves, black peppercorns, onions and coconut pieces. Many people also add rice(soaked and grind with dal) or rice flour or soaked rice to the dal for extra crispiness. Vade for Dahi are plain Vade with or without fenugreek seeds and can be made also be made with moong dal. Also Medu Vade are bigger in size than Dahi Vade.
Medu Vada is also known as Uddina Vade or Tootu Vada in Karnataka, which is believed to the place of origin of medu vada and another popular vada from the town of Maddur (in Karnataka State). Uddina in Kannada(language) means Urad Dal, and Tootu means hole ( source..online).
Medu Vadas were made famous throughout other Indian cities through various Udipi restaurants. Udipi Cuisine is also one of the part of Karnataka Cuisine, will cover it in a separate post soon.
Mondays are the theme post time for facebook group Foodie Monday Bloghop, where the theme today is Karnataka Cuisine. Aruna who blogs at Vasu’s Veg Kitchen suggested the theme #ThindiYenu which means breakfast in Kannada language(Karnataka ). Interesting term for breakfast, which we in North India call as ‘Subh ka Nashta(Morning Breakfast)!!’
I wanted to make Mudder Vade from the cuisine but at the end time realized that I I ran of semolina so finally decided to make Medu Vada. I soaked Urad Dal for 3-4 hrs in early morning and and made the soft and crispy vadas for Sunday brunch with some Instant Rava Idlis and relished with Sambhar and Chutney.
Do check Aruna’s blog who has dedicated her blog to her father and has some very interesting and easy to recipes from traditional Indian Cuisine especially the Andhra cuisine. I really like the simple and easy way in which she describes her recipes.
Ingredients for Medu Vada
Split Black Lentils( Dhuli Urad Dal), Rice soaked for 3-4 hrs along with dal or Rice flour, Curry leaves, finely chopped onions , Black Peppercorns and fresh Coconut. I have not added coconut here as I did not have it, you can add finely chopped coconut pieces to Vada batter.
Traditionally, Coconut oil is used to fry Vada in South India. But you can use any other plant based good quality oil to fry Vada.
Vada are gluten-free and Vegan friendly. For those who have digestion problems, consume it in moderate quantity and always have it with some chutney as it helps in digestion. Add pinch of hing/asafeotida to batter.
How to make Medu Vada
To make Medu Vada, soak, lentils for at least 3-4 hrs or overnight.
Soaked Lentils are then grind to fine/smooth paste. Try not to add water to the lentils while grinding. If required add water by tbsp, taking care not to make the batter runny.
Add rice flour, mix well with lentil batter and beat the batter. To get soft and fluffy Vadas, beat the batter well for 4-5 minutes. It will aerate the batter and gives puffed up soft vadas.
How to check whether the batter is ready to fry..
The batter should be light and airy and creamy in color.To check whether the batter is ready, drop small ball of batter in a bowl with water. It float on top if the batter is ready to fry else beat it a little more.
If you are adding rice to batter, it should be soaked for 3-4 hrs and grind it with lentil. Keep it covered in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
Add other ingredients like finely torn(by hand) curry leaves, finely chopped green chillies, onions and coconut pieces or gated coconut and salt. Mix well.
Shaping and Frying Vadas
Medu Vada have characteristic shape, just like donuts. The reason of the shape is that the batter with urad lentil is dense and since the vadas are a little bigger in size. The vadas should cook evenly and now remain raw form the center, a hole is made, just like we do in donuts.right hand, then make a hole giving it the shape of donut.
You can shape vadas by hands just like shown in pic or take butter paper. Put some batter on it and shape it like donuts and lightly transfer it in medium hot oil.
Do not fry vadas at high flame, as these will burn from out side and remain raw from inside.
I have seen a Vada Vendor( who hailed from Karnataka) in Mumbai in our locality frying the vadas twice. First time he fried the vadas lightly on low flame. Took out the batch and then keep it outside for a few minutes, till the other batch he fried. Then again on medium to high flame he again fried the vadas. His Vadas with chutneys were famous in our locality and people would queue outside his shop in mornings and evening for the vadas and idlis. I usually do not fry vadas twice, only when if making for guests. Fry the vadas lightly before guests arrive and then just before serving fry it again. It really gives crispy vadas.
Fry Vadas till light brown. Drain on a kitchen towel or paper tissues that soaks extra oil.
Serve hot and fresh with chutney or sambhar.
Will update the Chutney recipe in my next post.
I make mini vadas as Is till have to get the perfect shape for the bigger vadas, and we like bite sized vadas with chutney for snacks.
- 1½ Cup Split Black Gram Lentil/Dhuli Urad Dal
- 2 tsp Finely Onions
- 1 tsp Roughly torn Curry leaves
- 1-2 Finely Chopped Green Chillies optional
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds optional
- 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Finely chopped fresh coconut pieces optional
- Salt to Taste
- Oil to Deep fry
- Wash dal nicely 2-3 times in running water.
- Soak dal in enough water for at least 3-4 hrs.
- When ready to make drain water from lentils and grind to a fine paste.
- Add and mix rice flour.
- Beat the batter to 4-5 mins for aeration, till it is light and fluffy.
- Keep it covered for 10-15 minutes.
- To check whether the batter is ready to fry, drop a small ball of batter in water(in bowl) it should float. Else, beat it little more.
- Crush peppercorns and add to batter.
- Add chopped onions, curry leaves, green chillies and cumin seeds with salt. Mix everything well.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai. Drop very tiny ball of batter in oil, it should rise slowly.It is the right temperature to fry vadas.
- Fry Vadas first on medium to low flame and then on high flame.
- Fry till light brown. Once done take out from oil and drain on tissue paper or kitchen towel.
- Serve hot with chutney or sambhar.
Medu Vadas taste best whens served hot. If you have to reheat the Vadas, do not reheat it in microwave as these will become soggy. Heat in oven or Otg for 10 minutes.
Also, try to make fresh batter whenever you want to make Vadas. I do not use a day old batter to fry vadas. The vadas will come okay but not as good as the ones made with fresh batter.
Do make these delicious vadas, and serve as snack or meal item. I love to have these with chutney and a cup of chai. Also, do share your feedback on the post and recipe.
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