Medhu Vadai (pronounced as May-dhooo V-uh-dye) is a traditional favorite of south Indian, especially Tamil cuisine and is an indispensable part of the menu during festivals. ‘Medhu’ means soft, and the dumplings must live up to the name. This is the basic version of the fried snack. There are so many different varieties possible with the same batter. The best combination to eat these vadas are with coconut chutney and Sambar.
MEDU VADA RECIPE | Indian Lentil Dumplings
Makes: 6-8 dumplings
1 cup urad dal (split black gram)
3-4 green chillies, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
3/4 – 1 teaspoon Salt (to taste)
Handful of roughly chopped curry leaves
Oil, for deep frying
1 ziplock bag or a thick plastic cover (like the cover in which we get milk in India)
1. Wash the black gram (urad dal) well and soak in water for around 2 hours.
2. Drain the water, add it to a mixer / grinder.
3. Add salt, asafoetida, roughly cut chili to the mixer / grinder.
4. Blend to a smooth, sticky batter. (Takes around 15 minutes in my grinder)
5. Add roughly chopped curry leaves and mix well
6. Wet your hands. Take a portion of the batter in your hands and shape it into a round ball. Place it on the plastic zip lock or any cover and shape it like so -
(Making the hole is optional. It just makes the vada more crispy)
7. Heat oil. And slowly, slide the batter out from the plastic cover to the oil.
8. Deep fry it both the sides are golden brown.
9. Drain on absorbent paper.
10. Serve with coconut chutney and sambar!
> You can shape the dumplings without the plastic cover too using your hands. Its just easier with the plastic cover.
> If the batter sticks to your hands, wet your hands before shaping the vadas. You can use a bit of water while shaping the dumpling. (very little!)
> Grind the batter with just enough water to make a soft but not watery dough – as it’s the consistency of the batter that determines how soft and shapely the vadas turn out. If the dough is too liquid-y, your dumplings/vada will absorb a lot of oil while frying (and you don’t want that!).
> You can add chopped onions, carrots and so many other vegetables and spices to the batter to make different kinds of vadas.
> Steam them for a healthier version. Although not as delicious as this deep fried version, it is quite tasty. (Here’s an interesting steamed vada I found)