Vada recipe – Garelu, uddina vade, ulundhu vadai, medu vada are the other South Indian names to these round disc shaped fritters. These are one of the very popular South Indian foods served for Breakfast or Snack not only in most traditional South Indian homes but also in street stalls and tiffin centers.
What is vada?
Vada is a crispy deep fried savory food made of lentils. Usually they are made by soaking and grinding urad dal (skinned black gram) or chana dal (bengal gram) to batter. Then small portions of this batter is deep fried.
Those made using urad dal are called medu vada or medhu vadai in Tamil and Garelu in Telugu. They are served with tiffin sambar and fresh coconut chutney. The kind made using chana dal are called as masala vadai or chana dal vada. These are served with just tea or chutney.
Medu vada recipe shared here can be used to make a basic version which are offered to goddess Lakshmi and Durga during festivals like varalakshmi vratam / puja, Gouri puja, Diwali and Durga navratri. These can also be made like hotel style lightly spiced vadai.
The ingredients that go towards making naivedhyam medu vada recipe or garelu are kept simple. At home we make these without onion, ginger, pepper or green chilies. Each family have their own custom whether to include or not certain ingredients.
The hotel style medu vada are made using crushed pepper, green chilies, cumin and onions. Even a pinch of baking soda is used to make them very fluffy.
Can I make vada batter without wet grinder?
In hotels & restaurants, medu vada batter is ground in wet grinder. This gives the best fluffy texture from inside and crispy texture outside. Most traditional South Indian households too use a wet grinder to make the batter.
But every time I make garelu or medu vada I use my mixer grinder. I have a very large wet grinder so I rarely use that for grinding. We can make fluffy medu vada even without a wet grinder.
If you intend to try these read all the notes mentioned in this post to get them right.
Notes & tips
- Do not let the mixer-grinder or the batter to heat up otherwise medu vada can become hard. Sometimes they may even taste bitter.
- If the batter becomes slightly runny, you can mix 1 to 2 tbsps. Of rice flour (at room temperature).Then beat it well to get aerated. If the batter turns to be runny still, I suggest you to make make punugulu
- Other alternates are to use powdered poha or attukulu. Poha works great.
- If you are a beginner make the medu vada on a plastic sheet and then transfer to the hot oil. Do not make it in your hand or fingers.
- Adding salt later to the batter can thin it down, so make sure you add while grinding.
- Next adding salt later to the batter can thin it down, so make sure you add while grinding.
- Use only very little ice cold water to grind the batter. Using not more than 1 1/2 tsp. at one time, which literally means you have to sprinkle the water evenly.
Reasons for hard vadas
- Not soaking dal for at least 4 hours.
- Not grinding the batter well.
- Did not use enough water while grinding or did not aerate the batter well.
If your vadas turn out hard even after you follow all these tips, it means dal is very old stock. Yes vadas made from old stock dal don’t turn out good. Old stocks look very pale yellow in color so avoid using such urad dal.
Vada remains uncooked or over browned:
Adding vadas to extremely hot smoky oil will not cook them well from inside. So put on the flame to medium when it is smoky hot.
Medu vada or garelu recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for vada recipe
- 1 cup urad dal (or skinned black gram)
- Salt to taste
- Water Ice Cold , as required
- Oil for deep frying
spices (skip if making for naivedyam)
- ¼ tsp pepper corn (crushed coarsely)
- 2 to 3 green chilies (chopped)
- 4 tbsp onions (chopped)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for vada
- Wash dal several times and soak in lot of water for at least 4 to 5 hrs.
- Drain the water completely and transfer the dal to a mixer grinder jar. If you have a wet grinder, you can use it.
- Sprinkle very little water. Next add salt and start grinding.
- Next scrape off the sides and then grind again.
- Whenever needed sprinkle only as much as 1 ½ tsps. Ice cold water evenly.
- Again continue to grind to a coarse thick batter.
- Sprinkle water. Grind again till the batter looks fluffy and white.
- Transfer this to a bowl. Aerate the batter by beating it with your hand in a clockwise direction for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Test the batter if it is aerated well. Drop a small batter ball in bowl full of water. The ball has to float meaning it is light. This is needed to get fluffy medu vada.
- If the batter doesn’t float well, means either the batter is runny or is not aerated well. Read the notes below to know what to do with runny batter.
- If the batter is in right consistency still it is not floating well. Then beat the batter once more.
- Add crushed pepper, green chilies and onions. Mix everything well.
How to make medu vada
- Heat oil in a deep heavy bottom kadai or pan till hot enough.
- Drop a small amount of batter to check if the oil is hot. The batter raises if the oil is hot enough.
- Dip your fingers in water or oil, we need moist fingers.
- Take small portions of batter. Shape to a ball, slightly flatten with thumb.
- Dip the thumb in water, make a hole in the center.
- Drop in the hot oil by gently shaking off the fingers.
- Or place the ball on a greased sheet. Flatten it slightly and make a hole in the centre.
- When the oil becomes hot, put on the flame to medium.
- Moisten your fingers again. Lift the corner part of the sheet and transfer the vada on to your fingers. Then drop it just by shaking your fingers.
- Fry medu vada till they turn golden on both sides.
- Make them and fry them in batches till you use up all the batter. In between every batch, wait till the oil heats up, if not hot.
- Serve medu vada with chutney or sambar.
Preparation for vada or garelu
1. Wash and soak dal for at least 4 to 5 hrs. Soaking them for at least 4 hours make the batter fluffy and increases the volume. But if you run short of time, you can soak for 2 hours and make.
2. Grind the dal with salt and very little ice cold water that has to be sprinkled to start off. As and when needed sprinkle evenly about only 1 ½ tsp. water each time. Whether you make in the wet grinder or mixer, the process is same.
3. Scrape off the sides and grind again. The batter will be coarse but must be thick. Sprinkle water.
4. Grind till the batter looks fluffy and white, like you see in the picture.
5. Transfer the batter to a bowl, beat the batter in clock wise direction for 30 seconds. This makes the batter more fluffy and aerated. This is very important. You can skip this step if making the batter in wet grinder. You can also add a pinch of baking soda, crushed pepper, green chilies and chopped onions if you want like the ones made in hotels. Since I made these for the puja, I did not add any.
6. Take a small bowl filled with water. Take little batter and form a ball, drop it in the water. If aerated well, the batter floats well. Repeat beating if the batter doesn’t float well. The batter will not float even if the consistency is very thin. Read the notes what to do if the batter becomes runny/thin.
How to make medu vada
7. Heat oil in a deep pan till hot enough. Dip your fingers in water (water should not be dripping from your fingers) Take small portions of this batter. Make a ball then slightly flatten with your thumb. Next dip your thumb in water, make a hole in the centre. Face your palm towards the oil, drop in the hot oil by shaking your fingers gently. Take care. Change in the color is due to the lighting.
or place the ball on a greased sheet. Flatten it slightly and make a hole in the center. Once the oil is hot enough, reduce the flame to medium. Dip your fingers in water. Lift the corner part of the sheet and transfer the medu vada on to your fingers. Drop these just by shaking your fingers.
8. Fry on a medium flame till they turn golden. Drain them on a kitchen tissue. Make batches and finish frying till all the batter is used up.
Cool garelu completely and Offer them to the Goddess.
Serve medu vada with coconut chutney.