Vada recipe – Learn to make crisp, fluffy & delicious medu vada at home. 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 & Snack. Medu vada are most commonly made in traditional South Indian homes. These are also served in hotels & 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.
Medu vada is also made during festivals and are offered to the deities. These are mostly made without onions, ginger, pepper & chilies based on the family customs.
We offer these to Goddess Lakshmi and Durga during festivals like Varalakshmi vratam / puja, Gouri puja, Diwali and Durga navratri.
To make the hotel style medu vada, crushed black pepper, green chilies, ginger, cumin seeds, curry leaves and onions are used. Even a pinch of baking soda is used to make them very fluffy. These are also served as sambar vada, where tiffin sambar is poured over them.
Preparation for vada recipe
1. Wash and soak 1 cup urad dal for at least 4 to 5 hrs. Soaking them for at least 4 hours makes the batter fluffy and increases the volume. But if you run short of time, you can soak for 2 hours and make. While the dal soaks, keep about 1 cup of water in the refrigerator to chill.
2. Later drain the water completely. Add the dal to a blender jar along with 1/3 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle very little ice cold water to start off. Blend scraping the sides.
3. As and when needed sprinkle evenly about only 1 ½ teaspoon water each time. Whether you make in the wet grinder or mixer, the process is same.Scrape off the sides and grind again. The batter will be coarse but must be thick. Sprinkle water as needed again.
4. Grind till the batter looks fluffy and white, like you see in the picture. Ensure your blender does not become warm or hot.
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.
6. Check if the batter is done correctly. 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 below what to do if the batter becomes runny/thin.
To make the hotel style medu vada, you can add a tiny pinch of baking soda, half teaspoon crushed pepper, 1 to 2 green chilies and 1 small chopped onion. Since I made these for the puja, I did not add any.
How to make medu vada
7. On a medium flame, heat oil in a deep pan.
Method 1: Dip your fingers in water (water should not be dripping from your fingers) Take small portions of this batter to your fingers. Make a ball then slightly flatten the ball 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.
Before sliding the medu vada to the oil, ensure it is hot enough. To check, drop a small portion of batter to it. The batter must rise without browning a lot. This is the right temperature.
Method 2: Place the ball on a greased sheet. Flatten it slightly and make a hole in the center. Once the oil is hot enough, ensure the flame is 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. Gently slide a few. Fry medu vada on a medium flame till they turn golden & crisp.
9. When done, remove them to a colander or kitchen tissue. Make and fry medu vadas in batches till all the batter is used up. Offer garelu them to the Goddess.
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 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 them on a damp cloth, plastic sheet or cling flim 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.
- 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.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup urad dal (or skinned black gram)
- 1/3 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- Water Ice Cold , as required
- Oil for deep frying
Optional (skip if making for Naivedyam)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper corn (crushed coarsely)
- 2 to 3 green chilies (chopped)
- 4 tablespoon onions (chopped) (1 small)
- 1 sprig curry leaves (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 teaspoon ginger fine grated
How to make the recipe
- 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. Ensure your grinder does not become hot.
- 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, cumin, ginger,scurry leaves, green chilies and onions. Mix everything well.
How to make medu vada
- Heat oil in a deep heavy bottom kadai or pan on a medium heat 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 to moisten your fingers. Water should not be dripping.
- Take small portions of batter. Shape to a ball, slightly flatten with thumb.
- Dip the thumb in water, again no dripping water. Make a hole in the center.
- Gently slide the vada 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.
- If the oil becomes too hot, regulate 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.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.