Tirupati vada are made with whole urad dal, pepper, cumin and salt. These are distributed to the devotees as prasadam in Tirupati Balaji temple. Some time ago I happened to come across this recipe on youtube and was excited to try it during a festival.
I thought of sharing it here during Navratri but somehow couldn’t do it. In the earlier days, these whole urad dal vada were made in some Telugu speaking homes and were considered to be healthy since they are high in protein, fiber and are fried in desi ghee.
These were given to children and people recovering from sickness to provide a good amount of nutrition. Whole urad dal is said to be one of the lentils with highest protein content.
Since ghee has the highest smoke point these are healthier than any other vada or deep fried foods. These whole urad dal vada do not soak up oil due the thick consistency of the ground mixture.
How to Make Tirupati Vada
Rinse black urad dal a few times until the water runs clear. Soak in plenty of water for 4 to 5 hours. Later drain and rinse them.
To a grinder jar, add cumin, black pepper and salt.
Grind to a coarse powder.
Add the drained lentils and grind without water to a coarse paste.
If it is too dry, splash 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Scrape the sides and grind.
It must be slightly coarse and bind well.
Begin to heat the oil in a kadai. While the oil heats, divide the dough to portions and roll to small balls. On a moist cloth, place the balls and spread them to thin vada.
Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a piece of dough. It should sizzle and rise to the surface without turning brown. Gently drop the vada and fry on a medium heat until crisp.
Fry all of the vada in the oil.
Serve Tirupati vada immediately hot or cold while they are still crunchy and crisp.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1½ cups whole urad dal / black gram
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons black pepper corn
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup Ghee / clarified butter for deep frying
- Wash black gram a few times and soak in lot of water for 4 to 5 hours. Drain it in a colander.
- Make a fine powder of cumin and pepper along with salt.
- Add dal and blend without water. Then sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsps water and blend to a coarse paste.
- The mixture will be thick and sticky.
- Grease a foil or banana leaf or clean moist cloth for making the vada. Dip your fingers in water.
- Divide the dough to 12 equal parts and shape them to balls.
- Place them on the cloth and spread them to thin vada with moist hands. Since the dough is sticky it sticks up to the hands. Make sure the vada are very thin else they will not cook well.
- Heat ghee in a kadai or fry pan. Transfer the vadas to your greased fingers and drop in hot ghee.
- Flip them and fry on both the sides on a medium flame until golden and crisp.
- If the urad dal vadas puff up then press them down with the spatula.
- Drain them on a kitchen tissue.
- Tirupati vada are ready.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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