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Crispy Medu Vada (Ulunthu Vadai)

- Submitted by Dahlia on 15th Jan 2009

(Medhu Vadai, Medu Vadai, Urad Dal Vada, Black Gram Vada, Crispy Ulunthu Vadai, மெது வடை)

Medu Vada

Medhu vada or ulundu vada or urad dal vada is the third item in the trinity of idly, dosa and vada which has been popular in our country. It is the star of south Indian menu. “Medhu” (in Tamil meaning soft) vada is a fritter, resembling doughnuts, is crispier outside and soft inside. Vada is an absolutely necessary part of a Tamil lunch menu in weddings, festivals, puja days and many occasions. Medu Vada can be served as an evening snack along with a cup of hot tea or coffer. It can be also served as a side for south Indian breakfast dishes like idli, pongal, dosa, etc. along with chutney or sambar. This is a delicacy from the South Indian kitchen.

Recipe for Medu Vadai

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves : 4


  • Split Black Gram (Urad dal) - 1 cup
  • Ginger - 1" piece (grated)
  • Green Chilies / Dry red chillies - 3-4 (finely chopped)
  • Crushed Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - 1-2 strands (leaves finely chopped)
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • Salt - to taste
  • Water - very little for grinding (app. 1/2 cup)

Optional Ingredients

  • Onion - 1/2 (chopped)
  • Cilantro - handful chopped
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Any Vegetables - 1/2 cup
  • Coconut pieces


  1. Soak the urad dal overnight or a minimum of 1/2 an hour.
  2. Drain the water and grind the dal in grinder / blender / mixie using as little water as possible.

    Making Medu Vada at home Making Medu Vada at home

  3. Take this urad dal batter in a bowl and add required salt, grated ginger, green/red chillies, crushed pepper, asafoetida and chopped curry leaves.

    Making Medu Vada at home Making Medu Vada at home Making Medu Vada at home

  4. Optional:You could add in the optional ingredients too if you prefer. Mix the batter nicely.

    Making Medu Vada at home

  5. In the meantime, heat the oil for frying the vadas.
  6. To shape the vadas, wet your hand, take a small portion of batter on the palm your hand. Instead of hand you can also use a polythene paper
  7. Using the finger of your other hand or the thumb of the same hand, make a small hole in the center of the batter.

    Making Medu Vada at home Making Medu Vada at home

  8. Gently slide the batter into the hot oil. The hole helps in even cooking of the vadas inside and out. The vadas should be fried in medium heat.

    Making Medu Vada at home

  9. Once the vadas get golden brown on one side, flip it and cook the other side.
  10. Once the vada fully turns golden brown, remove it and let it rest on paper towels to remove excess oil.


  • The key aspect in the vada making is the grinding of the batter. Water should be added in drops in between. In case the batter becomes watery, add rice flour to the batter to get the right consistency.
  • Vadas need to be fried immediately after grinding, as keeping it out for long time would result in fermentation of the batter and make it watery.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the hot medhu vadai with coconut chutney or sambar as an evening snack.
  • You can also server this vada with any south Indian breakfast items like idli, pongal etc.

Medu Vada


  • You could sneak in any veggies to get different vadas like cabbage vadai, spinach (keera) vadai, carrot vadai, broccoli vadai etc.
  • With the left over vadas you can make other delicacies like curd vada, sambhar vada, rasam vada etc.
  • Diet watchers can do shallow frying in Kuzhipaniyaram pans. The ulundu Kuzhipaniyaram tastes the same like deep fried vada but with large reduction in oils.
  • MYSORE BONDA: This is yet another famous snack dish having its descendant from Karnataka. It is extremely easy to make. Add some fresh coconut bits in the vada batter and make small bondas and deep fry in oil. This is easy as we need not toil for the traditional vada shape and tastes as yummy as the vadas.

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Comments (2)

Person Anie   (April 18, 2013)
Can we bake this too just like corn vadai ???
Person Dahlia (S.I.R. Author)   (April 19, 2013)
Unfortunately no.. The batter is little more liquidy than the corn vadai batter.. so i haven't tried baking.. i have a fried who shallow fries them in kizhipaniyaram plate..

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