Monday, April 16, 2012

Medhu vadai / Lentil Fritters

Wishing you all a very happy belated Tamil New year. So on to some festival food. :)
Medhu vadai or Ulundu vadai is a standard item in all South Indian breakfast specials. It is the absolute favorite of most Indians I have come across. I hardly know people who don't like vadai. If I am having breakfast in any restaurant in south India, this is sure to be one of my orders. In my household, this is sure to make an appearance in almost all special occasions . I made this a couple of days back for Tamil New year. :)

This is one of the special items that took me some time to get the hang of it. I still cannot say I have mastered it. :) . It needs practice to get the round shape with the hole , you should also know what consistency the batter has to be and a few other pain points.

Medhu Vadai


Makes roughly around 20 vadais

Urad dal - 1 cup
Raw Rice - 2 Tbspn
Toor Dal - 1 tbspn
Salt - as per taste

Onion - 1 Large finely chopped
Green chilli - 5 finely chopped
Curry leaves - 2 Sprigs , crushed well
Coriander leaves - 2 Tbspn , chopped well.

Oil - for deep frying - 2 cups


Soak the urad dal, raw rice, toor dal in water for 45 minutes, water level must be well above the dal in the container. Drain excess water and grind it in your mixer with as little water as possible. This step is very important, add as much water as needed for your mixer blade to rotate well  without getting jammed. if you are able to grind without any water - great!. Max you can add maybe 2 -3 Tbspn of water.Grind till you get a smooth fluffy texture of the dal.

Transfer to a container. Add salt, and the chopped onions,green chilli,curry leaves and coriander leaves to it. Mix well.Now the dough is ready for the vadais.

Heat oil in the kadai to fry the vadais.Now take a polythene sheet and wipe it with water. Have a bowl of water by your side - jus to dip you hands to get rid of the dough in between frying and making the vadai shape.

Pinch a medium sized ball of the dough, and place it on the polythene sheet. With you index finger , make a hole in the center of the dough and get the shape as in the picture above.Once done transfer the dough from the polythene sheet [must retain the shape you have made and must not collapse] to your right hand and drop in hot oil.The oil must be moderately hot. Let the vadais fry for a couple of minutes in medium heat, then turn it over to get the other side done. Drain on absorbent paper.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar. Idly sambar and vadai is the perfect Tamil breakfast. Nothing can beat this classic trio. :)


1. If you are not able to shape the dough as said , and it collapses, you might have used excess water while grinding. The dough needs to be tight for vadais to hold the shape.If you run into this, dont worry, just drop them like bondas, it will still taste good. :). The first time I attempted vadais, thats what I did. ;). As a remedy, you can try freezing the batter for a couple of hours and then try to shape it [This works, i have tried this]. Another fix might be to powder 2 tbspn of aval [poha/flattened rice] and mix it along with the dough, freeze it for 2 hours and try again. [My Paati's suggestion]

2. If your vadais are absorbing too much oil, again the reason is , you may have used excess water while grinding. Adding a couple of tbspn of rice flour might help in this case. I have already added raw rice to the ingredient list due to this.

3. So the key point is to make sure to use as little water as possible while grinding.


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4 Yummmm:

N April 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM  

i never get the ottai :D. Looks brilliant !

Swetha April 17, 2012 at 1:31 AM  

i struggled Nivi, the first time which was two years back. Apram dint try at all for a long time. Then tried it last diwali, appayum some starting trouble, put the batter in the fridge overnight, and Diwali day morning, i was praying i must be able to shape it at least now nu, it came then.:)

It sounded so simple first time when i heard it from mom, apram paatha, happa andha ottaiku semma fight aa iruku!

Divya Rathanlal,  July 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM  

I agree, the othai in the vadai is the toughest part. I have strict quality standards to pass at home - my daughter refuses to call it a vadai if there is no othai :-). I made it yesterday of course with the othai and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to your blog I am back to cooking S.Indian delicacies and keep them coming!

Swetha July 31, 2012 at 12:03 AM  

Hey divya, thats great!, the ottai is quite difficult , and am happy this helped you!. And hi-five to your daughter, same as me, I have a tough time accepting its vadai if it doesnt have an ottai! ;)

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