Day 128 - Medu Vadai

Idlies, Dosas & Vadai - The holy triumverate of a classic South Indian Breakfast,served up with gallon sized jugs of onion sambar, thick lentil stew flavored with coriander & fenugreek. Of the three, Vadai at its most basic level is a three ingredient dish, four, if you consider the oil its deep fried in. Soaked lentils blended into a thick mousse like batter, spiced with salt and pepper. Needless to say, you can go crazy with added ingredients, such as chopped cilantro, curry leaves, dill leaves, green chilies..

You need:

1 cup split dehusked Urad lentils
Salt and  pepper to taste
Oil for deep frying

Rinse & soak the lentils in water for about  two hours. Tranfer the soaked lentils into a blender and blend until it transforms into a smooth thick mousse like batter , using as little water as possible. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper (Err on the side of caution with the salt and pepper, the batter does not taste good to sample).
Heat the oil until it barely begins to smoke.
Now comes the tricky part.. shaping the vadas. moisten your fingers with water and gently scoop up a ping pong ball sized amount with  your fingers. Using your thumb flatten the batter and press the digit through the batter to create a hole. Gently slide the batter into the hot oil..
OK this is quite a task, fraught with potential blisters thanks to the oil.. So just grab a cookie scoop and drop blobs of the batter into the hot oil. Fry one single vadai, sample and adjust for the spices.
 Fry the batter in batches and transfer onto kitchen towels to absorb any excess oil.
Serve hot with coconut chutney & sambhar.


  1. That vadai looks like it is hanging in open air ... love the snap.
    Shaping the vadais indeed have always been challenging but the shape helps it to cook well from all sides I guess.
    The vadais I had in B'lore had whole peppercorns and bits of ginger and coconut in them too. How I miss them.


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