Medhu Vadai / Urad Dal Vadai

Ulundhu Vadai is a popular breakfast recipe in Tamil Nadu. No festival is completed without Vadas in Tamil Nadu.

Medhu Vadai / Urad Dal Vadai

Medhu Vadai /Ulundhu Vadai is a popular breakfast recipe in Tamil Nadu. No festival is completed without Vadas in Tamil Nadu. Whenever they go to restaurants for breakfast, their first option will be crispy Ulundhu Vadai! This is very common in Tamil Nadu. This medhu vadai is so crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy in the center.  We make this often mainly during festivals. So I want to share this recipe with you. Hope you like it!

In this post, we will explore the delicious and crispy South Indian snack, Medhu Vadai. This recipe is made with urad dal, shallots or onions, green chilies, and a few other ingredients, resulting in a savory and flavorful dish that is perfect for any occasion. Let's dive into the step-by-step process of making this delightful snack and learn how to enjoy it with some tasty coconut chutney.

What Is Medhu Vadai?

  • Medhu Vadai is a popular South Indian dish that is known for its crispy texture and savory flavor. It is made from urad dal, also known as black gram, and is seasoned with a combination of Indian spices such as shallots, green chilies, ginger, peppercorns, and curry leaves. The batter is then deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a delicious snack or side dish.
  • The unique seasoning and the succulent main ingredients make Medhu Vadai a flavorful and satisfying dish that is often enjoyed with coconut chutney. The combination of crispy texture, savory flavor, and aromatic spices makes Medhu Vadai a favorite among South Indian cuisine lovers.

Why You'll Love Medhu Vadai?

  • Perfect Texture: Medhu vadai has a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior, making it a delightful treat for your taste buds. The contrast in textures creates a satisfying bite with every mouthful.
  • Protein Packed: Urad dal, the main ingredient in medhu vadai, is a great source of plant-based protein. It helps in muscle building and repair, making it a healthy snack or meal option.
  • Gluten-Free Option: For those following a gluten-free diet, medhu vadai is a great choice as it is made from urad dal and does not contain any gluten-containing grains.
  • Gut-Friendly: The use of asafoetida in the recipe not only enhances the flavor but also aids in digestion. It can help prevent bloating and aid in overall gut health.
  • Rich in Essential Nutrients: With the addition of shallots, green chilies, and curry leaves, medhu vadai is packed with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, contributing to overall health and well-being.
  • Versatile and Delicious: Whether enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or part of a meal, medhu vadai is a versatile dish that can be paired with various sides such as coconut chutney or sambar, making it a delicious and satisfying choice for any occasion.

Ingredients for Medhu Vadai

  • Urad Dal: Urad dal is the main ingredient in medhu vadai, providing the base for the batter and the crispy texture of the vada.
  • Shallots or Onion: Shallots or onion add a sweet and savory flavor to the vada, along with a slight crunch.
  • Green Chilies: Green chilies add a spicy kick to the medhu vadai, balancing out the other flavors.
  • Ginger: Ginger adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the vada, enhancing its overall taste.
  • Black Pepper Corns (optional): Black pepper corns add a subtle heat and earthy flavor to the vada, complementing the other spices.
  • Curry Leaves: Curry leaves add a distinct South Indian flavor to the medhu vadai, enhancing its overall aroma and taste.

How To Make Medhu Vadai?

  • To make delicious Medhu Vadai, start by washing and soaking the urad dal for 2 hours. Then grind the dal with a little water until it becomes fluffy. This step is key to getting the right texture for the vada.
  • Next, finely chop the onions, ginger, green chilies, and curry leaves, and add them to the batter along with peppercorns, asafoetida, and salt. Mixing these ingredients well is crucial for a flavorful experience.
  • When the batter is ready, heat oil in a pan and add a ladle of hot oil to the batter, mixing well. Then, take small portions of the batter, flatten them, make a hole in the center, and carefully drop them into the hot oil to fry until they become golden brown and crispy.

Following these steps will result in crispy and flavorful Medhu Vadai, perfect to enjoy with coconut chutney.

Serving Suggestions

  • Coconut Chutney: Medhu Vadai pairs perfectly with a tangy and flavorful coconut chutney. The creamy texture of the chutney complements the crispy and savory vadai, creating a delicious combination.
  • Sambar: Another great accompaniment for Medhu Vadai is sambar. The rich and spicy flavors of sambar enhance the taste of the vadai, offering a satisfying and comforting meal.
  • Tomato Chutney: For a different twist, try serving Medhu Vadai with a tangy and slightly sweet tomato chutney. The combination of flavors creates a delightful experience for your taste buds.
  • Green Coriander Chutney: If you prefer a lighter and refreshing side, green coriander chutney is a great choice. The fresh and herby taste of the chutney complements the richness of the vadai, making it a delightful pairing.
  • Yogurt: Medhu Vadai can also be enjoyed with a side of cool and creamy yogurt. The refreshing and subtle taste of yogurt balances out the spiciness of the vadai, providing a well-rounded meal.
  • Mint Raita: Lastly, consider serving Medhu Vadai with mint raita. The cooling and minty flavor of the raita creates a lovely contrast with the hot and crispy vadai, making it a satisfying combination.

Tips for Making Crispy Medhu Vadai

  • Preparation Duration: Soak the urad dal for at least 2 hours to achieve the right consistency for the vada batter. Grinding the dal takes about 15 minutes to get it fluffy and light.
  • Cooking Techniques: When frying the vadas, make sure the oil is hot enough so that the vadas cook evenly and become crispy. Also, adding a ladle of hot oil to the batter helps make the vadas light and crispy.
  • Importance of Garnishing: Garnishing the medhu vadai with some freshly chopped curry leaves or a sprinkle of black pepper can enhance the presentation and add extra flavor.
  • Consistency of Batter: The batter for medhu vadai should be of the right consistency - not too thick or thin. Adding too much water while grinding may result in flat or oily vadas, while a very thick batter can make the vadas hard.
  • Proper Shaping Technique: When shaping the vadas, make sure to wet your hand to prevent the batter from sticking, and using a plantain leaf or plastic cover helps in easy release of the vadas into the hot oil.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve the crispy medhu vadai with coconut chutney for a delicious and traditional South Indian snack. Garnish the chutney with some fresh coriander leaves or a sprinkle of grated coconut for an appealing presentation.

Variations for Medhu Vadai

  • Vegetable Medhu Vadai: Add finely chopped vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or spinach to the batter for a healthier twist and an extra crunch.
  • Spicy Medhu Vadai: For those who enjoy extra heat, add some finely chopped jalapenos or a dash of cayenne pepper to the batter for a fiery kick.
  • Cheese Medhu Vadai: For a decadent twist, mix in some grated cheese into the batter for a cheesy, indulgent medhu vadai.

-Nutty Medhu Vadai: Incorporate some finely chopped nuts like cashews or almonds for an added crunch and nutty flavor.

  • Herby Medhu Vadai: Mix in some fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or dill to the batter for a refreshing, aromatic touch.
  • Whole Grain Medhu Vadai: Replace a portion of the urad dal with whole grain lentils or millets for a healthier, fiber-rich medhu vadai.

How to Store Medhu Vadai

  • Store in an airtight container: After the medhu vadai cools down, place them in an airtight container to retain their crunchiness and prevent them from becoming soggy.
  • Refrigeration: If you plan to store the medhu vadai for a longer period, store them in the refrigerator. Make sure to bring them back to room temperature before consuming.
  • Avoid moisture: Keep the medhu vadai away from moisture as it can cause them to lose their texture and become soft.
  • Properly store key ingredients: Store urad dal, asafoetida, and peppercorns in airtight containers in a cool, dark place to maintain their freshness and flavor.
  • Consume within a few days: It is best to consume medhu vadai within a few days of making them for the best taste and texture.
  • Reheating: If the medhu vadai lose their crispiness, you can reheat them in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes to regain their crunch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I make the urad dal batter fluffy?

  • To make the urad dal batter fluffy, be sure to grind the dal with only a little water, and continue grinding until it is fluffy. This process may take about 15 minutes.

Can I adjust the spiciness of the medhu vadai?

  • Yes, you can adjust the spiciness of the medhu vadai by adding more or fewer green chilies according to your preference.

How do I know when the medhu vadai is ready to be served?

  • The medhu vadai is ready to be served when both sides turn crisp and golden brown. Be sure to fry them in batches and turn them to ensure even cooking.

Can I make the medhu vadai ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can make the medhu vadai ahead of time and reheat them in an oven to crisp them up before serving.

What can I serve with the medhu vadai?

  • The medhu vadai can be enjoyed with coconut chutney for a delicious and traditional pairing.

Can I store the leftover medhu vadai?

  • Yes, you can store the leftover medhu vadai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Simply reheat in the oven before serving to retain their crispiness.

Urad Dal Vadai / Medhu Vadai 2016-12-15 07:39:15

Recipe Card

Medhu Vadai

Serves: 7
Prep Time: 02:20
Cook Time: 00:20
Total Time: 02:40


  • 1 cup urad dal
  • 15 shallots or 1 big onion
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 spring curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt or as needed
  • Oil to deep fry


  • Wash and clean the urad dal and soak it for 2 hours with enough water.
  • Grind the urad dal with only a little water till fluffy. It will take about 15 mins. (see notes on how to grind it).
  • Chop the onions, ginger, green chilies, and curry leaves finely.
  • Add all these to the batter along with peppercorns, asafoetida, and salt, mix well until just combined.
  • Heat a kadai or pan with enough oil over medium heat.
  • Add 1 ladle of hot oil to the batter and mix well with the help of the spoon.
  • Take a piece of plastic cover or plantain leaf and grease it with oil.
  • Wet your right hand, take some batter, make a small ball, then flatten it and make a hole in the center and drop it in the hot oil carefully in batches.
  • Turn the vadas and fry till both the sides turn crisp and golden brown.
  • Crispy medhu vadai is ready to serve. Enjoy it with coconut chutney.
  • By Santhi Therese    The Indian Claypot

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