Ulundu (Medu) Vada

Ulundu (Medu) vada/vadai or just vadai is a famous south-Indian snack often served with idlis/dosas. It is shaped like a doughnut/bagel. 

It is also made along with jaggery-based paysams as neivedyam (offering) to God on some festivals. You can also use the same recipe for dahi vadas (vadas in curd/yoghurt). If not an offering to God, you can also add chopped onions. My recipe is from my mom.  


Black gram skinned and split (Dhuli udad dal): 1 cup
Green chillies: 3
Ginger: a half inch piece
Asafoetida (Hing): a pinch
Curry leaves: 3-4
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying 

*You can add a finely chopped onion too if you wish. A variation of this vada would be to use 3-4 crushed black pepper corns and half a teaspoon cumin seeds instead of green chillies, ginger, and curry leaves.


  1. Wash and soak the udad dal for about 3-4 hours in water.
  2. Finely chop the green chillies, ginger, and curry leaves.
  3. Drain all the water and grind to a fine paste without adding water (at the most 1-2 teaspoons if required). Not adding water ensures that the batter is not runny and the vadas don’t absorb too much oil.
  4. 1-medu-vada-batter.jpg

  5. In the paste, mix the green chillies, ginger, curry leaves, and salt to taste. Beat well with the ladle to incorporate some air and make fluffy vadas.
  6. You can make vadas immediately, but if making the batter in advance, refrigerate as soon as the batter is ready – so that the batter does not turn sour or become runny. Refrigerating the batter also helps the vadas hold shape 🙂
  7. For making vadas, use a plastic sheet or the palm of your hand. I prefer using the plastic sheet as we can make multiple vadas on it.
  8. Wet the sheet with a little water and also your hand.
  9. Make lemon-sized balls of the batter and flatten on the sheet with your hand. Create a small hole in the center of the vadas.
  10. Heat oil in a frying pan (kadhai). When the oil is hot, turn the heat to medium and slip the vadas carefully into the oil – about 2-3 at a time.
  11. Fry till golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain to remove excess oil.
  12. 2-medu-vadas.jpg 3-medu-vada-closeup-1.jpg

  13. The vadas are ready to be served and enjoyed – garma-garam! You can have them with coconut chutney.
  14. For dahi vadas, you can soak the vadas in warm water for about 5-10 minutes and squeeze the water before adding to beaten, spiced curds/yoghurt. Dahi vadas don’t need to have the hole in the center of the vadas. 

      1. For north-indian style dahi vada, you can add red chilly powder, cumin powder, salt, and sugar to taste to the yoghurt. Dahi vada is also topped with sweet-n-tangy tamarind chutney.
      2. For the south-indian style thair vadai, you can add ground green chillies, coconut, and salt.


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