Medu vada or vadai is a common South Indian snacks. Everyone seems to make them at home. However, really good quality medu vada simply stands out and is very hard to get even in the Southern parts of India. My husband is a vada fanatic. He hates waiting in line to get food, but would still queue up at Chutneys in Hyderabad at 3:30 waiting for their specific vada maker to come in at 4:00 and make scorching hot vadas. He judges a Southern café or restaurant just by their vada and most fails that test, some of the exceptions being Chutneys, Kamath, Saravana Bhavan and the likes.
Good vada has a super crunchy exterior contrasted by a soft yet well cooked interior. The vada has to be served right after making it.
- 1 cup urad dal whole or split (Black lentils without skin)
- 2 green chilies
- 1/2” ginger
- 5 – 6 pepper corns crushed
- 1/2tsp. asafetida (Hing)
- 1tsp. whole cumin seed
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
Wash and soak urad dal in enough water for 5- 6 hours.
Drain and grind it into a coarse paste with green chilies and ginger. You might need to add very little water. Water should be just enough to make a soft but not watery dough – as its the consistency of the batter that determines the shape and softness of the vadas.
Transfer the paste in a bowl add add salt to it. Now beat it with your hand till the batter is light and fluffy. To make sure it’s right, run the following floating test. Take a cup of water and drop a little dough into it. If the dough immediately floats up, your dough is ready. If it sinks you need to beat it some more.
Add hing, cumin seeds and crushed pepper corn. Mix once more.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Wet your hand and take a portion of the mixture and start giving it the shape of vada by making a hole at the center with your thumb. When the oil is really hot upturn your hand and carefully slide the vada in oil.
Deep fry till both sides turn golden brown.
- Make the vadas as soon as the batter is ready as they will absorb too much oil if left for a long time.
- Add the vadas when the oil is really hot. It will make the outside of the vadas crispy while keeping the inside soft.
Remove and drain on an absorbent paper and serve with coconut chutney.