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Medu Vada – Easy Tips to Make Crispy Medu Vada – Gluten Free Indian Snack

This traditional South Indian Fried Snack with a cup of hot tea in the evening is a pure bliss for South Indians…

Nowadays weekends are all about playing with my niece via video chat. It’s a great feeling to watch her grow up so fast and she has turned into a great entertainer. Every weekend, I am amazed to see how she plays new tricks to entertain me. As usual, I had a video chat with my sister and niece this morning, as they signed off I felt some kind of emptiness within. I just wished I could catch the next flight and visit my niece. And I was seen curled up on the couch homesick and nostalgic…

Oh ya, I get this kind of feeling quite often. On such days, I try my best to cheer myself up usually by making the foods that I had enjoyed with my family. Foods that are filled with memories, laughs, comfort and full of life. When I cook such food, I get the feeling that my family has gathered together in my house. So this evening I decided to make a fried snack that could bring back those beautiful memories of my family and hometown.

Uzhunnu vada or Urad dal vada is a popular savory snack in South India. It’s a common thing to see people gathered together in the evening and enjoying a cup of tea along with snacks. Uzhunnu vada has been a popular evening snack and it’s still everyone’s favorite.

Urad dal or black gram is first soaked in water and then it’s ground into a coarse paste along with other ingredients. The batter is made into a ball shape and a hole is made in the middle, it’s then deep-fried in the oil. The traditional way of making the batter calls for grinding of urad dal in a stone grinder or stone mortar and pestle. At my grandparent’s house, there was a huge stone grinder and my grandma used to grind the urad dal in that. I used to stand beside her and watch her grind with so much enthusiasm and also had tried grinding in it. Believe me, it’s hard to do if you are not used to grinding in it, the stone pestle is really heavy and after a few rounds of grinding in it you’ll feel exhausted. And needless to say, grinding in it is a great workout for your arms, you’ll get the well-defined biceps 🙂

However, nowadays motor grinder has replaced this traditional heavy stone grinder.

Here is a picture of the traditional stone grinder:

Picture courtesy: Google Images.

Tips for making the medu vada soft & fluffy:

While making the batter in the traditional stone grinder, the batter gets constantly beaten with the hand while pushing the batter inside the grinder, this results in the formation of air inside the batter which eventually makes the fried vada soft and fluffy.

Don’t be disappointed, you could still make the soft vada when ground in a motor grinder or blender. After grinding the urad dal to a coarse paste, pour the batter into a large bowl. Using your hand, beat the batter and combine well for at least 5 minutes, this will aerate the batter. And you will get to enjoy soft & fluffy vadas.

Uzhunnu vada is always accompanied by Sambar or Coconut chutney. This time I made cilantro chutney and also made ginger tea. My hubs and I enjoyed these vadas on a snowy day.

Cooking Video

Uzhunnu Vada or Medu VadaIngredients:

  • Urad dal or Skinned Black gram – 1 cup
  • Small onions, chopped small- 1/4 cup
  • Ginger, minced- 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, chopped- 1 sprig
  • Whole peppercorns- 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilies, chopped- 2
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Water- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Oil- enough for frying

Instruction

  • Soak the urad dal in water for at least 5 hours or overnight.

  • Grind the soaked urad dal in a food processor or grinder to a coarse paste.
  • Add water little by little while grinding the urad dal. I added 1/2 cup of water. The batter should be thick and smooth.
  • Pour the batter into a large bowl, beat and combine the batter with your hand for 5 minutes. This will make the vadas light and fluffy.

  • Add the chopped small onions, ginger, curry leaves, green chilies, and whole peppercorns into the batter and combine well.
  • Keep the batter in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

  • Have a plastic small ziploc bag or a plastic sheet ready.
  • Grease the surface of the plastic bag with little oil. This will avoid the batter from sticking onto the surface.
  • Place a handful of batter on it and make a small ball shape out of it.
  • Gently put a hole using your index finger and shape up the sides to round shape.

  • When the oil has heated well, gently peel off the batter from the plastic sheet and carefully slide it into the oil.
  • Be very careful while putting the batter into the oil, don’t just throw it into the oil as the oil will splash.
  • Don’t overcrowd the vadas while frying as it will deform its round shape.
  • Fry the vadas flipping over both sides until they turn golden in color.

  • Transfer the vadas to a paper towel.

  • Serve hot with Cilantro chutney or Coconut Chammanthi.

Tips:

  • If the batter is watery, add some rice flour to make it thick.

Cilantro Chutney:

Ingredients:

  • Coconut- 3/4 cup
  • Small onions, chopped- 3
  • Ginger, chopped- 1/2 tbsp
  • Green chili ( or use 1/2 tsp chili powder)- 1
  • Cilantro- 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaf- 1 sprig
  • Water- 1/4 cup
  • Fresh tamarind- 1-inch slice
  • Salt- 3/4 tsp

Instruction

  • Add all the above-mentioned ingredients to a blender jar or food processor.
  • Grind to a thick or slightly watery paste according to your preference.

Ginger Tea: I prefer my tea to be flavored either with cardamom or ginger

Ingredients

  • Milk- 1 cup
  • Water- 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Ginger, grated- 1 tsp
  • Sugar- 1/2 tbsp or according to your needs
  • Ground Tea- 1 tbsp

Instruction

  • Pour the milk & water into a saucepan placed over medium heat.
  • Add the freshly grated ginger and sugar.
  • When the milk starts to boil, add the ground tea. Combine well.
  • Lower the heat, stir the tea for a minute.
  • Place a strainer on a mug, pour the tea into the strainer.
  • Serve the tea hot, enjoy.

A traditional South Indian Fried Snack: Uzhunnu Vada or Medu Vada
 
Uzhunnu Vada or Medu Vada
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • Urad dal or Skinned Black gram - 1 cup
  • Small onions, chopped small- ¼ cup
  • Ginger, minced- 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, chopped- 1 sprig
  • Whole peppercorns- ½ tsp
  • Green chilies, chopped- 2
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Water- ¼ to ½ cup
  • Oil- enough for frying
Instructions
  1. Soak the urad dal in water for 5 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked urad dal in a food processor or grinder to a coarse paste.
  3. Add water little by little while grinding the urad dal. I added ½ cup of water. The batter should be thick and smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into a large bowl, beat and combine the batter with your hand for 5 minutes. This will aerate the batter & the vadas will turn light and fluffy.
  5. Add the chopped small onions, ginger, curry leaves, green chilies and whole peppercorns into the batter, combine well.
  6. Have a plastic small ziploc bag or a plastic sheet ready.
  7. Grease the surface of the plastic sheet with some oil. This will avoid the batter from sticking on to the surface.
  8. Place a handful of batter on it and make a small ball shape out of it.
  9. Gently put a hole using your index finger and shape up the sides to round shape.
  10. When the oil has heated well, gently peel off the holed batter from the plastic sheet and carefully slide it into the oil.
  11. Be very careful while putting the batter into the oil, don't just throw it into the oil as the oil will splash up.
  12. Don't overcrowd the vadas while frying as it will deform its round shape.
  13. Fry the vadas flipping to both sides until golden in color.
  14. Transfer the vadas to a paper towel.
  15. Serve hot with cilantro chutney or coconut chammanthi.

Cilantro Chutney
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • Coconut- ¾ cup
  • Small onions, chopped- 3
  • Ginger, chopped- ½ tbsp
  • Green chili ( or use ½ tsp chili powder)- 1
  • Cilantro- ¼ cup
  • Curry leaf- 1 sprig
  • Water- ¼ cup
  • Tamarind- 1 inch slice
  • Salt- ¾ tsp
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above mentioned ingredients into a smooth paste in a blender or food processor.
  2. Grind it to a thick or slightly watery paste according to your preference.

Ginger Tea
 
Author:
Recipe type: Tea
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • Milk- 1 cup
  • Water- ¼ cup
  • Fresh Ginger, grated- 1 tsp
  • Sugar- ½ tbsp or according to your needs
  • Ground Tea- 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Pour the milk & water into a saucepan placed over medium heat.
  2. Add the freshly grated ginger and sugar.
  3. When the milk starts to boil, add the ground tea, combine well.
  4. Lower the heat, sir the tea for a minute.
  5. Place a strainer on a mug, pour the tea into the strainer.
  6. Serve hot & enjoy with medu vadas.

AboutThas

Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...