Medu Vada is a traditional ,delightful crispy fried savory that is an indispensable part of almost all Festival and Pooja lunches. A festival is incomplete without this preparation.
Medu Vada is one of the topmost dish.ordered in Indian restaurants specially in South India.
After the famed Idly,dosa and Pongal comes Medu vadai in many avataars. Dahi vadas,Sambar vadas etc .
Vadai as it is called in Tamilnadu or Medu Vada is made of udad dal batter (split black lentils).
Medu means soft,so Medu Vada has to be made to a soft texture which depends on the correct consistency of grinding the batter.
There are many varieties of vadas made from udad dal batter as the basis but for festivals and poojas this is the only type of vada prepared for prasad (Neivediyam). Onions are not added to this type of vada.
- 3 cups of udad dal (split black lentils) cleaned,washed and soaked in water for upto 11/2 to 2 hrs max. ( measure less if you think 3 cups is a large qty...also here you can choose any measuring cup like a steel cup or tumbler will also do
- 4 medium sized green chillies. Decide on the quantity you desire.
- 2 tsp whole pepper corns. You can also add pepper powder if you dont have peppercorns. Powder should be added after the dal is ground to batter.
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp of asafoetida/hing powder
- sprigs of curry leaves. Sufficient oil to fry the vadas.
Drain the water from the soaked dal completely and grind with green chillies,salt,peppercorns,salt,asafoetida powder in a blender or mixie. It will be a very thick batter and don't be tempted to add water while grinding.
Water should be added only if difficult to grind and in table spoonfuls making sure not to make the batter soft and soggy.
Take out the batter and add the sprigs of curry leaves and mix it well with a big spoon to give soft ,light vadas.
Procedure for making vadas is shown.
You can use either banana leaf or a zip loc bag to shape the vadas. If you dont have banana leaf,take a clean ziploc bag and smear oil on one side. Keep a small bowl of water nearby.
Make your hand little wet and take a small ball of the thick batter and place it on the greased ziploc bag surface and flatten it slightly and make a dent in the middle with the finger.
If you fingers are getting sticky with the batter then lightly dip in the water and quickly shape the vadas. At a time shape enough vadas that you will fry immediately. Dont let the raw batter of shaped vadas sit on the counter.
Meanwhile keep a kadai/tawa with oil for deep frying.
As soon as the oil is hot enough , ease out the shaped vadas and gently slide into the oil taking care not to make a splash. Drop all the shaped vadas and deep fry til done.
You can check whether the oil is hot enough by dropping a small bit of the batter. It should come up immediately with a sizzle. Fry the vadas on a medium flame as it takes time to cook inside .Flip carefully on other side.
You need to fry some more till it attains a deep golden colour. You can check one vada if need be.
Drain well in a colander .
Place on a paper napkin to remove excess oil.
Medu vadas are really easy to prepare. You need to keep some small points while preparing.
- As soon as the batter is ground , dont let it ferment or sit on the counter for long.
- The crispiness is achieved by getting the right consistency of batter ground.
- Another way of making vadas ,the procedure which I usually follow doing away with the ziploc bag etc is to wet the hand and take a small ball of batter and with the right hand thumb, make a dent in the center to shape the hole and drop immediately in the hot oil.
- For beginners , shaping the vadas on the greased plastic cover is the easiest.
This type of vada is eaten as it is as it is a part of the festival lunch, otherwise you can prepare the chutney and sambar.
Usually when we prepare the medu vada for festival and pooja, after the pooja and lunch , we set aside some vadas for making delicious dahi vadas and sambar vadas, the recipe which I will share shortly.
You can prepare this by immersing the hot vadas in lukewarm water or keep it soaked for few minutes and then squeeze out the water.
Arrange these vadas on a plate and pour thick fresh yogurt.You can choose your own topping.
At home we usually prepare the topping as shown in the pic. We need
1. roasted cumin powdered.
3.Sweet chutney prepared with dates and little tamrind.
3. Green chutney.
4.Red chilli powder.
5.Dahi chaat masala powder
6.Fine sev for garnishing
7.Chopped fine onions
Chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Depending on your preference you can take a little bit of above and adjust the spicy or sweet taste according to your personal preference.
If you dont have dates,or sweet chutney but still want to add it to dahi wadas, dont despair.
Take little honey in a cup,add some chilli powder,chaat masala,amchur powder,black salt/kala namak,roasted cumin powder and it will taste just like the date chutney and healthy too as you are adding honey. If you dont have honey, use jaggery instead and all the other powders.
Dahi chaat masala is available in all stores. This one bottle is good for almost all chaat dishes and useful to have in the house.
During summer months if you are having dahi vadas top with grated raw mangoes , it will be very tasty chat pata.! Customize your own toppings.
For a colorful dahi wada presentation you can add pomegranate seeds too.
I have given recipe for hotel sambar or tiffin sambar, Saravana Bhavan style.This will taste great for Sambar vada.,
Arrange the soaked Vadas in a plate and pour hot sambar and top it with chopped onions,chopped coriander leaves and sev if you wish. Add sev only at the time of serving.
Keep the vadas soaked in hot sambar well before serving to guests so that vadas would have absorbed the sambar and taste very good.