Getting the Medu Vada Right

Getting the Medu Vada Right

The Medu Vada Maker that wasn’t

On the first day, I had to provide Medu Vadas – the Vada Maker just didn’t work. I kept filling in the batter from the top, and give it a press but little blobs of batter would only come out on to the oil. This is when I took the plunge into making the Medu Vada, the traditional way. A few missed tries, but then I could make it with ease, and I think perfection.

Tips to make great Medu Vadas

Making the batter

The first challenge is to make the Vada batter. Seriously, easier said than done. After you soak it for a good three to four hours, you have to grind it. Simple? No! Here is the catch: You cannot add too much water while grinding. My sister, Gowri, showed me how to grind it this way. You can only wet your hands and then coat the batter in the blender, with that moisture. It takes five to six rounds of grinding and checking before you get the perfect batter.

Patting the Vadas

This is a skill that you will learn only over time. You have to grease your left palm with water, take a little batter and then pat it into a circle with your right hand. Then you pierce the center with a pointed finger to make a hole. And then you invert your left palm into the hot oil and it should fall as the same shape into the oil. The tip to do this easily came to me from my wife, Vasanti. The tip is to keep your left palm adequately greased with water so that the batter will easily slide into the oil. There are a few experts who can transfer the shaped vada batter to their right hand and drop it into the hot oil. I can never manage to do that, even today.

Moisture is the key

Although you add very little water during grinding, the key to a soft vada is the moisture content. In case the batter appears as though it is lacking in moisture, the vadas will be hard. Never mind, you get that right over time.

Medu Vada Recipe


Golden, crispy Medu Vadas are a popular breakfast dish in South India, and also a tasty evening snack.

  • 500 gm Urad Dal or Split Black Gram
  • Fistful of cooking rice
  • 2-3 Finely Chopped Green Chilli
  • 1 tsp Finely Grated Ginger
  • 10-12 Curry Leaves
  • 2 tsp Whole Black Pepper
  • 500 ml Cooking Oil
  • Salt to Taste
  1. Soak Urad dal and the rice in water for 2-3 hours. Soaking it overnight is not a good idea as it would make the dal very soggy.
  2. Grind the dal in a blender, adding not more than a teaspoon of water. Ideally wet your palm once and coat the batter in the blender, and blend again. You will have to blend, check and blend at least 4-5 times.

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