Medu Vada is a snack that can pair very well with South Indian style filter coffee. Shaped like a doughnut it is a snack well loved by kids. In South Indian homes vada is usually served with idli for breakfast. Crispy vada dunked in sambar is a treat waiting to be savoured.
Shaping Medu vada was one of the techniques I wanted to learn for a very long time. My prayers were answered when I was in India in 2008. I was visiting my sister and she made a scrumptious Udupi style meal for all of us. As we were enjoying the meal and chatting away, her Father-in-law (who is no more now, bless his soul) started mentioning about his days when he owned a restaurant. I took this opportunity and asked if he knows “how to shape vada”. He was more than happy to share his technique of making vada and invited me over the next day for a live class.
My sister made the batter and he showed me a live presentation of how to shape vadas. I cannot thank him enough for the nuances I learnt from him. He also taught me how to make dahi vadas with the same batter which I will share later.
Every time I make this dish I remember my sister’s kitchen in India and the instructions I got from her Father-in-law.
Makes about 30-35 vadas
- 3 cups urad dal
- 1 cup rice
- 10 curry leaves, chopped
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- 1-2 green chili, chopped
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp hing/asafetida powder or fresh hing soaked in 1 tsp water
- Oil for deep frying
- Bowl of water, to shape vadas
Soak rice and dal for 3-4 hours. Grind in a grinder for about 20 minutes with minimum water. Alternately, you can grind in a blender until almost smooth batter. Add the rest of the ingredients to the batter and mix well.
Heat oil on medium high flame
Use a hand blender and beat the batter for 6-8 minutes. This makes it light and fluffy as you are incorporating air into the batter. Adding rice gives a crisp outer texture.
To form vada: wet your palm with water, shake excess water. Take a small portion of the batter toss lightly on the palm to form a ball, with your thumb and make a indentation/ hole in the center with your thumb slide carefully in oil.
Fry until golden brown and drain.
Serve with sambar and/or coconut chutney.
Note: If using fresh hing soak in 1 tsp water for 15 minutes until dissolved, add water to the batter.
The batter can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days without the addition of the rest of the ingredients. When ready to fry add the remaining ingredients and make vadas.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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