Medhu vada or ulundu vada is the prized possession of state of Tamil nadu, India. Restaurants serving south Indian food will have this vada on their menu usually served with sambar and coconut chutney. The fact that this recipe appears in Meenakshi Ammal’s “Cook and See Part I” is testament to the fact that this vada has been in kitchens for several decades and yet hasn’t lost it’s charm and glory. It involves simple ingredients and is easy to make. Don’t worry about the prefect round shapes, only practice makes it perfect.
1 cup Black gram dal/whole urad dal
4 green chilies finely chopped
1 one inch piece ginger grated
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 medium size onion finely chopped( optional)
1 cup finely chopped cabbage ( optional)
Oil to deep fry
1. Soak lentils/ dal for at least an hour.
2. Drain the water and grind the dal in a blender or food processor. Just sprinkle water while grinding. This is key to getting a perfect consistency. After about 12 to 15 minutes of grinding you will have the correct consistency of batter.
3. Add chopped green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, asafetida, salt and mix well. Alternatively you can add these while grinding the batter too.
4. If you are adding onions or cabbage, add at this stage and mix well. This is not mentioned in the original recipe therefore I did not add them. But I have tasted vadas with cabbage and onions and therefore for a variation you could add one or the other.
5. Take a heavy bottomed pan and heat enough oil.
6. Take water in a bowl and keep it aside. This is needed to wet your hands before making each vada.
7. Take a zipper storage bag and place a small ball size of batter on the surface of the bag.
8. Pat the batter gently to flatten it a little and make a hole in the center.
9. Place the above in oil and fry in medium flame for uniform cooking.
10. Flip it over after couple of minutes and fry till both sides turn crispy and golden brown.
11. Repeat for rest of the batter.
12. Serve hot with chutney.