Vadais are savory lentil donuts of South Indian origin. ‘Medhu Vadai’ is a popular and most sought after type of Vadais. The crispy outer layer and soft/spongy inner layer makes it an irresistible snack/appetizer. I have not yet come across anyone in India who is not a fan of this super yummy food. I know of people who can eat dozens of these and still ask for more.
Sambar and coconut chutneys are the traditional dips for Medhu Vadai. Medhu Vadais are also soaked in Sambar , Rasam or Yogurt to make Sambar Vadai, Rasa Vadai and Thayir Vadai respectively. Many a times you wont even want to dip/soak them in anything. Medhu Vadais just by themselves are an absolute delight.
It is very easy to make these if you get the hang of shaping the donuts and dropping them into hot oil. As with everything, practice makes it perfect. I learned the recipe and the method to make the donuts from my mother and it did take me quite a few attempts before I got it almost perfect.
about 15 – 20 Vadais
1 cup urad dhal
1.5 tablespoons white rice (uncooked)
3-4 green chillies (chopped)
oil to deep fry
salt to taste
Soak urad dhal and rice together until the dhal looks plumped up, about two to four hours. The rice gives a crusty/golden brown outer layer to the Vadais.
Discard the water and grind the dhal/rice with chopped green chillies in a wet grinder/mixer. Add very little water in intervals, just enough to allow the dhal to be ground into a smooth batter, about 1/4 cup or so. Adding more water than required will make it difficult for you to shape them into donuts. They’ll also soak up a lot of oil as you fry them.
When you start to see the batter getting nice and smooth, add salt and allow it to get mixed up evenly in the batter. Turn off the grinder and transfer the batter to a bowl. I’ve always gotten best results when I make the batter in a wet grinder than in mixer.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan under medium heat. Over heating the oil will burn the outer layer while leaving the inner part uncooked.
Here comes the tricky part of making the donuts out of the batter! Take some water in another bowl. Dip your hand in the water and take a small portion (about the size of a lime) of the batter with your wet hand. The wetness would prevent the batter from sticking to your hand. Roll the batter within your hand into a ball. Punch a hole in the center of the ball with your thumb and slide it into the hot oil gently.
Wait for the bottom side to turn slightly brown and then flip it. Keep flipping it until the Vadai turns crisp and golden brown on both sides evenly. Remove from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain excess oil, if any.
Repeat the process above until the batter is done. Now, as I told you before it takes some practice before you can make perfectly shaped Vadais. Don’t fret when you do not get the right shape, the Vadais taste wonderfully well however they may look :).
Enjoy them hot with a good sambar and coconut chutney!