Medhu Vadai

Medhu Vadai  with Tea-2

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.

Medhu Vada, Vada Photography, Appetizer

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.

Medhu Vadai, Vada, Vada Photography, Appetizer

Medhu Vadai  1

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!

21 Comments Add yours

  1. mahesh says:

    just the pictures alone are appetizing!!
    Have you tried grinding oatmeal along with Urad dhal to get a fiber rich vadai?

    1. That sounds pretty interesting. I have never tried it. Do you have a recipe? Can you share it?

  2. Hema says:

    looking so crispyyyyyyyyy. mmmmmmmmmmouth watering. pictures super

  3. geetha says:

    I’ve never tried adding white rice..will do it …Thanks

    1. I’m sure you’ll love it. That little bit of rice makes such a difference to the texture of the vadai. Make sure to a grinder to make the batter and add very little water during the grinding process. You are sure to get crispy, golden vadais! Let me know how it came out. Good luck.

  4. Madhavee says:

    hearing about the adding rice for the first time!

    1. Have you not noticed Amma do it. She adds it always, be it medhu vada or mysore bonda. I learned it from her only.

      1. Madhavee says:

        It was amma who taught me to make vadais right from step 1 . On all festival days i used to just stand beside her and just look with admiration whatever she used to do. Nobody can really match her vadai making skills – esp the shape of the vadai.

      2. Can’t agree more!

  5. HN says:

    Looks yummy…haven’t heard about adding rice though. I guess that’ll make the vadai more crispier than it normally would. Good job!

    1. It certainly does Hema. Try it sometime and let me know.

  6. A-kay says:

    That is interesting. Amma taught me to make it using a plastic sheet (aavin) and that’s how she would do it too. She wouldn’t (and actually now that I think about it, can’t) do in a single hand and guess so she came up with this technique. I have never seen periamma make vada but remember eating her pakodas and it was simply one of the best 🙂

  7. Akki – Amma used to make it like chithi using vazhai elai long ago in place of plastic sheet, later she switched to this technique. I have tried both myself and making it in one hand makes the process much easier and quicker. But, it does take time to get comfortable with it. Even now, mine are not as perfect as Amma’s, but I seem to get better every time I make it.

    1. A-kay says:

      Yup – I remember amma using vazhai elai too. I will give this a shot whenever I make vadais next. Most times though, I use the appm pan for vadai/bonda type of stuff which makes the clean up simpler and also uses less oil 🙂

  8. Hema says:

    Vadai’s came out so well today, i made it with mixer and for the first time it came out so crispy.

    1. This is really good to know. I have not been very happy with the results when I make the batter using a mixer.

  9. HN says:

    I tried your vadai recipe on Pongal day. It came out well 🙂

    1. I’m sure you’ll have your own recipe that works well too! But, thanks for trying out mine 🙂

  10. The pictures dragged me here!! I add 2 tbsp of chana dal and 2 tbsp of white rice. It definitely gives a nice crisp to the vadai. I m just drooling over the pics!!

    1. Thank you Priya. Chana dhal sounds interesting. I’ll try it next time.

  11. Framed Recipes says:

    Meera, This is the first time I learned about adding rice to medhu vada batter. Very interesting. I am going to try this soon. -Sreelatha

Leave a Reply to 7saffronstreet Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s