Vadai – Crispy Golden Lentil Fritters 

Vadai is such an awesome snack, which is very easy to make and tastes so crunchy and satisfying. This deep fried snack has a special place in our South Indian breakfast, festive lunch and snack time. 

Vadai is exclusively made with this particular white lentils called ulundu/ urad dal/ black gram, A heart healthy lentil which helps control the blood pressure and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. So this is a must have ingredient in making so many dishes like vada,dosa, idli and papad. 

These white lentils are the dehusked version of the original black lentils and it comes in both split and whole (urad gota/ matpe beans). The starch in this lentils gives the crispy golden texture to all the fried snacks we make with it. Now that you know eating Vadai is not so bad after all … Let’s get to the recipe. 

 Medhu Vadai  – Ulundhu vada 

This recipe yields 30 Vadas 


For the batter 

  • Urad dal – 1 cup ( whole/white)
  • Rice – 1 tablespoon ( long grain)


  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Black pepper – 1 tablespoon (whole)
  • Green chilies – 3 ( deseeded & cut into thin rings)
  • Curry leaves – few ( finely chopped) 
  • Salt – 2 teaspoons 

* Oil for deep frying 


  1. If you are not familiar with urad dal you can also make this with split yellow MUNG BEAN (moong dal). And follow the same procedure. 
  2. This won’t give you the fluffy texture as the urad dal, so add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (or) 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the batter. 
  3. Instead of green chillies and curry leaves you can add finely chopped jalapeño and coriander/parsley leaves.

Let’s make the batter first …

  1. Mix urad dal and rice, wash and drain 
  2. Soak in water for 2 hours 
  3. Once it’s soaked it gets soft you should be able to mash it with your fingers. 
  4. Do not wash again or drain the water its soaked in. 
  5. Use your hands to grab them in clumps and put it in the blender
  6. Retain the water on the side. 
  7. Grind the lentils into a powdery mix, then add the soaking water, one tablespoon at a time. You don’t need to use all the water.
  8. After a couple of minutes, The batter gets foamy and it feels fluffy. 
  9. Make sure the batter is slightly thicker in consistency, Thin watery batter tends to suck up a lot of oil. 
  10. Never ever think of adding salt while grinding the batter, it will completely ruin the texture. 

The Drop Test : To make sure the batter is in the right consistency, I’m going to teach you a trick 

  • Take a bowl of room temperature water and drop a little bit of the batter, if it floats, it’s in perfect consistency. 

  • Now the batter is ready let’s add the cumin, pepper, green chili, curry leaves and the salt and mix it well.
  • You should always add the salt just before frying because it tends to water down the batter 
  • Use a fork or a whisk to fluff up the batter, this really gives a wonderful airy and crispy texture to the Vadas 
  • This batter doesn’t need any resting time, you can make the Vadas immediately.  

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan 
  2. Take a cookie scoop or a tablespoon and dip it in the oil before it gets very hot. 
  3. This way, when you scoop the batter, it doesn’t  stick to the scoop 
  4. It drops easily into the oil without any splatter and you get all the Vadas in the same size. 
  5. Fry them until it gets crispy and golden brown
  6. Take them out and drain well on a paper towel. 

Let’s do a taste test. 

Oh my!  the crunch when you bite into this is unbelievably satisfying. The inside is so soft and fluffy which you can clearly see by the tiny holes in them. As you chew you get the amazing aroma of the curry leaves, a little bite of the cumin, pepper and the chillies here and there, it’s so divine! 

You all might be wondering, wait a minute…. South Indian Vadai doesn’t look like this. You are right! We make our Vadai in a traditional donut shape. But its a little time consuming and it’s not easy for beginners like my daughter,  So I prefer using the cookie scoop, This way its quick, easy and safe. 

This is the authentic way we make our Vadai, you can also add chopped onions and adjust the flavorings according to your taste. 

  • We southindians like to dip our Vada in a spicy coconut chutney, it tastes delicious! 

  • You can also have it with your favorite sauces, ketchup or coriander chutney. Enjoy!

My kids love this unique sphere shaped Vadai, we make this very often and enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee or masala tea. So next time you have a craving, make this guilt free snack which is tasty and healthy. 



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