Uzhunnu vada/Medhu vada is a deep fried snack made of black gram. It could be considered a savory doughnut 🙂 Whatever said, it is one of my favorite snack. This goes absolutely well with coconut chutney or sambar. For Sambar vada, you should dip/immerse your medhu vada completely in a bowl of sambar. Similar to how you would eat Mini idli and Sambar. Another way to relish this deep fried doughnut is with yogurt/curd. That combination is called Dahi wada or Thairu(meaning curd) vada.
In our childhood, mom used to make this often. It always amazed me how the hole came in the vada 😉 I din’t know for a long period how to get those round, crispy fritters with a hole in the center. And when I learnt how, for a long time, I was scared to take my palms near the hot oil for dropping the vada. For those of you, who are scared like me to do this frightful task :-P, let me give you a good alternative. If you have a long flat spoon/serveware, replace it for your palm. Instead of dipping your palm in the water bowl, dip the flat surface of the spoon. Put the batter on the spoon. With you finger make the hole, and then slowly drop/slide the vada into the oil. That way, you don’t have to be scared if the oil splashes. Isn’t it a brilliant idea 😀 Well, it definitely helps me!!! Good luck for getting those perfect vadas. If you ask me, the only trick mainly is the thickness of your batter. You should grind the urad dal with as less water as possible. Seriously, that’s the only way to get non-oily, crispy vadas.
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml
Whole urad dal/black gram – 2.5 cups
Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 spring, finely chopped
Onion – 1/2 no, chopped
Green chilli – 3 nos, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1.25 tsp)
Water apprx. 1.25 cups
Oil – enough for frying the vada(apprx. 2-3 cups)
Note: Some recipes call for baking soda. I haven’t used baking soda because, it might make the vada more fluffy, but it also makes it very oily.
1. Soak urad dal for 2-3 hours. Then grind the urad dal into a smooth thick paste in a blender/mixie using as little water as possible.
Note: Adding more water could result the vada to absorb more oil. Also, it would be difficult to put the hole in the vada if the batter is watery
2. In a deep kadai, heat oil for frying the vada. The oil should be heated well.
3. In the meantime, mix black peppercorns, curry leaves, onion, green chilli, ginger and salt to the batter and mix well.
Note: Add onion right before frying the vadas. Else onion would leave out some water and the batter could turn watery
4. Keep a bowl of water next to you before shaping the vada and dropping it into the oil.
5. This is the tricky part. To make a hole in the vada, first wet you palm by dipping your palm into the bowl of water. I would wet my left palm since I am right-handed 🙂
6. Take a spoonful of batter into your palm. Dip your index finger into the bowl of water and using that finger, put a hole in the batter.
7. Then slide the vada into the hot oil. Fry the vada in medium high flame. Fry till its golden brown on either sides.
8. Place the vada on a kitchen towel for few mins to drain excess oil.
9. Repeat steps 5-7 for each vada. Remember to wet your palms each time, to prevent vada from sticking to your palm when trying to slide it to the oil.
Yummy crispy uzhunnu vadas are ready to be served with coconut chutney or sambar. Or you could make it into Thairu vada/Dahi vada.
For Thairu vada/Dahi vada, take some yogurt/curd. Add salt as needed. Pour it on the vada and sprinkle some red chilli powder for taste.