When in South India, you cannot miss out on the tempting snack of Medu vada. It is quite famous snack throughout India but more popular in southern regions of the country. This gluten free snack is round in shape and made of skinned black lentil or urad dal. This hot favorite snack is mostly consumed for breakfast but also quite preferred by many as a side dish to go with lunch or dinner. It is crispy, brown color on the outside but soft on the inside. It looks more like a doughnut. In fact, a lot of foreigners traveling to India often call it as a fried doughnut. Traditionally, medu vada is deep fried but a lot of health conscious people have started baking it to give it a more healthy twist.
- 2 cups urad dal/skinned black lentils ½ tsp cumin seeds2 twigs of chopped fresh curry leaves2-3 chopped green chillies1 tsp minced ginger or ginger paste½ tsp salt ½ cup water½ tsp ground black pepperPinch of asafoetida/hingOil to fry
1. The first step is to wash thoroughly the urad dal or skinned black lentil and then soak them in sufficient water for 4-5 hours or overnight.
2. After the urad dal has remained soaked for a few hours, drain the complete water and then grind them into a smooth paste using the grinder. It is important to note here that adding too much water during the grinding process will make the batter runny and vadas would not come out of it properly. Hence, make sure that you add no water or as little water as possible. Ad water only to ensure that the grinding of soaked dal is done with ease. Grind for a few seconds and add water till and then stop and then grind again till you get a fine, fluffy batter with a soft texture and not too runny.
3. Once the urad dal batter is ready, mix all the other ingredients like the crushed black pepper, hing/asafoetida, ginger paste and salt. Mix all the things in the batter well and keep it aside for a few hours.
4. Take a frying pan or a deep bottomed wok and heat a few tablespoons of oil in it. Check the temperature of the oil before you drop the vadas for frying in it. Pour a little bit of batter to check if the oil rises as soon as it is poured. If it rises immediately then the temperature is just right.
5. Wet your palms and then form a doughnut shaped vada with wet hands. Make a hole in the center of the vada using the fingers.
6. Once the vada shaped doughnut is formed, drop them into hot oil in the frying pan. Flip both the sides and fry the vadas till they turn golden brown on both sides.
7. Remove it from the frying pan and put them on a tissue paper to drain out the excess oil from them.
8. Serve them hot with mint or coconut chutney or sambhar.Getting the round-shaped medu vada with a hole in the center of it requires a little bit of practice. Check the consistency of the batter to determine the perfection of the vadas.