Medhu vada · Urad Dal Vada

Urad Dal Vada – Medhu Vada – Ulundhu Vadai

Fried Vada

This small break was not intended. The recipe I wanted to share with you all was ready a long time ago. I couldn’t find the time to pen it down. So here I am after a couple of months.
Urad dal Vada is a favorite in my family. It’s a must during all religious occasions and celebrations. In my family, we pair Urad dal vadas with payasam, peanut or coconut chutney and Sambar. But Mr.S’s family eats them with meat dishes. When I first heard of it, it sounded blasphemous. The mighty Vada which is served to  God is paired with meat?!! What is the world coming to? Anyways, as has been the case with a lot of situations I accepted the meat combo and he accepted the payasam combo! And peace prevailed!
Coming back to the Vada, it’s highly nutritious with black urad dal being the primary ingredient. Take a look at Wiki page and you will know. But it’s deep fried in oil and that’s not very healthy. Whatever the case, I did not master Vada making till last year. Sometimes, instructions when passed by word of mouth or even when demoed do not hit the right chord. Vada making was one such case. My batter was either too thin or too thick. I had a hard time shaping it and ended up just dropping spoonfuls into hot oil and calling it a day. 
Then one day out of the blue, the batter was just perfect. I was able to shape it without much fuss and yummy delicious, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside vadas was a reality in my kitchen. 
Months flew by and a couple of donut pans got added to my kitchen. I was wondering if I could bake vadas and I stumbled upon this blog. Thank you Tina Dawson! Inspired I made the usual vada batter, added some baking powder and baking soda, spooned it into donut pans, baked and danced with joy at the outcome! Mr.S and Miss.T joined too! 🙂 Baked vadas were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. A total win!
I tried using a baking sheet instead of donut pans and found that vadas did not puff up and were rather flat. They were not crunchy either.
Onto the recipe now..
Urad Dal Vada – Ulundhu Vada – Medhu Vada:
Urad dal/black gram dal – 1 cup
Salt – As per taste
Black Pepper – 1 tsp (optional)
Green Chillies – 4 (optional)
Onion – 1 big, finely chopped (optional)
Coriander – 5 to 6 strands, minced(optional)
Curry Leaves – 5, minced (optional)
To bake:
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp 
Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
Soak urad dal for 3 hours. Rinse a few times. Soak in water again. Scoop the dal from the water and add it to the blender/food processor. Note that the water which is dripping from the dal is enough for it to be blended to a thick smooth batter. If the blender/food processor is not spinning, add a few tablespoons of water, one at a time. 
Stir in salt and the other optional ingredients. 
To Deep Fry:
To deep fry in oil, heat a pan with enough oil for vadas to submerge. Oil should not get too hot. When it is medium hot, wet your hands, scoop up some batter, flatten it and slide it into the oil. Optionally you can also make a hole in each vada before dropping it in oil. Fry till golden brown and remove.
Baked Vada
Vadas Shaped In a Donut Pan
To Bake:
To bake, preheat your oven to 450F. Mix in baking powder and baking soda into the batter. Apply oil generously to the donut pans, scoop or pipe the batter into the pans and bake for 12 mins. Keep a watch from 10 mins onwards. You are looking for a browned edge. Flip the vadas in the donut pans and bake for another 8 to 10 mins. A toothpick inserted into the vadas should come out clean.
Vadas Shaped On A Baking Sheet
Vadas Baked On A Baking Sheet

We normally pair vadas with peanut chutney. Here’s the recipe for that:
Peanut Chutney:
Roasted, unsalted peanuts – 1 cup
Water – 1.5 cups
Garlic – 1 big clove or 2 small ones
Jeera/Cumin – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind – Size of half of a lemon (U.S sized)
Red Chillies or Green Chillies – 4
Grind till smooth. Add a seasoning of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and a pinch of hing/asafetida.