Perfect Hotel style Medu Vada Recipe | Urad Dal Vada | South Indian Medu Vada (Garelu)

Hotel style Medu Vada Recipe with tips will give you the perfect South Indian hotel style medu vadas. The donut-shaped savory lentils (black gram) vadas are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. In the tiffin centers, hotels, or restaurants, they are served with coconut chutney and sambar.

I have already shared sambar and a few chutneys recipes – Coriander Coconut chutney, Spicy Peanut chutney, Peanut Coconut chutney, Fried Gram chutney, Peanut chutney, Tiffin Sambar.

Being a South Indian, vadas are made at least once a week for breakfast, especially on weekends or holidays. They are also made during housewarming functions or weddings and festivals like Varlakshmi vrat, Gouri puja, Diwali, Ugadi, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Durga Navratri to offer to the deities.

urad dal vada recipe

What is Medu Vada?

Medu means soft Vada means fried fritters. So, medu vada literally means soft fried fritters. These deep-fried fritters are made with dehusked black gram lentils. The shape resembles a doughnut, is crunchy on the outside, and soft/porous on the inside. It is one of the most beloved delicacies in South Indian breakfast cuisine.

From Udupi hotels, South Indian restaurants, street stalls, to five-star eateries, medu vadas along with idli and dosas complete the famous South Indian breakfast trinity.

In the South Indian states, different regions have different names – uddina vade in Kannada, medhu vadai or ulundu vadai in Tamil, minapa vada or garelu in Telugu, uzhunnu vada in Malayalam, but the procedure is almost the same.

These fried fritters have two variations;

1. Plain medu vada: These are made with just soaked and ground urad dal batter seasoned with salt.

2. Onion medu vada: These vadas are flavored with onions, green chilies, and a few spices and herbs.

I have many nostalgic childhood memories. As I share this recipe, I would like to share one of the memories. I can not remember a single train journey from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Hyderabad without the below experience.

This delicacy has always been a part of the South Indian railways culture. You can always find it being served in railway canteen, train platforms, and pantry on the trains.

At major stations, once the train approached the station a vendor would jump up in the compartment with a basket full of vada and idlis. He would go yelling vada, vada, meduvada, and next a tea or coffee vendor would follow yelling chai, chai, coffee, coffee. Ah, I miss those days of long train journeys.

About Hotel style Medu Vada Recipe

The recipe to make vada is super simple and involves only three steps – soak the urad dal, grind it to a fine paste, then shape small portions like a donut and deep fry.

The right texture of deep-fried items makes you want to have them more each time. It is also a reason to make you visit your favorite snack stall. This urad dal vada is no exception.

In this guide, I’ve shared certain techniques and methods that play a crucial role in achieving this crunchy texture and retain for a good amount of time.

Traditionally, the dish is made by soaking lentils (urad dal) for a few hours and then ground into a smooth and fluffy paste adding little to no water. Later small portions of this batter are hand shaped into donuts and fried.

Unlike idli and dosa batter, medu vada batter is not made in large quantities and is stored in the refrigerator. In the hotels, a wet/stone grinder is used which gives the best results.

Usually, vada batter is made in small quantities. So grinding in less quantity in a large wet grinder can be tiresome. In this recipe, I’m showing you how to make the vada batter using a mixie grinder. If you follow the tips and recipe to the core, grinding the dal in a mixer will give you good results too.

Have you noticed that the vadas in hotels or at roadside tiffin stalls, the vadas are crispier compared to homemade ones? The experts add one additional ingredient to get the right amount of crispiness. This secret ingredient varies – idli batter, rice flour, all-purpose flour (maida), chickpea flour (besan), semolina (sooji), or idli rava.

As these ingredients do not have their own taste, mixing anyone in the batter will not interfere with the taste of the vadas.

In fried items, baking or cooking soda has always been the secret ingredient of many professionals to give them a nice crunchy texture. But, in vadas you do not need soda.

Reasons to make

Super delicious

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside

Irresistible

Though deep-fried, they are full of nutritional goodness

Kids friendly

Serve for breakfast, snacks, and maybe brunch, lunch, and dinner too.

Lentils being the main ingredient of medu vadas, are a rich source of protein, Vitamin B, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Vegan and Gluten free

Good option to pack for lunch boxes or for travelling

hotel style medu vada recipe

Pro Tips

As a beginner, I faced many problems while making the vadas. The batter would be too thick or too soft, was unable to shape the batter, and fried vadas would be either hard or too oily. Below, I’m sharing the tips I learned over the years.

Wash the urad dal by rubbing between your fingers because the outer part of the dal will have white residue.

Soaking time: I recommend soaking the dal for 4 hours. But if you are short on time, soak for at least 2 hours.

I prefer and recommend keeping the soaked dal in the freezer for an hour before you start grinding. The cold temperature of dal will ensure that the batter and mixer grinder do not get heated up. If you do not have time to keep it in the freezer, use chilled water or ice cubes to grind the soaked dal.

Make sure your mixer blender does not become warm or hot while grinding, it will give dal a bitter taste.

The consistency of the urad dal batter determines the shape and texture of the vadas. If the batter is too thick, you will be able to shape the vadas perfectly but the fried vadas will be dense inside. If the batter is too soft, you will be unable to handle the batter in your fingers and it will be difficult to shape the vadas.

For extra crispy texture, add any one of them – rice flour, all-purpose flour (maida), chickpea flour (besan), or idli rava. Apart from the crispy texture, it absorbs the excess water in the batter. After adding any of the mentioned ingredients, rest the batter for 10-15 minutes, so that the extra moisture is absorbed.

If you are a beginner, transfer the ground paste to a round bowl. It will be easier to scoop out the paste from a round bowl.

Aerate the batter. It is a secret to soft and fluffy vadas. Whisk or beat the batter (with clean fingers) in one direction for about 5 mins to achieve air coagulation and obtain a fluffy batter. You can also do this using a hand mixer.

A test to check the batter consistency. Drop a small portion of the batter in a bowl of water. If the batter floats and retains its shape, the batter has the right consistency. If the batter sinks, this means your batter is not aerated enough. Whisk the batter for a few more minutes and test again.

Add salt right before preparing the vadas.

Ensure there is enough oil in the kadhai so that the vadas float and fry well. If you use less oil, vadas will stick to the bottom of the kadhai.

While making at home, do not overcrowd the deep frying pan or kadhai.

Frying at the right temperature. Fry the vadas in medium hot oil over medium flame. If you add vadas to very hot oil, they will instantly turn golden in color but remain uncooked from the inside. Turn off the flame and let the oil cool down. And, if the oil is not hot enough then vadas will drink too much oil.

A tip to make sure that the inside of the vada is cooked properly, fry them until the bubbles and sizzles around them get smaller.

If you are packing vadas for the lunch boxes, do not pack hot vadas. Steam from the vadas can make them soggy. Let them cool before packing.

If you still face any issues, please let me know. I will try my best to help you out.

Ingredients

An authentic plain medu vada requires only 3 ingredients – urad dal, water, and salt.

Lentils: To make vadas, you will need skinless whole black gram lentils/ whole urad dal. Do not confuse this with black lentils that is used to make dal makhani.

Water: You need water at room temperature to soak the lentils and chilled water to grind.

Seasoning: Salt to taste.

Cream of rice: Also known as idli rava is an additional ingredient to get the extra crispy texture. You can substitute it with fine variety of semolina (sooji), or rice flour.

How to make Hotel style Medu Vada

1. Take 1 cup of urad dal in a bowl and wash 3-4 times by rubbing it between your fingers and drain the water.

2. Soak in 3 cups of fresh water for 2 to 4 hours. While the dal is soaking, keep a cup of water in the freezer to chill.

After the dal is soaked, discard the water completely from the bowl. Add fresh water and keep it in the freezer for 1 hour.

3 & 4. Take the soaked dal (without water) into a mixer jar.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 1

5. Grind for 15-20 seconds.

6. Open the lid and you will notice that the dal has hardened. Scrape the sides of the mixer jar and loosen it by giving a good stir with a spoon.

7. Grind again for 15-20 seconds.

8. You will observe that the batter texture is coarse or some urad dal hasn’t been ground properly. Add 1 tablespoon of chilled water.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 2

9 & 10. Mix again and grind. Add 1 tbsp cold water more, if necessary. Grind until the batter is a smooth and thick paste.

11. Transfer the ground batter to a bowl. Grind the rest of the soaked dal. For 1 cup of dal, I have used 4 tablespoons of water. The quantity of water depends on the quality of the lentils you use.

12. Cover with a lid and keep it aside for 30-60 minutes.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 3

13. The batter will look slightly fermented.

14, 15, & 16. Take a whisk or use your clean fingers and beat the batter in one direction for at least 5 minutes. The batter will look fluffy, the volume will increase, and the color lightens. Do not skip this step. However, if you grind in a wet grinder, you can skip this step.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 4

17. Drop a small portion of the batter in a bowl full of water. It should float as seen in the pic. If it sinks, it means the aeration in the batter is not enough. Whisk or beat the batter for a few more minutes and test again.

18 & 19. Add 1 tablespoon of idli rava or fine semolina and salt. Give a good mix and rest for 5 minutes.

To shape and fry the vadas: Heat oil in a kadhai over medium flame and keep a bowl of water handy.

20. When the oil is hot, dip your fingers in the bowl of water. Make sure water is not dripping from your fingers, the water droplets will make the batter lose consistency.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 5

21 & 22. With the help of your fingers, take a small portion of the batter. Make a ball and slightly flatten it with your thumb.

23. Next, with your thumb make a hole in the center (as in a donut or bagel). Make sure your thumb is wet as well, else the batter will stick to your thumb.

If you are new to making medu vada, practice this a few times before frying. Else you can follow the second method below.

24. Upturn your hand and drop the vada in the oil by shaking the fingers gently.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 6

25 & 26. Method 2: Take a flat stainless steel spatula or flat bowl. Apply a layer of water to it. Dip your fingers in the water, take a small portion of the batter, and place it on the flat surface. Smoothen the edges to shape the batter into a circle, dip your index finger in water and make a hole in the center.

Upturn the spatula and drop the vada in the oil. Because of the water, it will easily slide off from the spatula.

27. Shape more vadas and drop in the oil. Wet your hand before shaping each vada. Fry in batches depending on the size of your kadai.

28. Turn/flip each vada within 20 seconds else there will be cracks in the vada and may burst in the oil.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 7

29. Fry the vadas on medium flame and flip them now and then till they turn golden in color. To make sure that the inside of the vada is cooked properly, fry them until the bubbles and sizzles around them get smaller.

For a deeper color, fry them on high flame for 1-2 minutes towards the end.

30. Remove the vadas using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat the same with the remaining batter.

Hotel style Medu Vadas are ready. Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sambar.

hotel style medu vada recipe step 8

Serving Suggestions

Traditionally vadas are served for breakfast along with coconut chutney, allam (ginger) chutney, and sambar as side dishes.

Personally, I like to soak the crisp vadai in hot and spicy tiffin sambar. Each bite is warming, comforting, and utterly delicious!

Storage Suggestions

I won’t recommend storing fried vadas as they will lose their crisp texture. Instead, you can store the urad dal batter (without salt) in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in an air-tight container.

Before making vadas, make sure to keep the batter on the kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature. Whisk the batter well to remove any lumps present and aerate the batter.

medu vada recipe using mixie

More South Indian Recipes (breakfast)

Idli

Dosa

Uttapam

Paniyaram

If you’ve tried this authentic Hotel style Medu Vada Recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

You can also follow me on Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Recipe Card

hotel style medu vada recipe

How to make Perfect Hotel style Medu Vada

Author: Santosh Allada
Medu Vada is a popular and one of the most loved breakfast item in the South Indian cuisine. This post shares tips and tricks to make the perfect Udupi hotel style or South Indian restaurant style medu vadas at home using a mixer grinder.
Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 12 medium size medu vadas

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Black gram lentils (urad dal)
  • 3-4 tbsp Chilled Water (to grind)
  • 1 tbsp Idli rava (or fine semolina)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Take 1 cup of urad dal in a bowl and wash 3-4 times by rubbing it between your fingers and drain the water.
  • Soak in 3 cups of fresh water for 2 to 4 hours. While the dal is soaking, keep a cup of water in the freezer to chill.
  • After the dal is soaked, discard the water completely from the bowl. Add fresh water and keep it in the freezer for 1 hour.
  • Take the soaked dal (without water) into a mixer jar.
  • Grind for 15-20 seconds on low speed.
  • Open the lid and you will notice that the dal has hardened. Scrape the sides of the mixer jar and loosen it by giving a good stir with a spoon.
  • Grind again for 15-20 seconds.
  • You will observe that the batter texture is coarse or some urad dal hasn’t been ground properly. Add 1 tablespoon of chilled water.
  • Mix again and grind. Add 1 tbsp cold water more, if necessary. Grind until the batter is a smooth and thick paste.
  • Transfer the ground batter to a bowl. Grind the rest of the soaked dal. For 1 cup of dal, I have used 4 tablespoons of water. The quantity of water depends on the quality of the lentils you use.
  • Cover with a lid and keep it aside for 30-60 minutes.
  • The batter will look slightly fermented.
  • Take a whisk or use your clean fingers and beat the batter in one direction for at least 5 minutes. The batter will look fluffy, the volume will increase, and the color lightens. Do not skip this step. However, if you grind in a wet grinder, you can skip this step.
  • Drop a small portion of the batter in a bowl full of water. It should float as seen in the pic. If it sinks, it means the aeration in the batter is not enough. Whisk or beat the batter for a few more minutes and test again.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of idli rava or fine semolina and salt. Give a good mix and rest for 5 minutes.
  • To shape and fry the vadas: Heat oil in a kadhai over medium flame and keep a bowl of water handy.
  • When the oil is hot, dip your fingers in the bowl of water. Make sure water is not dripping from your fingers, it will make the batter loose.
  • With the help of your fingers, take a small portion of the batter. Make a ball and slightly flatten it with your thumb.
  • Next, with your thumb make a hole in the center (as in a donut or bagel). Make sure your thumb is wet as well, or else the batter will stick to your thumb.
  • If you are new to making medu vada, practice this a few times before frying. Else you can follow the second method below.
  • Upturn your hand and drop the vada in the oil by shaking the fingers gently.
  • Method 2: Take a flat stainless steel spatula or flat bowl. Apply a layer of water to it. Dip your fingers in the water, take a small portion of the batter, and place it on the flat surface. Smoothen the edges to shape the batter into a circle, dip your index finger in water and make a hole in the center.
  • Upturn the spatula and drop the vada in the oil. Because of the water, it will easily slide off from the spatula.
  • Shape more vadas and drop in the oil. Wet your hand before shaping each vada. Fry in batches depending on the size of your kadai.
  • Turn/flip each vada within 20 seconds else there will be cracks in the vada and may burst in the oil.
  • Fry the vadas on medium flame and flip them now and then till they turn golden in color. To make sure that the inside of the vada is cooked properly, fry them until the bubbles and sizzles around them get smaller.
  • For a deeper color, fry them on high flame for 1-2 minutes towards the end.
  • Remove the vadas using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat the same with the remaining batter.
  • Hotel style Medu Vadas are ready. Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sambar.

Notes

Use good and freshest quality lentils.
The amount of water required to grind the soaked lentils will vary depending on quality of lentils, soaking time, and mixer grinder.
There are many problems one can face while making vadas – hard and chewy inside, not able to shape, vadas burst in the oil, they are not crunchy. One common reason for all these problems is the inconsistency of the batter. Follow the recipe to the core to avoid any problems.
Lentils are protein-rich and at the same time can be a bit hard on digestion. To make it easily digestible, you can add asafoetida to the batter before making the vadas.
To make onion medu vada or ulligaare, add chopped/sliced onions, green chilies, finely chopped ginger, curry leaves, and cumin seeds to the batter. Mix and use the batter immediately.
If you’re having problems shaping and do not mind the shape, you can definitely just drop small pieces of the batter into the oil so you get round-shaped Vada instead. 
If there is excess batter, store it in the fridge before adding salt. Store the batter in a clean, dry air-tight container for 2-3 days.


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