My husband fears these days as he knows I am like a Woman possessed and cannot think of anything else until I have cooked and eaten what I wanted to. Well he benefits as well because he is the benefactor of all that cooking. What I do appreciate is his co-operation as he never stops me from making anything I want to make and is always happy to eat the end results.
Last Sunday I woke up thinking about my childhood days and how I would make Dad head to Ram Krishna (Vile Parle East) on his way back from Sunday morning walks. Ram Krishna is famous for its South Indian Fare. Our orders would be standard – 1 Plate Medu Vada , 1 Masala Dosa and One plate Idli with tons of extra Sambar.
I have been eating here for over a decade and till today the taste of their Sambar and Vadas are still the same. I wish it could pack them on my journey back to Melbourne alas strict Customs rules means no cooked food allowed. Le Sigh !!!
So on Sunday afternoon I decided to soak Urad dal and make fresh Medu Vadas at home for Dinner. Medu Vadas have about 2-3 hours of soak time and no fermentation required. Hence they are relatively quick to make compared to Dosa and Idlis that require separate fermentation time. Minimal and existing kitchen and pantry ingredients and you can have hot piping Vadas ready in just a few hours. Here is Mumbai to Melbourne’s recipe for Medu Vada or Ulundu Vada.
The ingredients below would make roughly 12 Medu Vadas that will serve 3- 4 adults.
Ingredients needed are:
1 cup – skinned Urad Dal
Ginger- finely chopped – 2 teaspoon
2 green chillies- finely chopped
Coriander – 2 tablespoons
Onion- 2 tablespoons finely chopped (Optional)
Rice Flour – 2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
Asafoetida – A pinch
Curry Leaves – finely chopped – 2 teaspoon
Baking Soda/ Eno – ½ teaspoon
Water- a few tablespoons
Salt to taste
Oil – enough to fry
Soak the Urad dal in enough water for 2-3 hours. In the mean while finely chop the chillies, coriander and ginger and onion if using. Keep aside. After 2-3 hours drain the water thoroughly from the soaked urad dal. Using a wet grinder/ food processor mince the urad dal along with one finely chopped chilli. Add water very sparingly while grinding. The batter should be thick and of dropping consistency.
Next add the cumin seeds, chopped onion, coriander leaves, curry leaves and asafoetida and salt. Add the rice flour and mix well. This should help thicken the batter a bit more. Now if at this stage you feel the batter is still not of dropping consistency you could add 2 more tablespoons of rice flour and mix again.
Lastly add Eno fruit salt/ baking soda. Give it a good mix. Now cover with an airtight container and keep in a cool place for 10 minutes.
Fry them to golden brown. They should be crisp on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. This batter made me about 12 Medu Vadas. Drain them on absorbent paper. You can serve them with Chutney or Sambar. I love mine dunked in hot piping sambar topped with lots of coriander leaves and a spoonful of chutney.
Ensure you drain the soaked urad dal completely. If you do not have a wet grinder, you can grind half of the soaked dal first with a couple of tea spoons of water. Then grind the rest. Then mix both the parts of the ground dal and give it another spin in the food processor.
Avoid adding more than a couple of spoons of water to the mixture while grinding. Otherwise the batter will be too wet and when you fry the vadas they might not hold shape and will soak in a lot of oil.
You can use cling wrap to shape the Medu Vadas like doughnuts and then slowly slide them into the oil if you cannot shape them on your palm. Just be careful when you slide the Vadas in oil. Adding onion to the vada batter is optional. Since shopped onions can leave their juices ensure you keep that in mind and if you feel the need as I have stated above add a couple more spoons of rice flour to help with binding.
Photography- Ankit Mehan
So what are you waiting for Get your Medu Vada freak on!!
I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. Do leave your feedback in the comments below. Have a fabulous and food filled week ahead. Cheers to Good Food and a Good Life.