When you walk into eateries in Chennai, the smell of filter coffee and hot fresh milk tea will waft in the air along with the freshly made hot vadai and coconut chutney.
There are several types of vadai and the vadai that I am talking about is made of urad dhal which is black lentil.This lentil is available whole, husked and in halves. This urad dal is soaked in water and ground to coarse or fine paste and made in to vadai.For Medhu vadai it needs to be ground to a fine paste.When fried, this vadai has a crispy outer layer and a softer inside. This vadai is a savoury version of doughnut.
This is an ideal vegetarian/ vegan dish, a tea/coffee time snack and a good accompaniment to Dosas (fermented lentil pancake) and a favourite snack in South India.
I was craving some good vadai and made these for breakfast. They were so delicious!
You can try these at home if you have a good Indian mixer or the grinding stone which people used a few decades ago. People used grinding stones to grind flour and lentils to make these lovely dishes. They could control the coarseness and fineness when they used the grinding stones. These stones were their dumbbells back then.The market is flooded with so many electric grinding stones and mixers.Choose a reputed brand to last long. They ease your work a lot.
Time: 30 minutes +soaking time 3 hours Makes:20-25 vadais
250 grams of ulundhu/urad dal, husked and soaked in water for 2-3 hours (husked urad dhal is available in many groceries)
1 onion, chopped finely
2 slices of ginger, chopped finely
1-2 nos green chillies, sliced finely
a few black pepper corn
1 tsp cumin powder (you can use whole cumin)
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
a few curry leaves, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp roasted rice flour, optional
salt to taste
oil to deep fry
1.Rinse the soaked urad dhal; transfer it to to a jar of a mixer or a grinding stone adding very little water (less than 1/4 of the quantity of urad dhal).
I slanted the jar to show the little amount of water that I have added.
2.Grind to a fine paste.
3. Transfer the paste to a clean bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the oil.
4.Use your hand to fold the batter to incorporate some air.Keep your palm flat under the batter, lift the palm slowly and turn it over (your palm should now face the batter).
Repeat 4 times.This technique will give softer texture to your vadai.
5.If you are a beginner take a square piece of plastic paper. Wet both your hands; take small portion of the batter; flatten and form a neat circle. Poke a hole with your finger to make a hole. The hole helps to fry the vadai evenly.
Make sure that the oil is hot by dropping a bit of batter in the oil with a spoon. If the oil is hot enough it will sizzle and rise to the surface.
Transfer the formed batter in to the hot oil by gently sliding it.
Do the same with the rest of the batter.
(I did mine using my hands.Wet your palms and take small portion of the batter. Flatten the batter with your fingers to form a neat circle. Poke a hole in the middle with a finger)When golden brown transfer with slotted spoon to a kitchen towel lined colander to absorb some oil.
Serve with coconut chutney or a choice of your favourite chutney.