Monday 20 April 2015

Medhu Vadai (மெது வடை)

Medhu vadai (மெது வடை) made of urad dhal is a very popular snack in South India. Medhu vadai makes a great combination with coconut chutney, and is also served along with idly (இட்லி) and/or pongal (பொங்கல்) for breakfast. However, this vadai is often included in festival menu. Medhu vadai can be soaked in hot rasam (ரசம்) or sambar (சாம்பார்) to make rasa vadai (ரசவடை) and sambar vadai (சாம்பார் வடை) respectively. You may also make small balls using medhu vadai batter and soak it in kalyana more kuzhambu (கல்யாண மோர் குழம்பு) instead of vegetables. Let’s see how to make this delicious snack.
Ingredients: (Makes approximately 15 vadais)
Split black gram or Urad dhal – 1 tumbler or 200ml measure
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a generous pinch
Green chili – 2-3 no (adjust to taste)
Curry leaves – a few
Pepper corns – 1 teaspoon
Oil – for deep frying
Onion – 1no, chopped finely (optional)*

* You may add finely chopped onions to the batter if you so desire. Shallots (சாம்பார் வெங்காயம்) may be used instead of onion. Peel and chop shallots finely and add to the vadai batter.

Method: Wash and soak the black gram in sufficient water for at least four hours. Later wash the dhal once again and drain the water completely. Grind the dhal with salt, green chili and asafoetida into a thick, fluffy batter using the mixer-grinder. DO NOT add water while grinding*. You will get best results if you use wet grinder, as the batter becomes a smooth spongy mass (நன்கு குடைய அரைக்கவும்). Transfer the batter to a bowl, add curry leaves, pepper corns and chopped onion. Mix well. 
Fig.1: Medhu vadai batter
Heat oil in a kadai on medium flame and check if the oil is ready by dropping a small quantity of batter into it. If the oil is ready, the batter will fry and rise to the surface. Shape the batter into a ‘vadai’ (வடை), like a round patty on a wet plantain leaf. You may also use a thick plastic sheet for this purpose (See Fig.2). Wet the sheet with water, place a tablespoonful of batter and flatten it slightly. You will be able to make a hole in the center, if the batter is thick. 

Fig.2: Place the batter on a wet plastic sheet
Remove it from the sheet and drop it gently in hot oil. You may be able to fry 3-4 vadais simultaneously, depending on the size of the vadai you make. Turn the vadais over and cook on both sides, till the vadais become golden brown in color on all sides (Fig.3).
Fig.3: Fry the 'vadais' in oil till they become golden brown on all sides
Remove the vadais and place them on paper napkins for the excess oil to drain. Continue to make vadais till you use up the batter fully. Your crispy tasty vadais are ready! Serve hot with coconut chutney.

How to store: If you are not serving the vadais immediately, you may store them in an open bowl till they cool to room temperature and then transfer to a closed container. You may later place the vadais in microwave safe bowl on a tissue paper and heat them in the microwave oven for 1-2 minutes, before serving. 

Medhu Vadai (மெது வடை)
*Note: If you are using mixer-grinder, you may have to add little water to grind the dhal into a smooth batter. This will make the batter slightly thin and you may not be able to make a hole in the center, while shaping the batter into a vadai. Moreover, the vadai may absorb more oil, while frying. 

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