I am one of those people who used to eagerly wait for all the festivals wherein mom would make medhu vada at home. We would be banned from eating them as and when amma fries these golden beauties and we would have to wait until my dad finishes pooja, which usually takes hours. Praying that appa would finish it soon, these fluffy, crispy vadas would vanish the minute we were allowed to eat! 🙂 Every road trip our dad would break in hotels like adayar anandha bhavan, saravana bhavan or one of those countless bhavans that we have in every corner of south India and medhu vada would be on the list of items we order every time. So you can imagine my pleasure when I started working, I got amazing medhu vadas everyday for breakfast in our factory canteen. I used to have breakfast with 2 other girls from northern part of India, who would take a bite or so of the vadas, talking about diet and losing weight. Me? I would finish them off in a minute secretly wondering if they would judge me if I took another one 😀 But those were days I did not have to worry about gaining weight! 🙂 So now you know my love for medhu vada.
When I got married I did not have a grinder and I was never able to get good vadas. I had just started to cook and even if I managed to get a decent batter, there was no way I could get a hole in the middle. Just getting 1 good vada with a hole seemed like an achievement! But here I am now making crispy fluffy vadas with a hole, althought they are still not perfectly round. But who cares as long as it tastes good? Right!
The key to making a good vada is getting the batter right. It has to be super fluffy. If you get that right consider your work almost done! So here goes the recipe –
- 1 cup urad dal without the skin (soaked for 2 to 3 hours)
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach
- 2 to 3 green chillies (depending on spice levels)
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 2 big pinches asafoetida
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- salt as needed
- oil for deep frying
Grind the urad dal, green chillies in the grinder/ mixie or food processor until nice and fluffy.
(Make sure you do not add a lot of water while grinding. Water has to be sprinkled 1 tsp at a time as needed to help grind the dal. Push the dals that are stuck to the sides of the grinder/food processor to the middle, so that they grind well too. Do not grind the batter for a long time. Stop the grinder/ processor on and off and sprinkle water as needed and do not keep grinding once the batter looks fluffy. Use really cold water to grind the batter especially if you are using a mixie or food processor.)
The batter is done when it looks fluffy and airy.
Now add finely chopped or grated ginger, salt, chopped spinach leaves, asafoetida and curry leaves to the batter and mix well. Now refrigerate the batter for an hour or more. ( I recently learnt from my mil that this gives very crispy vadas)
Now heat some oil in a frying pan. Oil your hands with sesame oil/ or other cooking oil and dip your hands in water slightly.
Use a spoon to put a dollop of batter in your palm and use your fingers or back of the spoon to make a hole. Transfer the batter to the other hand and drop it into the oil (since your hands have oil and some water in them, they will glide off easily)
Fry these vadas in medium high flame until nice and golden turning them as necessary.
Drain the excess oil in paper and serve hot with chutney or eat them as it is!