Medu Vadai | Deep Fried South Indian Savory Donuts

Sweet is always paired with a savory dish. We love to eat Sakkara pongal with medu vadai. Medu vadai is nothing but deep fried South Indian Savory Donuts. The urad dahl (white lentils) are soaked and ground to a thick paste with green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. You can see the picture of urad dahl in this post where the deep fried vadais are served with seasoned yogurt.

The festival meal is incomplete without hot,fluffy, soft idlies and flavorful sambar.

Deep Fried South Indian Savory Donuts

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Course: Snack
Cuisine: South Indian
Keyword: Deep Fried South Indian Savory Donuts
Author: Advika Menon


  • 1 cup White Lentils/ Ulundu / Urad dahl
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1 inch Ginger, Minced
  • 1 Small Red Onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro
  • 10-12 Curry Leaves, Chopped
  • 1 tsp Asafoetida
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • Water as needed, use minimum
  • Oil to fry


Cooking Directions

  • Soak the lentil in water for 4 hours. Remove all the water and add to a grinder or mixie (make sure that you add only 2 tablespoon water only). Throw in green chillies and ginger. Grind to a smooth batter. Please make sure you sprinkle water to get the grinder from not getting stuck and keep the process going. I will also open the lid and move the batter to the center of the blade to enhance better grinding. You need a fluffy glob of batter. It will take 15-20 minutes to incorporate the air and fluffiness to the paste.
  • Remove to a clean bowl. With your hand, whisk the batter in circular motion in single direction. This will incorporate more air to the paste. Leave it in the fridge for 1 hours. You need a cold paste.
  • Add onions, curry leaves and cilantro to the batter and mix to combine. Right before you cook, add salt as you don’t want the salt to leave any moisture to the paste.

Deep Frying Method:

  •  Heat oil to 375F. Using hand, remove little of the paste and place it on the left palm. Shape into a donut and gently remove with your other hand and deep dry in super hot oil. Let it brown. It takes less than 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl wrapped with kitchen tissue.

Less Oil / Appe Pan Method:

  • Heat the appam pan and smear little oil in the holes. Spoon the paste and let it cook. It takes about 10 minutes on each side. It takes a while to cook in the appe / paniyaram pan so patience is key. Once cooked, remove and set aside.

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