Delicious Vadai Recipe

Vadai Recipe (Urad Dahl)

Vadai used to be a gourmet dish even in India, in regions other than the South. However, it has become pretty mainstream everywhere in India now. The right pronunciation is “Vadai”. But it is popular as Vada. It is delicious both hot and warm. In South India, it is a staple item in every day meals, and a definite item on some special occasions. There are also several variations to this item.

Preparing Vadai takes some work. But it gets easier as you make these more and more. For a novice, initially it may be appear cumbersome. But like everything else, with practice it will get easier. One thing is that, even if they are not made the perfect way, they will still taste good.

Delicious Urad Dahl Vada

Hover over the highlighted Keywords below for Images and/or Description of some of the Ingredients: 
Green Chillies, Hing, Serrano Peppers, Urad Dahl

Delicious Vadai Recipe

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian


  • 2 cups Urad Dahl (Soaked in a lot of lukewarm water for at least 2 hours)
  • 1 - 2 Green Chillies (Serrano Peppers)
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 6 cups Canola or any Cooking Oil


  • 1/2 teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder


Preparing the Batter
Step 1

Place the green chillies in a food processor or large blender. (I use a food processor for grinding urad dahl for making this Vada.) If you like moderate heat, use one Chili. If you like it spicy and hot, use 2 or even more if you like.

Step 2
Drain the soaked urad dahl, and add it to the food processor. Add 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and hing.
Step 3
Grind the contents for a few cycles.

Note: The end product, i.e., the Vada Batter, should be as thick as possible, to be able to spread it on the palm of the hand or on a small plastic cling wrap, and then slide just the vada into the hot oil. (See pictures).

Step 4

If the batter is too tight and difficult to grind, add a tablespoon of water along the sides of the batter every now and then and continue to grind until the batter is smooth. It is okay if the batter is not very smooth but slightly coarse.

Step 5

Taste the batter and if you like, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grind a couple more cycles for the salt to mix. Transfer the contents into a bowl. Dip the spoon or spatula or hand in water now and then, to make it easy to remove the batter from the food processor.

Step 6

Note: Adding baking powder to the batter makes the vada come out puffier and softer. Decide whether you want to use all the batter or half of it. If you are going to use all the batter, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the batter and mix thoroughly. If you are going to use half of the batter, add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to the batter and mix thoroughly.
Use baking powder only to the batter you are going to use right away to fry the vadas. Also, don't use baking soda; use only baking powder.

Preparing to fry
Step 7

Place 4 cups of oil in a stable medium wok.

Step 8
Or you can use a stable saucepan.
Step 9

When the oil appears to be hot, drop a tiny piece of vada batter into the oil. If it starts sizzling, the oil is ready. If the batter piece is just sitting without any activity, the oil needs to be heated some more. Remove the batter piece. When the oil is hot enough, start frying the vadas. Have a large bowl lined up with several paper towels to place the fried vadas.

Step 10

If you are using your hand, go to Step 11.
If you want to use a cling wrap, go to Step 12.

Using the hand to make the Vadas
Step 11

Wet the palm of your left hand and the fingers of your right hand. Take a small ball of batter, say the size of a very small lime, in your right hand, and place it on the wet palm of the left hand. Gently flatten it with your fingers. Then make a hole in the center with a finger. (See Pictures.)

Using cling wrap to make the Vadas
Step 12

If you want to try a cling wrap, do the following. Cut a piece of cling wrap about 10 inches by 8 inches. Fold it to make it about 5 inches by 4 inches. Place it on the palm of your left hand and wet it. Wet the fingers of your right hand. Take a small ball of batter, say the size of a very small lime, in your right hand, and place it on the wet cling wrap on your left hand. Gently flatten it with your fingers. Then make a hole in the center with a finger.

Frying the Vadas
Step 13

With your right hand fingers, gently and carefully, slide or guide the raw vada, from your left hand into the hot oil. You can try a small one first to see how it works.

Step 14

The vada batter should start sizzling. If it does not sizzle immediately and rapidly, don't add any more. Just finish this one and wait until the oil gets hot enough. If it sizzles rapidly, lower the heat, make 2 more raw vadas and slide them in the open area of the oil. Increase the heat to medium. Wash your hands, if you like.

Step 15

Using a large flat spatula or spoon, turn the vadas in the oil every now and then, until they look golden brown on both sides. (See pictures.)

Step 16

When a vada gets golden brown, take it in the spoon or spatula, let the excess oil fall back into the saucepan or wok, then place it in the bowl lined with paper towels. Do the same for the rest of the vadas frying in the oil. From time to time transfer the ones on the paper towels that have cooled off, to a different container. Keep adding the new hot ones to the paper towels. You can replace the soiled paper towels with fresh ones, if you like.

Vadai Recipe (Urad Dahl)
Step 17

If you want to make bigger batches, add 2 more cups of oil to the saucepan/wok. When the oil is quite hot, add 4 or 5 vadas at a time into the oil.

Step 18

Following Steps 10 through 16, finish making the Vadas, either using all the batter, or using some of the batter and refrigerating the rest in a tightly closed container. Before making each Vada, remember to wet your hands and fingers before you touch the batter. This way, the batter will not cling to your hand or fingers, it will be easier to shape the vada and also to slide it into the oil.

Serve the Vadas
Step 19
Serve the Vadas hot with Chutney or Sambar on the side. Recipes for several kinds of Sambar's and Chutney's are available here on this site.
Step 20

These Vadas taste best when they are served hot and immediately after being fried. However, they taste good in room temperature too. You can reheat these in the microwave oven for about 15 seconds.

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