Garelu, Medu Vada, or Ulundu Vadai

Garelu, Medu Vada or Ulundu VadaiGarelu, Medu Vada or Ulundu Vadai

In South India, on any auspicious occasion, you will find Garelu (Medu Vada or Ulundu Vadai) being served along with Payasam of some sort. I decided to herald in the New Year (or rather usher out the old year) with some hot Garelu and Coconut Chutney.

There are few in the world who can resist a hot crisp vada and I am no exception.

In Tamil Nadu, you will often be served Vada for breakfast along with Pongal, Idli, or even Dosa.

While Medu Vada is undoubtedly a deep-fried snack, a well-made Vada absorbs surprisingly little oil. And the secret lies in the batter and in how hot the oil is. The batter should be ground with as little water as possible and the oil should be hot but not smoking.

Soaking Time: 6 Hours

Making Time: 30 Minutes

Makes: 10-12

Equipment: Banana Leaf or 6″ Square of Plastic.


Minapa Pappu, Udad Dal or Husked Black Gram – 1 Cup
Rice Flour – 1 tbsp
Green Chillies – 3 or 4
Grated Ginger – 1 tsp (Optional)
Finely Chopped Coconut – 2 tbsp (Optional)
Salt to Taste
Oil for Deep Frying

Method to Make the Batter

Soak the udad dal in 3 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
Drain all the water from the udad dal.
Grind the udad dal into a smooth batter with as little water as possible.

Grind the udad dal with no water initial till it is a coarse mix.
At regular intervals, stop the grinder and mix the batter with the hand.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp of water.
Grind again.
Sprinkle some water (very little), if required.
The batter should be thick, smooth, and drop off a spoon. It should not slide off a spoon.

Add the rice flour, salt, finely chopped green chillies, finely chopped coconut pieces, and grated ginger.
Mix well.

Method to Make Vada

Keep a bowl of water ready.
In a heavy-bottomed wok, heat enough oil for deep frying the vada.

Add a drop of batter to the oil.
The batter ball should remain on top (and not sink to the bottom).

Grease the banana leaf or a square piece of plastic with 1/4 tsp oil.
Wet your hand.
Take a large lemon-size portion of batter and place it on the plastic or banana leaf.
Pat a little to form a 2″ disc.
With your  finger, create a hole in the center.
Invert the plastic or banana leaf over the oil so that the vada drops into it.
Fry till golden brown.
Repeat steps 3 to 9 to make more vadas.
Serve hot with Coconut Chutney, Allam Pachadi or Sambar.


The rice flour helps to make the vadas crisp.
Be sure to add as little water as you can while grinding the batter. The batter will take some time to grind but will be thick and smooth.
If you have too much water in the batter, the vada will not hold shape or then absorb a lot of oil.
With experience, you will be able to shape vadas with your hand. :-)
Be careful while dropping the vada into the hot oil; otherwise the oil will splash onto your hand and burn you.

Related articles

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Ulli Garelu (
Coconut Chutney (

Filed under: Andhra Recipes, Breakfast Items, Indian Food, Snacks, Tamil Nadu Recipes Tagged: Garelu, Medu Vada, Recipes, Ulundu Vadai, Vegan, vegetarian

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