Medhu Vadai / Ulundhu Vadai ~ Hotel Style

Medhu Vadai

Happy Tamil New year wishes to you all. I had planned on posting this before New year but due to the phone lines not working it got delayed. Medhu Vadai / Ulundhu vadai is my ultimate comfort food and I can survive on it for days. All I need is a bowl of hot steaming sambar to go with it and I’m a happy person. No festival lunch is complete without these vadais.

I had always been in awe of the vadai that we get in hotels. I used to sigh upon looking at the huge vadas they serve and used to wonder on how they were able to get that size and make them stay that way even after they get cold. Finally after many repetitive endeavors  to get those perfect looking vadas at home, Eureka! I got it.

(This click was taken immediately after they were made and the first one was taken 4 hours later)

Medhu Vadai / Ulundhu Vadai

You’ll need:

  • Urad Dal – 1 cup
  • Corn flour – 2 – 3 tbsp
  • Onion – 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies – 2 tsp
  • Ginger – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – for deep frying



Preparation:  Soak Urad dal in water for 1/2 hour. Chop the onion, green chillies and curry leaves finely. Grate the ginger and keep it aside.

How to Grind the Batter: 

The inside of the grinder / food processor should be wet. Grind the urad dal using 2-3 tbsp of water alone. To grind it well, dip you hand in water and run it along the sides of the wet grinder for even grinding. Do not add more water. When you think the batter is done, sprinkle the corn flour from the sides and let the grinder run for another 1-2 min for the corn flour to get mixed well with the batter. Transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. I usually place the bowl in the freezer for 10 min.

How to check the consistency:

When you scoop the batter in your hand and hold facing the floor it should not fall from your palm. It should be that thick. When you place about 1/2 tsp of batter in a bowl of water it should float on top and not sink. The batter should be that light.

How to proceed:

Heat a kadai with oil. You will need either a plantain leaf or a clean plastic sheet for making vadas and small bowl of water too.

Take the batter out of the fridge and add the chopped onion, green chilli, curry leaves, grated ginger, salt and mix well. Dip your hand in water and wipe the leaf or sheet which ever you are using. Place a lemon size of batter on the sheet and give it a pat. Dip your index finger in water and make a hole in the center. Again wet your hands and shape the sides evenly.

To cook, take the sheet and invert it onto your hand and slide the vada smoothly into the oil from the sides. You can cook 2-3 vadas at a time depending on the size of the kadai. The vadai will first sink to the bottom and will then rise to the surface. Turn them after a minute or two and let it cook over medium flame. When cooked to golden brown remove on an absorbent paper and serve hot with either coconut chutney or Sambar.

These vadas will remain crunchy on the outside and soft and porous inside and consume very little oil. These also do not sag and become hard as they cool down and they maintain their puffed up shape. You can also check out this sambar vadai which is a bit different from this one.

In case you want to make these for prasadham avoid adding onions, green chillies and ginger to the batter. Just add curry leaf and freshly ground black pepper to make vadas. This one also tastes very good.


  • Do not use rice flour as a replacement to corn flour.
  • Avoid cooking the vadas over high flame. This will make them to burn on the outside and uncooked in the middle.
  • While making for children replace green chillies with black pepper powder.
  • Make the vadas immediately after adding onion and salt else the batter will become runny.
  • Avoid adding more corn flour to adjust the consistency than the required amount. It will harden the vadas.

This is off to Only Snacks, Walk through memory laneFestival special

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  1. says

    wow..totally irresistable..nice presentation radhika..
    btw..glad you & your loved ones enjoyed gobi pulav recipe and your comments are truly inspiring..TQ ..:)
    wishing u a fantastic new yr too..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  2. says

    I love methu vada…. Is this is secret behind alltime crisp and softness behind hotel vada? Pictures are killing radhika.

  3. says

    hmm looks yummy. its not easy and i know consistency has to be right. and err u changed ur blog template it seems

    looks totally differnt here

  4. says

    lovely description… easy to understand.
    iv used ground rice instead of cornflour and it makes it crisp! but i shall definitely try ur version !

  5. Anonymous says

    Incredible looking vadas, Thanx ever so much for the step by step instructions to grind the batter, have tried plenty of times but unable to get the shape with the hole:( Hope I get it right this time :)

  6. says

    Even I do the same way Radhika but I use rice flour, why do you stress on the corn flour, I thought both rice flour and cornflour did the same thing to the vadas, make it crispier, don’t mistake me dear, I really want to know..

    • says

      I too first used to add rice flour like my Mom but rice flour tends to harden when deep fried like it makes the murukkus / chaklis. But with cornflour it never hardens but yet crisp.

  7. says

    aaah… Corn flour is the secret ingredient?! I would have never guessed! I tried experimenting with rice flour but ended up with rock hard vadas…. 😛 And i had almost declared myself a failure at making these beauties…. thanks for this informative post…. Though I also soak the dal overnight… and leave it to rise for a couple of hours after grinding…. esp since i use my usual blender for the grinding process…

  8. says

    We are a family who is crazy about south Indian cuisine. The medhu vadai looks perfect. Your close up shots are so tempting, I almost felt like grabbing a few out from the screen!

  9. says

    These vadas are super tempting!Adding cornflour is new to me. I love dunking them in pping hot Rasam or sambar and enjoying them!
    Ah! who cares about guilt at that stage :)
    Wonderful vadas.

  10. says

    these look simply amazing!……great tip about the cornflour..i never knew!thank you so much for sharing….i also didn’t know that we shoul cool the batter down first..maybe that why my vadas got a little oily at times.

  11. says

    the vadas look perfect radhika.. wish u a very happy new year.. I struggle to make the hole in the vada’s & corn flour is also new to me.. if i use a blender to grind the vadas.. can i get the right consistency.. it kinda becomes hard to grind..

  12. says

    I tried these vadas and they came out amazingly well. I had never really gotten the hang of making perfectly shaped vadas. Thanks for this recipe.

    Aparna from Square Meals

  13. says

    Thank you for posting this recipe. Until this time, I had never really gotten the hang of making perfectly shaped vadas. This recipe was pretty foolproof.

    Aparna from Square Meals

  14. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for posting and sharing the secret. I made this over the weekend and it turned out just like in hotels. perfectly shaped. I had so far never been able to make a decent vada but thanks to you now I can.

  15. says

    The vadas look perfect and delicious. Thankyou for sharing the tips too; I would not have thought of corn flour mainly because it might ‘harden’ butif this amount works, wonderful!

  16. says

    Tried it and worked great
    But missed the part
    adding onion and salt else the batter will become runny.

    and it become runny i can’t even shape it so i prepared it as bhajiya / pakoda no problem taste still great… like hotel

  17. says

    Dear Radhika .
    How are you? Landed from FB. I was chilling in Sahara in Apr 2012 , so missed this great recipe. Scared to explore what all I have missed . ha ha
    Like you, I can eat Medu Vada, days in days out,with Sambar, Rasham, or right out off the frying pan…..
    Never used corn flour before ..cant wait to try ..I use a dash of rice flour ( learnt from you all southern friends) to give that surface crunch …please tell me on a message , the use of rice flour vis-a vis corn flour ….for most iother batter for frying , I use a combo of rice & corn flour with the main base of Maida or besan as the case may be.. I am excited to try the corn flour ..
    Have a nice week ahead

  18. says


    Can you please provide a picture of the cup you used to measure the urad dal. Also, mention how many tablespoons of corn flour you added for this cup of dal.


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  20. Anonymous says

    hi awesome photography…can i add corn starch, …? what would be the proportion?..thanks for this recipe
    i want to try today for my husband’s birthday.

  21. Barbara says

    I prepared it according to ur said recipe. What can I say , it came out so well. Thank u so very much for such a perfect recipe , which was soft and crispy .

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