Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)

Medhu vadai or ulundha vadai is a gluten-free savoury doughnut prepared using black lentils (urad dal). Any feast or festival in South India is incomplete without serving soft vadai with crispy golden skin. Nevertheless medhu vadai is a commonly prepared evening snack in our family particularly during monsoon.

img_7835 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Medhu vadai (Savory Doughnuts)

It can be served as rasa vadai, sambar vadai or thayir vadai as shown below.

img_7853 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Rasa vadai
img_7862 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Sambar Vadai
img_7900 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Thayir Vadai

How to serve rasa vadai, sambar vadai or thayir vadai:

For rasa vadai or sambar vadai we need to soak medhu vadai in hot rasam or sambar for few minutes, for thayir vadai we need to blend curd (half cup) & coconut chutney (1 tbsp) and pour over warm vadai. Garnish with finely chopped onions and coriander leaves before serving. Please note that we need to prick holes using toothpick or fork before soaking so that it gets soaked quickly, evenly and completely.

We usually serve medhu vadai with hot sambar and coconut chutney.

img_7884 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Medhu vadai with chutney & sambar

Medhu Vadai Recipe:

I have been trying a unique method to incorporate air into the vadai dough to make soft fluffy medhu vadai, and I find this method useful particularly while making it in small quantities. Now the recipe for making restaurant-style soft spongy vadai.

img_7827 Medhu Vadai (Savory Doughnuts)
Medhu vadai recipe

Time taken (excluding soaking time) for making vadai: 30 min

Yield : 16 Nos.


  1. Black gram (muzhu ulundhu) – 1 cup (200 g)
  2. Green chillies – 3 Nos.
  3. Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  4. Shallots – 15 to 20 Nos.
  5. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs.
  6. Salt – 1 tsp
  7. Sunflower oil for deep frying

Medhu Vadai dough:

  • Wash & soak black grams for 1 hour.
  • Chop shallots & curry leaves and keep aside.
  • Strain water completely from soaked lentils.
  • In a mixer-grinder jar add green chillies & grind for 30 sec.
  • Add lentils and grind for few min.
  • Add 2 tsp water and grind into a smooth paste.
  • Transfer lentil paste to a large bowl.
  • Beat the dough with electric beater (at high speed) until it becomes fluffy & whiter (approx. 3 min).
  • Add salt, cumin seeds, chopped shallots & curry leaves and mix well.

How to prepare savoury doughnuts:

  • Heat a frying pan with oil (about 2 inch depth) in medium flame.
  • Divide lentil dough into 16 balls of equal size.
  • Place lentil ball on a greased leaf (or a plastic sheet),  make a hole through the center of ball and flatten it to form a doughnut shape.
  • Check oil by dropping a pinch of dough, if it comes up to the surface, it is ready for deep frying.
  • Turn over the leaf gently onto your hand and drop carefully into hot oil.
  • Repeat the steps #3, 4 & 5 to fry a batch of  upto 5 vadai depending on the size of pan.
  • Gently flip them to other side using frying spoon.
  • When they turn golden transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Repeat the same with rest of the dough.
  • Hot spongy delicious vadai is ready to serve.


  1. If you are making dough using wet grinder, there is no need to use electric beater.
  2. We can use groundnut oil instead of sunflower oil, but sesame oil is not recommended for deep frying.
  3. We need to fry vadai constantly in medium flame without adjusting the flame.
  4. You may add finely chopped ginger, coconut or coriander leaves.
  5. If you are offering these to deities at home, you can replace chillies with pepper and omit shallots.
  6. You may refrigerate the dough for a day or two in an air-tight container.

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