Vadai Lovers, Anyone? (Ulundhu Vadai (Urad Dal Vada) Recipe)

What is crunchy outside, softy inside and doesn’t have MSG? It’s our traditional Ulundhu vadai. 😉 Our ancestors were geniuses. They applied science in everything. Not only in Religion, also in everyday cooking. What you make for a day? Why you make it? and how you make it? Everything has hidden reasons. Hey, I heard you, “Why this much hype for Vadai?”. I tell you.

This Ulundhu Vadai, though it’s a deep fried snack, is easy for your stomach. You can eat countless, no harm (only if they are homemade). But how?

Just like every other traditional food of our land, we add medicinal ingredients in the name of spices. Chopped ginger and whole peppercorns are added to the batter of vadai, that cancels any harm that oil can do to you. Besides, the Urad Dal being rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fible and EFA, homemade vadai is a power food for your kid. Now say, all the hype is worth it? 🙂

When I speak of vadai, an incident always flashes in my mind and leaves a smile on my lips.

Just after our marriage we moved to Bahrain. And that’s when I started to learn and experiment cooking. That day I was trying to make Ulundhu vadais for the very first time. Disasters happen you know. That too first time. I couldn’t make a hole in the centre which is supposed to be. I tried again and again and finally gave up. I mean, I fried them as small balls. But taste, perfect. I still have the picture in my back up drive. Have a look at those innocent baby vadais. 😀


I served those balls in the name of vadais. He couldn’t control laughing. “This you call vadai? Oh please give it some other name. “, “You can’t even make Ulundhu vadai. God Save me”. He was making all the fun, meanwhile nicely swallowing the balls. Because they were really delicious but for the wrong shape.

Within two or three days, we visited one of our authentic Tamil restaurants there. He ordered Vadais for him. They came. Big, perfectly round and most importantly, with a hole in centre. And as expected he was in all praise of it. “Wow, this is Vadai. Perfect shape and size. I never knew I could get such a perfect vadai in Bahrain”. I was just keeping mum. And, it all lasted only till he tasted it. Because it was so hard, tasteless, can’t be called a Vadai at all. He was struggling to swallow it. Now that I can see it all in his face, though he tried to hide, I started laughing. I said, “See, what matters more is the taste, not the shape.” I still remember his face trying to hide the acceptance of the fact. 😀

Then I learned the trick how to make hole. Even when sometimes the shape is not so perfect, my husband never comments about it. Lesson learnt, right?

Now, the one’s I made today,


And the recipe for you,

Soaking Time : 3 hrs

Prep Time : 20 mins

Cooking Time : 10 mins


  • Urad Dal, whole, without skin – 1 cup
  • Onion – 2, big, chopped
  • Green chillis – 2
  • Ginger chopped – 2 Table spoons
  • Whole peppercorns – 1 Table spoon
  • Curry leaves chopped – 4 Table spoons
  • Salt to Taste
  • Oil to deep fry.


  • Soak Urad dal for not less than 3 hours.
  • After 3 hrs, drain the excess water and put the dal into a wet grinder. If you don’t have a wet grinder, use mixer grinder or food processor.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of water and start grinding it. Sprinkle some water then and there and check for the right consistency. The batter should be litlle thicker than the Idli batter. (Next time I’ll upload a pic of it, sure)
  • When you feel the batter is smooth and got the right consisteny, take it in a vessel, add salt and all the chopped ingredients to this batter.
  • Immediately fry them, because after you add onions and salt, the batter tend to go loose.
  • Heat oil in a deep fry pan.
  • Now, to make a hole in the centre, keep water in a small bowl nearby. Take around half a  handful of batter. While keeping it in your hand, dip your thumb in the bowl of water.
  • Now, using that wet thumb, make a hole, bigger than the size you want to get finally.
  • Now slowly flip your hand upside down, letting this slide into the hot oil.
  • Keep the flame medium low, all over frying. Fry them in golden brown as you see here in these pictures.
  • Serve with Sambar or Chutney or Both.



  • Did you notice that I wrote, ‘Sprinkle the water then and there’. Because there is really a chance that the batter goes watery, if you add water in spoons. Besides, when you sprinkle, grind and repeat,  you will see the batter raising up, while grinding. That means you are gonna get a real crunchy and soft Vadais. Some say we need to add a table spoon of rice flour to the batter to get crunchy vadais. I never had to do that because of this water sprinkling trick.
  • Keep the flame always in medium low, otherwise the vadais will get burnt on the outside even before they get cooked well inside.

Sambar Vadais, Anyone? 😉


Happy Cooking!!! Take Care!!!




4 thoughts on “Vadai Lovers, Anyone? (Ulundhu Vadai (Urad Dal Vada) Recipe)

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments Divya. Yes, i make them because this is a fun way to make my son get some protein. Try them out. Just keep a note of the tricks I’ve shared here. I’m sure you will get those perfect vadais too.


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