4.2/5 rating (15 votes)

Medu Vada

Savoury Lentil Doughnuts

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Marinade 2 hrs
  • Cook 20 mins
Medu Vada

Crisp doughnuts made with a spiced lentil batter. A wonderful little snack when served with a fresh chutney.

Hari says

The vada is a generic type of snack from South India and this one looks like a doughnut where the hole is a defining feature. It's made by soaking split urid lentils and spicing them up with cumin and fresh green chillies. These should be lovely and soft inside and crisp on the outside, so make sure the batter is the right consistency. Top tip - don't let the batter sit around cook these straight away.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 250g split urid dhal, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Rapeseed oil to deep fry


  1. Drain the lentils in a sieve and start to grind the cumin and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Heat the oil for frying in a kharai or wok.
  3. Place the lentils, chilli, spices, salt and ground spices into a blender and grind to a thick paste like batter almost a bit like putty. If it is too dry add a touch of water, but not too much as you do not want a watery batter.
  4. Test by dropping in little batter. If it bubbles and rises straight away then it is ready.
  5. Wet your hand and scoop up a small hand full of the mixture.
  6. Gently push a thumb hole into the centre of the vada giving it its characteristic doughnut shape.
  7. Carefully place the vada into the hot oil and cook until a golden brown colour on both sides.
  8. Remove and set on some kitchen roll.

Served with

These light crips doughnuts should be served with a sambar and a coconut chutney

Useful equipment

Go to the shop

This goes well with

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Comments (4)

  • Rebecca Wain

    Rebecca Wain

    02 December 2017 at 15:17 |
    Hi, I would love to make these but living in France don't know if I'd find split urid dhal. Can I use other types of lentils? Thank you.
    Loving the spice mix packs I bought from you.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      12 December 2017 at 20:34 |
      Hi Rebecca Sorry for the delay can you get hold of whole black lentils? These are generally made with Urid dhal you could try it with mung beans but it is generally urid (black lentils). Good to hear that you are enjoying the curry kits. Thanks so much for your feedback. Hari


  • Hari


    19 February 2015 at 09:19 |
    Hi Shahida
    It's lovely to hear that you are working through the recipes and that you are enjoying the website.
    Although I prefer to fry these you can bake them. Just grease an oven tray ready for the batter. Wet your hands and make small balls with the batter, push a hole through them and then lay them on the tray. Make sure they are spaced out so they don't spread it to one another. Bake them for 10 -15 minutes then turn them and bake for 10-15 mins.
    I will be doing live classes on google hangouts very soon so keep an eye out on the site and I will let you know when the next one is.
    Thank you so much for your support and please let me know how the dish comes out. Hari


  • Shahida


    19 February 2015 at 04:38 |
    Hi Hari,

    I have just discovered your website and videos. I love your video/delivery style - and you make it look so easy and delicious so thank you! I am working my way through your recipes but I am just wondering if I can bake these instead - Do you think baking them as 'muffins' in a muffin tin may work?

    Thank you,

    PS. Do you host cooking classes or could you recommend any Indian cooking classes in London?


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