Friday, January 30, 2009

Savoury me 'Medhu Vada' !

I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.--Madam Benoit

Ok let us travel back in time, when a little girl saw the vada for the first time and thought it to be the 'chakra' of Lord Vishnu and kept rotating it on her index finger.

For those who do not know about Indian Mythology, fret not I will elucidiate.
Now as per the Hindu mythology goes, there are three main Gods--
Lord Brahma- The Creator,
Lord Vishnu- The Preserver, and
Lord Shiva- The Destroyer.

Each God has his own symbolic refrence, like Brahma is associated with the lotus flower, Shiva with snakes entwined around his neck and Vishnu who carried his ever-rotating "sudarshana chakra" on the index finger of his right hand. This chakra is used to demolish demons and their empire, who wrong the humans living on Earth.

If I have to describe it...its like a thorny elleptical ring with a hollow in the centre; and which rotates on the index finger of Lord Vishnu. Imagine rotating a key chain with your index finger.

Ok fast forward to present times. The little girl is me, and till today every time I see a 'medhu vada' I have to beat this urge to pick it up and rotate it with my finger.

Then when my tete-a-tete with the famous(or infamous) American doughnut happened. I was immediately reminded of the medhu vada.

My husband is a big fan of all south-indian delicacies; but sadly this does not top the list of my favourite cuisines. At max I can have an utthapam that too with ketchup and only sambhar, no coconut chutney for me please.

I know all south-indian foodies out there would be cursing me as eating utthapam with ketchup is a crime. Please forgive me! I am all about spicy food with no trace of coconut in my savoury dishes...I love sweets made with coconut though.
(However that does not mean that you will not find dishes from this cuisine at my blog, I love my hub and will make it because he likes it and yes, I eat it too. I don't dislike it...just not a big fan.)

The region of southern India itself has a number of cuisines.Chettinand is one of the numerous style of cooking that southern India has.

Chettinad cuisine hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu, India—it is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India.

Although the Chettiars are well known for their delicious vegetarian preparations, their repertoire of food items is famous and includes all manner of fish and fowl and meats, as well as delicate noodle-like dishes and carefully preserved sun-dried legumes and berries that the Chettiar ladies make into curries. Oil and spices are liberally used in cooking and most dishes have generous amounts of peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, green and red chilies, etc

I made this Medhu Vada, with a little variation, as I added bengal gram to the otherwise black gram lentil (skinless) recipe alongwith rice flour for added crispness.

Chana Dal Medhu Vada
(Savoury fried lentil doughnuts)

1 cup bengal gram dal/chana dal,soaked overnight
1 tbsp black gram lentil (skinless)/urad dal,soaked overnight
2 tbsp rice flour
4-5 tbsp coriander/cilantro,finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp carom seeds/ajwain
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tamarind paste/imli
1/2 tsp root ginger powder/sonth
a pinch of baking soda
salt to taste

oil to deep/shallow fry


First, in a heavy duty blender, grind the soaked bengal gram and black gram lentil.

In a bowl, add this ground paste with the rest of the ingredients (except oil); to make a thick paste...almost like that of a cake batter.

Wet your hands. Take one tablespoon of this batter and place it on the (wet)palm of your other hand. Make a hollow in the center of this spoonful of batter, to make it look like a ring(doughnut). Drop it in hot oil and fry on medium heat.

Note:The oil should be hot, but not smoking.

I shallow fried mine,to make it healthier without compromising on taste.

This goes out to RCI: Chettinadu Vegetarian Cuisine event being held at Few MinuteWonders; the original concept of Lakshmik(of Veggie Cuisine).

I also send this over to My Legume Love Affair hosted by Srivalli, the brainchild of Susan.


  1. HeHe! that's what they are really, savoury doughnuts. Mixed dal in the recipe sounds great, we always are used to Urad dal vadas, good one.

    I have one medhu vada in the draft too with a surprise, you will love it. I will post it in February at FH. Looks great there, these vadas are always welcome in Winter, I will try this with mixed dals! :))

  2. I'm glad you came by my blog -- your site is great! Amazing cooking, I'm definitely going to have to try some of your recipes some time soon. I don't know if they would turn out as good for me though... you're quite the cook.

    I'd love for you to keep reading my posts -- I'll definitely be watching yours. :)

  3. Mom used to make this all the time..minus those carom seeds..with coconut chutney n sambar it was just made me nostalgic..:)

  4. Oh, yum, savory doughnuts, those look wonderful! Thanks for sharing these!

  5. These look so good, I've never had a savory doughnut before!

  6. thats a perfect name for medhu vada...adding bengram gram dal is a different idea for me..ive always made it with only urad dal..:)

  7. If I ever visit Hong Kong (I should since I still have relatives there), I'm going to come see you and beg you to feed me! I don't know that we'll ever make this doughnut, so that would definitely be one thing I'll ask you to make for me. ;)

  8. I could easily pop a few of those!!!!Delicious!!!

  9. Savory doughnuts sound great! I enjoyed your Indian mythology lesson too :)

  10. Send me some, i love those crispy wonders anytime....

  11. Savoury doughnuts! Doughnuts bursting with flavours..yum yum!

  12. I LOVE the photos! You're making me hungry!

  13. They sound fab Navita. Even though I like to do a lot of Indian-style cooking, I've rarely come across recipes that use ajwain seeds, so I'm very interested to see this as it gives me an idea for something to do with the packet I have in the cupboard!

  14. Me neither, I have not had the chance of biting into a savor doughnut, it looks fab though.. it sure does.

  15. Never thought of rotating my vadas like vishnu chakra,looks very crisp ,my hubby is also a big fan of south Indian breakfast:)
    Do like peanuts?perhaps you could serve the uttapam with peanut chutney or ginger tomato chutney is good too:)

  16. LOL chakra! Ha ha I made yest this savory doughnut! Looks perfect

  17. Just made uzhunnu vadas yesterday..(with black grams)..Its awesome..isnt it ?

  18. This is a great and healthy alternative to sugary American doughnuts. Love it!

  19. oh my goodness!! what a creativity!! i bet this is delicious! i always wonder that doughnuts are perfect savory too!! kudos!! yum

  20. Wada looks yummy and develish with spicy chilly horns :)

  21. I love your post, and bison is buffalo meat

  22. They look soooo good!

  23. Yum, these always tempt me when I see them... my daughter bugs me for these all the time!

  24. I almost reached out for it :D Looks so yummy.

    Btw, i'm a south indian and i don't like coconut chutney :P But, i can't have ketchup with dosa/uthapam either :D

  25. Hi Navita :) interesting recipes I can find in here. Thanks for visiting my blog. Stay in touch.

  26. Hola Navita! Thanks so much for commenting in my blog and let my find out about yours this way :D.
    How interesting to know about the INdian Gods! I love mythology!!!

    Your little fried doughnuts look wonderful and tasty!

  27. Mmm. Savory lentil doughnuts. I love the combination of spices in this recipe. These look scrumptious.

  28. I love those. You are making me hungryyyy

  29. These look absolutely delicious. I would love to try them. If only I could reach through the monitor.

    And I love the quote at the start of this post. Very true ...


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