Dahi Vada | Ginger Vada / Allam Garelu | Plain Vada

Vada or Medu Vada is a popular South Indian high protein and gluten-free breakfast / snack. These donut shaped lentil fritters are soft and fluffy from inside yet crispy on the outside. Vada is also called garelu in telugu. Vadas are made with urad dal (black lentils). These delicious vadas are traditionally paired with Sambar and Coconut Chutney. Vadas are comforting, filling and satisfying. Serve them as breakfast or snack. In South India, Vadas are also available as pairs like Idli vada or vada pongal.

Basic Vada is made with just urad dal, water and salt. To flavor them, ingredients like cilantro, pepper, onions, curry leaves, ginger, green chillies are used. At home we do not add any other ingredients if making it for naivedyam. My mom used to offer these vada to goddess Lalitha during fridya pooja and during whole 9 days of Navrathri / Dussehra fesital.

I especially like serving the crispy, fluffy vada or garelu the traditional way: dunked in hot sambar with coconut chutney by the side. But if you are pressed for time, simply serve with coconut chutney or roasted chickpea chutney. This popular, satisfying meal that is also called sambar vada with coconut chutney is very famous all over India. It tastes awesome, so is loved by many.

In this recipe,

Plain vada – I used jeera/cumin in the batter.

For ginger vada – I added ginger, green chillies, cilantro, jeera, and curry leaves.

Dahi Vada – Grind cilantro, green chillies, salt, ginger together to make paste. Beat some yogurt and add this ground paste to flavor the yogurt, add salt as needed. Make a seasoning, add turmeric at the end and add this seasoning to the yogurt. Mix everything well and soak vadas in this yogurt for 3-4 hours at the minimum.

Keep the Vada batter aside for 1-2 hours, then make vada. But if you are pressed for time, make vada immediately after grinding the batter.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

How to make Vada







Batter Ingredients

  • Urad dal (black gram) – 1.5 cups
  • Salt – 1 to 1.25 tsp


  1. Rinse urad dal 3 times and soak dal in about 5 cups of fresh water for at least 5 hours or overnight. If you do not have time, soak it for 3 hours, but the texture would not be same.

2. Discard the water from the dal & give a good rinse one more time then drain the water completely from soaked dal.

3. Grind urad dal to smooth paste using very little water. Add 1 tsp salt while grinding. I have used wet grinder, mixer grinder can also be used. (see tips for mixer grinder).

4. The batter should be thick and use very little water. The texture should not be too smooth(there is a chance of vada to pop in the oil and hot oil splashes may be on the face or neck) keep it very fine rough texture.

5. Transfer it to a bowl. If the batter is too thick you can add little water. (batter in wet grinder needs more water than mixie grinder). Add pinch of baking soda. MIx well.

Plain Vada

  1. Use the batter above directly to make plain vada. You may just add cumin seeds.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium flame. Wet your palms or fingers and take a lemon size batter.

3. Flatten it and make hole in the center and slide it into the hot oil carefully.

4. Fry on both sides till it becomes golden brown in color.

5. Drain off on to a paper towel to absorb extra oil.

6. Offer it to god as naivedyam or Serve medu vada immediately with chutney and/or sambar.

Ginger Vada / Allam Garelu


  • vada batter
  • coriander – finely chopped
  • curry leaves – finely chopped
  • jeera
  • green chillies – finely chopped
  • ginger – grated or finely chopped
  • onions – optional


  1. Add finely chopped coriander, curry leaves, green chilli, grated or finely chopped ginger and 1 tsp jeera to the batter. mix it very well. Notes: If not offering to god, you may also add finely chopped onions.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium flame. Wet your palms or fingers and take a lemon size batter.

3. Flatten it and make hole in the center and slide it into the hot oil carefully.

4. The vada should float on top of oil. Make sure your oil is not too hot. otherwise the vadas would not cook evenly.

5. Fry on both sides till it becomes golden brown in color.

6. Drain off on to a paper towel to absorb extra oil.

7. Offer it to god/goddess as naivedyam. Serve medu vada immediately with chutney and/or sambar.

Dahi Vada / Perugu Vada


  • vadas – 8-10
  • yogurt – 3 cups
  • cilanto
  • green chillies – 2-3 (add more for hot taste)
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • ginger – 2″


  1. Beat 3 cups of yogurt with very little water.

2. Blend cilantro/cilantro stems, 2-3 green chillies, 2″ ginger, 1 tsp salt into a fine paste.

3. Add 1 tsp ground cilantro ginger paste to the yogurt and mix well. Check for salt and spiciness.

4. Heat a little pan, add 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp jeera, few curry leaves and 1/4 tsp turmeric.

5. Add this seasoning to the yogurt and mix well.

6. Add vadas to the yogurt and soak them for 3-4 hours for softer vada.

7. Serve vada by garninshing with either cilantro or boondi or mixture or pomegranate seeds or grated carrot.

Notes & Tips

  1. Always add salt while grinding the batter to avoid the batter becomes runny. If you add salt lastly, batter becomes runny or thin.
  2. Using mixie or blender jar: When using mixie grinder, use ice cold water to grind dal. Cold water prevents the jar from heating, and also helps the batter to be fluffy. Run the mixie in lowest speed setting to get the batter airy and fluffy. Also beat the batter for 40-50 seconds in to make batter airy. No need to beat when using wet grinder.
  3. Do not grind the batter too smooth and soft. It may cause the vada to pop in oil. Keep very little rough texture.
  4. Make sure there are no air bubbles in the batter when forming vada shape.
  5. Too thick batter also make the vada to pop open in oil.
  6. Greasy vada: If the batter is thin, then the vada will absorb too much oil during frying. But even if the batter is perfect, you need to heat the oil properly – if it is warm or not hot enough, the vada will also turn out greasy.
    • Add 1-2 tbsp rice flour and beat again to get airy batter.
  7. Hard Vada: you didn’t grind the batter enough. Soak dal atleast 5 hours to get better vada.
  8. Crispy Vada : Add pinch of baking soda in the batter to get crispy vada.

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