Keerai Medhu Vada is a fabulous variation of the world famous South Indian Medhu Vada with the tasty addition of Red Amaranth greens.
Known also as Ulundhu Vada in Tamil and Uddina Vade in Kannada, Medhu Vadas are a standard tiffin accompaniment with Idli and Sambar.
Keerai Vadas or Thandu Keerai Vadas in particular carve a special place as an evening snack in Tamil cuisine. We’ll just call them Keerai Medhu Vadas for the sake of simplicity.
Half a cup of urad dal and a handful of Amaranth leaves are all you need to make this mouthwatering snack when the craving hits.
I like to sneak in leafy greens into anything and everything from Dosas to Parathas to Pulaos. It somehow makes everything a bit more healthful. If you are like me who loves to sneak in leafy greens into anything and everything, this Keerai Medhu Vada is a perfect choice.
I have a soft spot for Red Amaranth leaves or Kempu Dantu / Kempu Dantina soppu and love to include them in our diet regularly.
While Thandu Keerai is the secret ingredient in this Vada, Green Amaranth Leaves or Palak Soppu – Spinach can also be used equally well in this recipe.
Serve them piping hot along with coconut chutney or as is along with hot filter kaapi or ginger chai and your evening snack time is perfectly taken care of.
Deep frying is an occasional thing even during normal times in our household. But, making something for our loved ones gives a feeling of celebration, especially when we put in a little extra effort. No?
These crunchy Keerai Medhu Vadas happen to be Mr K’s favorite as well as his mum’s and his maternal grand dad’s. Apparently, love for Vadas runs in our family dna. My Mom-in-law makes the best Medhu Vadas we’ve eaten. Seeing her make them with ease has been a big motivation to learn to make them by myself.
When you make these, expect to see them disappear 🙂
Tips to get the perfect crunchy vadas:
Use skinned whole ural dal preferably instead of the split urad dal. It gives more volume upon grinding.
Do not soak the Urad Dal for too long. If dal soaks too much water, vadas will soak more oil when deep fried
Including rice flour in the batter is the secret to the crisp exterior.
Adding too much rice flour will make the vada exterior hard instead of crunchy
Do not add too much water while grinding. Batter should be thick.
To check the batter consistency, drop a piece of the vada batter in a bowl of water. If it floats, you’ve got the perfect consistency
If the vada batter is not very thick, you can add some urad dal flour to fix the consistency.
When grinding small quantities of Urad dal for Vada, I prefer using the small grinder jar of the mixie.
Grind in several intermittent pulse grinding.
Since we need to grind using very less water which could lead to mixie over heating, you could use a couple of ice cubes one at a time instead of water for grinding.
For larger quantities, I grind in my Ultra stone grinder.
If you are making for the first time, this recipe is perfect as it makes just 12
Always use a smaller kadai for frying and use about 200 -250 ml of oil for frying 2-3 vadas at a time.
This way, there won’t be much leftover oil and you can finish the leftover oil by using for other recipes like Dosa, Chapathi etc
Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, Red Amaranth Medhu Vada
Makes 12-14 medium sized vadas
- 1/2 cup skinned whole urad dal
- 1-1/2 tsp rice flour
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- handful of red amaranth leaves
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh coconut pieces finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp freshly coarse ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- peanut oil for deep frying
Wash and soak skinned whole urad dal for 3 hours in clean water.
Not more than 3 hours otherwise batter will absorb more oil when deep fried.
In the meanwhile, clean Amaranth leaves and wash and rinse well. Towel dry
After 3 hours, grind the soaked urad dal with few tsp of water to be a thick smooth batter.
Drop a tiny piece of the vada batter in a small cup of water. If the batter floats, you've got the perfect consistency
meanwhile, chop the onion, amaranth leaves and coconut pieces
Pour oil into an iron kadai and let it begin to heat up
Add all the chopped ingredients to the batter
Season the batter with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add the rice flour and ginger paste or grated ginger and mix well several times to make batter light and fluffy
when the oil seems hot and shimmering, drop a small piece of batter to check. if the batter rises to the top, oil is ready for frying
Keep a wide bowl of water nearby
Dip your four fingers in water. Pinch off a small ball of batter and press it with your thumb to flatten and shape it and make a hole in the center.
if you cannot shape the vada with one hand, you can do so on a piece of wet banana leaf
Slide off the vada batter into the kadai.
Deep fry on medium heat on both sides until golden brown
Remove the fried vada using a slotted ladle and Strain off onto a paper towel
Repeat with remaining batter
serve it hot off the stove
Tastes best when fresh
Taste check after the first frying the first vada and adjust for seasoning as needed.
Plain urad dal batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before frying
You can add thinly sliced green chillies as well to the batter
Spring onion can also be added
Spinach can also be used in place of Amaranth.
Read tips on how to make crunchy vadas on the post