I want to introduce you to a new kid in town that will seriously impress you.
Step aside donut and cronut (croissant and donut pastry) and make way for the Indian savoury donut known as ‘medu vada’. These savoury delicacies look very similar to their saccharin cousins the donut, but are filled with lots of wonderful spices instead of sugar.
They are really fun to make and you can add your own twists to make them your own. They are a little bit naughty in that they are fried, but hey a little bit of fried deliciousness now and again is absolutely fine in books. They are made of urad dal – the white dal you can easily find in any Asian grocers- that is soaked for at least 3 hours and then blended to form a soft fluffy paste.
My daughters find them equally irresistible so they really are a treat for the whole family. They are typically eaten in southern India and Sri Lanka either at breakfast time or as a snack with a coconut chutney or possibly a dal or sambal. I could quite happily eat them for my breakfast but more often then not I make them for an afternoon snack with a cup of warming tea.
They are crispy on the outside and have a soft texture on the interior.
My recipe makes around 13 little donuts, but if you want to make more just double up on the ingredients. There are no set rules here other than not making the dough too wet.
Medu Vada – Indian Savoury Donuts
175g white urid dal
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
12 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional)
1 green/red fresh chilli finely chopped (optional)
- Soak the white urid dal in a bowl covered with water for at least 3 hours.
- Strain the dal and place into a blender. Blend and if needed add literally a tsp at a time of water to loosen it slightly. Do not over water. You want it to have the same consistency as a fluffy light dough.
- Place the lentil dough into a large bowl and with your hand lift the dough, folding it over so that it gets air into it about 15 times.
- Add all the ingredients and mix well with your hands or a spoon.
- Heat a pan with cooking oil and when it is hot wet one of your hands and create a small ball (a little larger than a golf ball) and then place your thumb in the centre to create a hole through the dough. Then gently loosen the dough off your hand and place into the hot oil. Be careful when doing this as the movement from placing the dough into the pan and removing your hand needs to be super quick.
- Place a few donuts in the pan at once and leave them to bronze on one side for a couple of minutes, before turning them over with a slotted spoon for another couple of minutes.
- You are looking to get a yellowy bronze hue as opposed to brown, so be careful to watch them closely.
- Remove them from the pan and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
- Continue to make the rest.
- If you are planning to serve them as a snack when friends come over simply place them in a preheated oven that has subsequently been turned off. They should stay warm for a good hour.
They are perfect to eat with a chutney, dal or sambal (see links in the body of my post).
- I often don’t add chilli so that all my family can comfortably eat them. For those who like the chilli kick, you can serve them with a hotter chutney, which keeps all parties happy.