• Whole Black gram/Urad dal/Ullundu – 1-1/2 cups washed and soaked for 2-3 hours
  • Sooji/Rava/Semolina – 3-4 tbsp
  • Whole black pepper corns – 2 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as necessary
  • Oil for deep frying – about ¾ cup or so


  1. Rinse urad dal in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak in water for 2-3 hours.
  2. Drain the soaked water and keep aside. Throw the soaked and strained urad dal in a wet grinder or mixer/mixie and grind adding the drained water little by little to get the grinder moving. Grind to a fine paste adding only as little water as necessary. The vadai batter should be light and fluffy but not runny. When the vadai batter is the right consistency, add the cumin seeds, salt and whole black pepper corns to the batter while the grinder is still running and let grind coarsely for just a minute more. Switch off. Transfer the batter to a bowl, scraping the sides and bottom of the grinder/mixer jar.
  3. Add the semolina to the batter and mix well. Taste and adjust salt.
  4. Heat oil in a kadai/skillet. Have a bowl with water handy.
  5. When the oil is hot but not smoking, wet your left palm (for right handers) with water, take a large lemon sized ball of the batter and pat on the wetted palm into a round not too flat disc. Use your index finger to put a hole in the centre of the disc. Now gently pick up the vadai with your right hand (preserving the shape of the vadai) and slide into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining batter. Fry 4-5 vadais in a batch and deep fry till golden.
  6. Flip mid-way and fry till golden on all sides. Remove onto absorbent paper.
  7. Serve hot with coconut chutney.


  • If the batter is not thick enough, the vadais tend to absorb too much oil. To correct this, add rava/semolina till you get the right consistency of batter.
  • Always fry vadais on medium-high. Frying on too low heat can also result in oily vadais.

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