Pepper Jeera Medhu Vadai


  • Urad dhal – 1 cup
  • Small Onion – 5 to 6 Nos
  • Black pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Jeeragam – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh ginger – a small piece
  • Salt – half teaspoon or as per taste
  • Oil – for deepy frying


  1. Soak urad dhal in water for one to two hours. Wash well and grind to a soft paste along with salt and ginger. The dough should float on water. This is the right consistency.
  2. Crush pepper and jeera to a coarse powder. Chop onion finely. Add these to the dough and mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a kadai. Take a lemon size ball and slightly flaten it and make a hole in the centre. Drop gently in the hot oil and deep fry till it becomes golden brown.


  1. Hello Maami,
    I’m Sudha from Chennai currently in the USA. I love medhu vadai. And I’ve tried it twice – one was ur pepper vadai and the other from a cookbook. Both times, I could not make the vadai shape – turned out like bonda – Even that was sticky and the dough did not leave my hand to fall into the oil. Since I’m in the US, I had to use a MIXI. My mixi could not grind the batter without any water. So, I ended up adding about more than quarter cup of water. Even then the dough was sticky, WHAT MISTAKE AM I DOING?

    • Hi Sudha,

      First of all thank you for visiting my site. Regarding vadai – (and also for Idli) – To get the correct texture batter/dough, it should be ground in a wet grinder. If you grind it in a mixie, due to heat the batter will not raise and it will be sticky only. To avoid this, use ice water for grinding. Also add a teaspoon of rice for one cup urad dhal while soaking. This will bind the dhal flour and help to make round shape. When you start grinding, first grind without water and add a teaspoon of ice water now and then and grind till the dough is soft. Also when you add salt at the end or after grinding, the dough tend to loosen. So add salt in the beginning of grinding. Still if you find the dough is loose, then put it in a clean cloth and bundle it. Extra water content will be absorbed by the cloth and you will get thick dough. This way you may get a round shape vada, but it may be slightly harder.

      You get good wet grinder in US also. Better to buy one to enjoy our South Indian food.

  2. Hi Maami,
    I’m not new to your website!! I have been here for almost 2-3 years now. I’ve made kozhukattai, poli etc. from ur recipes. They all turn out well and taste great. The vadai has always been a problem although I’ve only tried it twice so far. The 2nd time I made it, I added ice water. Still the same problem. So, grinder is the secret? I thought of trying mixi based on some other website recommendation. Yeah, we do get grinders here. But the problem is “no warranty”, or “no service incase of any problem” or “no returns” etc. I got this mixi when I came to the USA from Saravana stores. It came with US voltage plug.

  3. Hi Kamala

    How many vadas can be made from 1 cup? I need to make 25 vadas for a get together. How many cups of urad dhal I should use?


    • Hi Vibha,

      You can find Number of serving/yield in top of the recipe itself. It also depends upon the quality of dhal / grinding method (mixie or wet grinder) and size of the vadai. For this recipe, I used wet grinder and for the size shown in the picture, I got 12 vadai for one cup. For 25 vadas, you can use 2 cups (use heaped cup for safer side)

  4. Thanks Kamala for the yummy recipes 🙂
    I am novice to cooking, and I am thankful to bloggers like you who make cooking simpler!!! I am book marking your page 🙂

    I tried this recipe out, everything was perfect other than the shape of the vadai 🙁 Medhu vadai is a perfect example for the phrase “Cooking is an art”!! I am going to try this out again sometime, until i make vadai’s like in the picture 🙂 Thanks again!

  5. Hi Mam,

    i tried .. but it has become very loose, not able to make vada shape and also transfer from plastic paper to oil kadai, do you have any reason ? one slip off in process i left urad dhal soak for 6 hours, will that be a problem ?

  6. Mam, today i tried .. but it has become very loose, not able to make vada shape and also transfer from plastic paper to oil kadai, do you have any reason ? one slip off in process i left urad dhal soak for 6 hours, will that be a problem ?

    • Hi Muthu,

      The urad dhal batter should be dough like consistency and like idli batter. Moreover, for vadai the soaking time should be 1 to 2 hours. If you soak for more time, you will not get thick dough like consistency and it will also absorb more oil.

  7. hey kamala… im so crazy about cooking.. and ur site is such a delight for my eyes :D.. I TOTALLY LOVE UR RECIPES… i keep on discovering some awesome recipes from u .. my mom n sis love when i cook your recipes.. thank u so much for sharing them.. looking forward to try them all ;).. pls keep on updating and creating food magic.. love u 🙂

  8. Thank you!! Love the website !! More passionate about indian cooking!!

  9. Hi Aunty,

    I tried this vada last sunday.. I was able to get shape.But the vada was very hard. My husband was saying that ‘its not medu vada,its a hard vada’
    What could be the reason? How to get soft vadas?

    • Grinding the dhal to the right consistency is the main factor for Medhu vadai. I always prefer to grind it in a wet grinder. The dough should be very light and fluffy. If you put little dough in the water, it should float immediately on top. This is the right consistency. If you grind it in a mixie, you can use ice water for grinding.

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