6-Step Recipe to Make Urad Dal Vada for Holi

Holi, the vibrant festival of colors, is a time for celebration, joy, and indulgence in delectable treats. Among the array of mouth-watering delicacies associated with this festive occasion, Urad Dal Vada holds a special place. These crispy, golden lentil fritters are not only a beloved snack but also a traditional offering to the gods during the Holi festivities.

Urad Dal Vada, also known as Medu Vada or Garelu, is a staple in many South Indian households and is enjoyed throughout the year. However, during Holi, these irresistible fritters take on an even more special significance, symbolizing the renewal of life and the triumph of good over evil.

If you’re looking to add a delicious and authentic touch to your Holi celebrations, this 6-step recipe will guide you through the process of making perfectly crispy and flavorful Urad Dal Vada at home.


  • 1 cup split and husked black gram (urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup rice (optional, for a crispier texture)
  • 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for soaking and grinding
  • Oil for frying

6-Step Recipe:

Step 1: Soaking the Lentils

The first step in making Urad Dal Vada is to soak the lentils. This process not only softens the lentils but also aids in their fermentation, which enhances the flavor and texture of the vadas.

  • Rinse the urad dal and rice (if using) thoroughly under running water.
  • In a large bowl, combine the urad dal, rice (if using), and enough water to cover the lentils by an inch or two.
  • Allow the lentils to soak for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.

Step 2: Grinding the Batter

Once the lentils have soaked and softened, it’s time to grind them into a smooth batter.

  • Drain the soaked lentils and rice (if using), reserving the water from soaking.
  • In a grinder or blender, add the soaked lentils, rice (if using), green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, cumin seeds, and salt.
  • Grind the mixture, adding the reserved soaking water as needed, to form a thick, smooth batter.
  • The batter should be of a dropping consistency, slightly thicker than pancake batter.
  • Transfer the batter to a large bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Allow it to ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Step 3: Tempering the Batter

Tempering the batter with spices and aromatics adds an extra layer of flavor to the Urad Dal Vada.

  • In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of oil.
  • Add a pinch of mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.
  • Add a few curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida (hing).
  • Remove the pan from heat and carefully pour the tempered mixture into the fermented batter.
  • Using a whisk or a spatula, gently mix the tempered ingredients into the batter.

Step 4: Frying the Vadas

This step is where the magic happens, and the Urad Dal Vada takes on its signature crispy texture and golden hue.

  • In a kadhai or deep frying pan, heat oil for frying. The oil should be hot enough that a small pinch of batter dropped into it sizzles instantly.
  • Wet your hands and take a lemon-sized portion of the batter.
  • Gently flatten the batter between your palms, creating a small hole in the center with your thumb.
  • Carefully slide the vada into the hot oil and fry it until golden brown on both sides.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining batter, frying the vadas in batches to avoid overcrowding.
  • Once fried, remove the vadas from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate.

Step 5: Assembling the Vadas

While Urad Dal Vada is delicious on its own, it’s often served with accompaniments that enhance its flavor and texture.

  • In a small bowl, prepare a chutney of your choice, such as coconut chutney or mint-coriander chutney.
  • Alternatively, you can serve the vadas with a tangy tamarind chutney or a spicy peanut chutney.
  • For an extra burst of flavor, prepare a simple tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dried red chilies in hot oil.
  • Pour the tempering over the hot vadas, allowing the flavors to infuse.

Step 6: Serving and Enjoying

Urad Dal Vada is best enjoyed hot, straight out of the kadhai, but it can also be savored at room temperature or even cold.

  • Arrange the crispy vadas on a serving platter, garnished with a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve the vadas with the chutney of your choice on the side, allowing your guests to dip or drizzle as desired.
  • For a traditional Holi touch, offer the vadas alongside sweet treats like gujiya or malpua, creating a perfect balance of flavors and festivities.

Urad Dal Vada is a beloved snack that transcends mere culinary indulgence. During Holi, these crispy fritters symbolize the joy and vibrancy of the festival, bringing family and friends together to celebrate the arrival of spring and the renewal of life.

Whether you’re hosting a Holi gathering or simply craving a delicious and comforting treat, this 6-step recipe will guide you through the process of making perfect Urad Dal Vada at home. Embrace the flavors, the aromas, and the traditions that make this dish a cherished part of the Holi festivities.

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