Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ulli Garelu - Medu Vadai (Lentil Dumplings)

No festive meal is complete without the classic dish 'garelu' or 'garellu' in most Andhra homes,be it for Sankranti,Ugadi,Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali. Infact during Sankranti,our major harvest festival,on Kanumu day,the sons-in-law of the family are treated to delectable delicacies and one savoury dish prepared is garellu served with meat curry , sambar and coconut chutney.
South Indian Tiffins boast of a variety of Vadas or Garelu like Medu Vada,Masala Vada,Parappu Vadai,Ulundu Vadai or Thayir Vadai or Perugu Garellu or Dahi Bhalla(a North Indian style vada smothered in yogurt and tamarind sauce).What ever their name,the vadas or garelu with a crispy and crunchy exterior and a soft and fluffy inside are sure to delight your pallets.Garellu (Lentil Dumplings) are prepared with whole black gram lentil batter.When chopped onions and green chillis are added to the batter,the prepared dumplings are called 'Ulli Garellu'.(ulli means onion in telugu)


1 1/2 cup whole urad dal (black gram dal,minappappu)
1 tbsp raw rice
2" ginger very finely chopped
2-3 green chillies very finely chopped
1 big onion finely chopped
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Soak whole black gram dal and 1 tbsp raw rice for 5-6 hours.
Strain the water from the dal and grind to a paste sprinkling little water and salt.Dont grind all the dal at once,use small portions to grind batch wise as its easier to grind into a soft paste.Add salt while grinding to a fluffy paste.
Then add chopped onions,finely chopped ginger and green chillies to the batter and mix well.

Take a deep frying vessel and add enough oil for deep frying and the oil should be really hot.
Wet your hands with water and take a lemon sized ball and flatten it into a vada on a greased sheet or banana leaf.
Make a hole in the centre of the vada or gare so that it cooks evenly all over.

Slowly drop it into the hot oil carefully and fry it on both sides on medium heat to a golden brown colour.
Serve hot with chicken curry or mutton kurma, sambar or coriander chutney.
Now head to your kitchens and make this 'tiffin with a hole' which is sure to give your tastes buds a delectable treat.
The recipe for Medu Vadai is the same as above ...the other additions to the ground black gram dal batter along with green chillis and ginger are 1 tsp of pepper corns,few curry leaves and 1/4 tsp asafoetida (medu vada recipe doesnt call for onions).



Ashwini said...

Wow, I love south Indian tiffin items. I used to try going to Shantisagar every week when in Bangalore :-) You must cover everything!

Lera said...

This one is sure to win over hearts of many foodies like me..sailu it looks delicious.

Santhi said...

Hi Sailu,

Have been silent observer till now.
Time to leavea comment now.
Great Job and fantastic recipes.
I am a newbie to food blogging world and still trying to absorb everything around. :):)


Santhi said...


Forgor asking you if it is OK to link u in my blog.


sailu said...

Ashwini,our traditional tiffins are classic recipes handed down to us through generations and its not easy getting it all right the first time.Trial and error and loads of practice makes the preparation perfect ..hopefully..:)
I am trying to cover most tiffins I prepare at home which I learnt from my ammamma,amma and a few friends.

No one resist tiffin items,Lera.

Thanks so much for dropping by,Shanti,and your kind words.Sure link to my blog and I have you linked to mine too,btw.

Shilpa said...

Hi Sailu,
I love medu vadai. I will try this one, I used to do it a little diffrent. Thanks for the recipe.

Fran said...

This sounds wonderful--love lentils. Not familiar with urad dal :(

Kay said...

Sailu, I start making vadas and end up making bondas ;) I somehow, can't seem to flatten it, leave alone make a hole in it. LOL.

Your vada looks yummy!

Zoubida said...

This is fascinating cuisine Sailu and you make it sound so simple and straighforward. I have ural dal but exhausted all of my rice stock. I'll try to make the boys and their cousin who is visiting for a week to behave tomorrow at the Indian store where I'll buy some plus other things to finally try few recipes of yours.
I'm impressed at how healthy your treats are.
I meant to tell you this before and this Ulli Garely recipe reminded me to do so. They look like the unhealthy and heavy doughnuts we have in North-America (sugar, white flour, artery clogging fats by the loads) but are the opposite health wise, featuring excellent food stuff as ingredients.
This will make for a lengthy comment and I'm sorry about that but I *have* to tell you I read about the tradition of treating the sons in law of the family with delicacies in a book about the Rani of Jansi and her leading action against the British occupation in 1857. In that book by celebrated french author and historian Michel de Grèce, I learned a lot about Indian traditions and day to day life (through the life of the Rani after she lost both her kingdom and her wealth to the British). I remember well the passage where this tradition you mention was described.
Ok, enough said. I'll make these for sure.

Meenal Mehta said...


Iam a major fan of south indian cooking , gimme these vadas and ready to overlook the fact that they are fried. they look "other wordly"

I tired commenting on the uttapams but my system kept messing up and so I couldnt .

to comment on those , they are a visual delight

sailu said...

Do try it,Shilpa.

Fran,its called Whole Black Gram Lentil and is available in most Indian grocery stores.

Kay,its practice,practice and more practice..:).I used to make them like bondas initially but with practice I have been able to bring them to a doughnut shape.

Zoubida,how nice to know that you share an interest with me in History..:)especially the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.Rani Jhansi Bai is one of the most admired and valant woman warriors who fought for India's freedom from British rule.
The boys will love these lentil doughnuts for sure and ask for more..:)

Meenal,these vadas really dont absorb a lot of oil as most deep fried foods.You can overlook this aspect once in a while..:).I am glad you found the tiffins a visual treat.

KrishnaArjuna said...

mmmm gaarelu!! My all time favorite in breakfasts although its highly fattening :-)

Kitchenmate said...

Nice's vadas, looks soft and fluffy.Infact I was ready with a post for vadas, coincidence. will post it sometime. Keep up your work sailu. I loved your uppatapams, thought of making it for my little puppet.

a said...

Hi Sailu,

I can't keep up with you...It's been a busy day lately but I keep checking back to see what's new on your food blog and well, surprisingly you’ve made a kind of bread that looks like the American “Bagels” looks really delicious and thanks for sharing your recipe…


sailu said...

KA,once in a while its ok to relish our traditional foods without thinking of the percentage of fat in them..:)

Your lil one will love them for sure,KM.

Hey,Tin,you are one person who follows my blog regularly.It keeps me going and I appreciate it.
I guess they look the American 'doughnuts'..:)

spicehut said...


Came here seeing your comment on my blog. All the photos on your flickr are yummy...and the muffins with chocolate coating are to die for !!

Devagi Sanmugam said...

I usually put a few black peppercorns and 1 tsp of cumin seeds when grinding the urad dhal. It not gives and aromatic flavour but the taste is intensified.

sailu said...


Wow! A comment from Devagi...:)I am honoured.Thanks for dropping by my blog and your useful tip,Devagi..:)