Ulli Garelu – Medu Vadai (Lentil Dumplings)

Tips for making perfect!

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).

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