Neighborhood Kitchens

Dosa Temple's Medhu Vada

Medhu Vada, or lentil doughnut, is a South Indian snack mainly consumed for breakfast. Its primary ingredient is urad dal or black gram lentils.


2 cups urad dal (polished black lentil or white lentil)
3 qt. water
1 tsp. green chili, chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ginger, chopped
1 tsp. black pepper, crushed)
1 pinch asafoetida
2 sprigs curry leaves, chopped
20 oz. soybean or canola oil
16 oz. sambar (a vegetable and lentil stew, optional)
8 oz. coconut chutney (optional)


Submerge urad dal in water and soak for 4 hours.

Strain water from beans. Put beans into a grinder or food processor to create the base for your doughnuts. If using a commercial grinder, grind for 30-40 minutes to achieve a fluffy mixture; if using a food processor, process for 5-10 minutes. While grinding, continuously add water, a cup at a time, until you get a thick, dough-like consistency. (It is important not to add too much water.)

After dough-like consistency is achieved, add green chilies, cumin seeds, chopped cilantro, chopped ginger, pepper, and salt.

Sprinkle in asafoetida.

Add chopped curry leaves.

Mix ingredients into dough with hands or with spatula.

Use a deep fryer or a skillet with ample oil to submerge your doughnuts. A deep fryer should be set at 250-270 degrees; a stovetop should be set to medium heat.

Wet hand and take a handful of batter, forming it into a ball shape. Press finger into center of ball to create a hole. It should now be shaped like a doughnut.

Gently place doughnuts into fryer/skillet and fry until evenly golden brown. (Note: If using a deep fryer, doughnuts are ready when they have floated to the top of the oil). Place them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Medhu Vada is typically served with sambar (a vegetable and lentil stew) and a side of coconut chutney.

Serves: 4 to 6

Siva Kumar

Siva Kumar is the Chef at Dosa Temple, a South Indian restaurant in Somerville's Union Square. He shared this recipe with us when he was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
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»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
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»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
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