Vada (Tamil:வடை Kannada: ವಡೆ, Telugu: వడ, Tulu: ವಡೆ, Malayalam: വട, Sinhala: වඩේ), also known as wada or vade or vadai or Bara (pronounced "vah-daa", "vah-dey", or "vah-die"), is a savoury fritter-type snack from South India.[1]


Vada can vary in shape and size, but are usually either doughnut- or disc-shaped and are about between 5 and 8 cm across. They are made from dal, lentil, gram flour or potato.

Vada is a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity.[2] Although they are commonly prepared at home, vadas are as well a typical street food in the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka. They are usually a high calorie morning food, typically about 300 Kcal each, but in street stalls and in railway stations, as well as inside the Indian Railways, they are available as a snack all day.


Vadai, pronounced 'Wah-da', is a traditional food preparation from southern India. They are typically deep-fried in oil and served with savoury accompaniments.

There are two types of vada - Paruppu vada made from chana dal (split de-husked black chickpeas), and Ulundu vada made from urad dal (de-husked black lentils.) Sliced green chillies, curry leaves and onion are also mixed into the batter, and ulundu vadai batter contains rice in addition to these. While paruppu vadai is circular and slightly flat, ulundu vadai is wheel-shaped with a hole in the middle. Ulundu vadai is bland and usually enjoyed with chutney or sambar.

File:Preparation of vada in a street shop near Chikkalsandra, Bannashankari, Bangalore.webm


The general way of preparing vadai is to make a paste or dough with gram flour or mashed or diced potatoes and/or dal lentils. This mixture is subsequently seasoned by mixing with black mustard seeds, onion, curry leaves, which are sometimes previously sauteed, and salt, chilies and/or black pepper grains. Often ginger and baking soda are added to the seasoning.[3] The individual vadas are then shaped and deep-fried. Certain types of vadai are covered in a gram flour batter before frying.

Although battered and deep-fried, the finished product should not be too oily if prepared correctly, since steam build-up within the vadai pushes all oil away from within the vadai.


Vada is typically and traditionally served along with a main course such as Dosa, Idli, or Pongal. Nowadays it is also ordered as an À la carte item but is never the main course and is had as a light snack or on the side of another dish and usually not separately as a meal. Vadas are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy and is served with a variety of dips ranging from Sambar to chutney to curd.


The main vada types are:

  • Uddina vade (Kannada ಉದ್ದಿನ ವಡೆ), Ullundhu vada (Tamil: உளுந்து வடை; Malayalam: ഉഴുന്നു വട Uzhunnu vada), Medhu vada, made with Urad dal (black gram) flour. This vada is shaped like a doughnut, with a hole in the middle (i.e. an approximate torus). It is the most common vada type throughout North and South India.[4]
  • 'Masala Vade' (Kannada : ಮಸಾಲ ವಡೆ), 'Masala Vada' (Telugu) 'Paruppu vadai' (Tamil: பருப்பு வடை; Malayalam: പരിപ്പ് വട). A dal vadai whose main ingredient is toor dal. It is made with the whole lentils and is shaped roughly like a flying saucer. This type of vadai is also called aamai vadai (Tamil ஆமை வடை, or "turtle" vadai) in Tamil Nadu.[5]

Other types of vada are:

  • Maddur vade (Kannada: ಮದ್ದೂರು ವಡೆ) is a type of onion vadai unique to the state of Karnataka. It is very popular in Maddur district of Karnataka and has a very different taste from any other vadas. This is typically larger than other vadai types, flat, crispy (to the point of breaking when flexed) and having no hole in the middle.
  • Ambode, made from 'split chickpeas without the seed coat' i.e. 'kadale bele' in Kannada.
  • Mosaru Vade(Kannada:ಮೊಸರು ವಡೆ), Thayir Vadai (Tamil: தயிர் வடை), Hindi Dahi Vada, made by cooking a vadai normally, and then serving the vadai in a mix of yogurt and spices).
  • EruLLi bajji (Kannada:'ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಬಜ್ಜಿ’) (Vengaaya vadai (Tamil:'வெங்காய வடை')(Malayalam:'Uli vada'), made with onion. It is roughly round-shaped, and may or may not have a hole in the middle.
  • Masala vada, a softer less crisp vada.
  • Rava vada, vada made of semolina.
  • Bonda, or Batata vadai, made with potatoes, garlic and spices coated with lentil paste and fried; this form is used in vada pav. In some regions, a Bonda is considered a distinct snack food, and is not held to be a type of vada.
  • Sabudana vada is another variety of vada popular in Maharashtra, made from Pearl Sago.
  • Thavala vada, a vada made with different types of lentils.
  • Keerai Vada (Spinach Vada) is made with spinach-type leaf vegetables along with lentils.
  • Vada pav, A vadai served in a bun (known as a pav) with chutney is known as a vada pav, a common street food in Maharashtra, especially in Bombay.
  • Keema Vada, A vada made from minced meat, typically smaller and more crisp than other vadai types with no hole in the middle.

Bhajani Cha Vada: Vadai made from a flour made from Bajri, Jawar, Wheat, Rice, Channa Dal, Cumin, Coriander Seeds Etc. A speciality of Maharashtra, very nutritious too:


See also


External links

  • Various varieties of Vadai
  • One Page Cookbook - Vadai
  • Recipes of Vadai