Ulundu Vadai / Black Gram Fritters

Ulundu vadai with Coconut sambol on a Table

I am going to show you an easy way to enjoy a super-food bean in your diet. Introducing: the underrated gram.. the Black gram. This is also known as Ulundu, Undu. The scientific name is: Vigna Mungo. This wonder is loaded with nutrients like Protein, Calcium, Iron, Potassium to name a few. Growing up, this Gram has been used to make many kinds of food in my household. But, the many benefits of this nutritious ingredient was never discussed as it is something that was passed down from generation to generation, and consuming it was the norm and staple.

Childhood memories are lingering more in my mind these days, as we are all taking a pause from our usual lifestyle due to the COVID-19 lock-down. So going back to reminisce the simple, deep rooted past is my current bliss.

I am sharing an easy recipe that uses the Black Gram, my mom used to make as a Tea-time snack. It is so good it can be made very quickly. But it just need a bit of prepping: but is simple as soaking the Black gram in water for 2 to 3 hours.

When you buy Black Gram at the market, it is available in two forms. The whole bean: which is black in color, and the split one which is white in color. I prefer to buy the split gram. This is already skinned. Its easy to clean; and I feel that it soaks quicker too.

Growing up, I only remember eating this Vadai, as-it-is with a hot cup of Ceylon Tea. But nowadays, I prefer to have it with a side of Coconut Sambol.

This recipe calls for Green Chilies. Even though my kids eat spicy food, I don’t want them to be overwhelmed with the hotness with Green Chili in their bite. I typically keep aside some batter without mixing in the Chili, or I will totally omit Green Chili from the batter. It still works great.

Ulundu Vadai / Black Gram Fritters

Serves 4-6 | Prep Time 3 hrs | Cook time 20 mins


  • 2 cups of split Black Gram
  • 1 medium sized Onion
  • 2 – 3 Green Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fennel seed
  • 10-12 leaf of Curry leaves
  • Oil to fry
  • Salt to taste

Method :

  • In a medium bowl soak the split Black Gram in water for 2-3 hrs.
  • Grind the Gram to a fine paste.
  • Chop the Onion,Green Chili, Curry Leaves and add to the batter along with the Fennel Seeds.
  • Heat the oil in a Pan.
  • Wet your hand with water, and pick up some batter, enough to make a golf-ball-sized ball. Flatten it in your palm, make a hole in the middle using your finger to make it look like a doughnut, and drop it carefully in the hot oil.
  • In about 2-3 mins: flip to the other side and cook. Once both sides are cooked through and colored a light brown: take it out and drain it in a paper towel.


  • When grinding the Black Gram: use the food processor as this batter need to be dry. If you are using a blender, you can sprinkle some water just to help it grind. Do NOT pour water and blend, if you do so: the batter will be too runny in the end, and when you fry: the Vadai / Fritter will start to absorb oil.
  • To test if you got the right consistency for your batter: take a bowl of water and drop a dollop (tiny ball) of batter into it, and if the batter-ball floats to the top, you got the perfect mix. If the batter ball sinks to the bottom, your batter is too thick so; sprinkle some water to your batter batch, mix and test again.
  • Pick a pan where you have room to deep fry the Vadai / Fritter. It should have a deep bottom.
  • Even though this recipe calls for a deep fry, I prefer to use just enough oil, to submerge the Vadai / Fritter. It’s like, an in between a shallow fry and a deep fry.
  • While frying: make sure to not over-crowd the pan. In a medium-sized pan, 4-5 Vadai / Fritter will have plenty of room to float around and fry.
  • Keep a small bowl of water close to the frying station, to lightly wet your palm so you don’t need to run to the sink in between batches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *