Vadas Of Andhra Pradesh: 5 Yummy Vadas You Shouldn’t Miss

For the longest time, if anyone was to ever mention vadas around me, I would instantly conjure an image of two medu vada slathered over with coconut chutney or soaked in sambhar. It was much later that I came across different kinds of vadas that were made of many different kinds of ingredients like chana dal, chillies, rice flour etc. It is difficult to define a vada, since all of them vary so much in terms of texture, flavour, size etc. But most of them are deep-fried, and eaten as a snack, mostly with a cup of chai. South India alone is home to so many vadas that if you pick a day to try all of them, you may have to skip your lunch, dinner or both. Today, we will be taking a tour of the vadas of Andhra Pradesh.  

Much has been said about the Nizami influence that has shaped the Andhra cuisine, but Andhra Pradesh has been a melting pot of multiple cultures since time immemorial, which is visible in their food. Andhra cuisine is anything but homogenous. Besides history, the varying topography of the state has also contributed to its kaleidoscopic cuisine. But that is the discussion for some other day. For now, let’s begin the drool-fest with these delish vadas. 

1. Punugulu

Punugulu or Punukulu is an ubiquitous snack of Andhra Pradesh that are common across south India. They are small, bite-sized vadas made with idli-dosa batter. They are crispy from outside with a lovely glaze, but equally spongy from inside. It is also best paired with coconut or spicy tomato chutney, or with a little bit of podi or gun powder (a dry chutney).  

2. Garelu

It would not be wrong to call Garelu a close cousin of Medu Vada. But unlike Medu Vada, it is much spicier and edgier in comparison. Made with an urad dal batter, it comprises a whole of ginger, green chillies and curry leaves, making it one hot treat you simply cannot refuse.  

3. Thapala Chekkalu

These are flat, crispy, tantalising vadas made with dal, rice, onions, curry leaves and chilli. Drooling yet? So are we.  

4. Gunta Punugulu

Made from rice and dal batter, this vada is also mildly seasoned with spices and made on a half sphere-shape pan. This is a pan, where the base has multiple cavities in which the batter is poured, and once they are fried, they are demoulded and appear like tiny spheres.  

5. Saggubiyyam Punugulu

Across South India, you would find that tapioca or sago enjoys immense popularity, as opposed to North India, where it is more popular as a ‘vrat food’. Tapioca is used to make chips, kheer, biryani. The Vadas made from Sago is known as Saggubiyyam Punugulu in Andhra Pradesh, it has an inimitable crispness to it, but the interior is so soft, you won’t be able to stop at one. 

Isn’t this a fascinating list. How many of the vadas have you tried or would like to try. Do let us know.