Ulli Vada recipe with step by step pics. Ulli Vada are crisp and crunchy onion fritters which are popular as a street food snack in Kerala. Since all the ingredients used in this simple, homely preparation are plant-based, this recipe is vegan too. This one is also a nice South Indian twist to the usual North Indian Onion Pakora or the Maharashtrian Kanda Bhaji. Try it, you’ll definitely love it.

ulli vada served in a blue rimmed white plate with a small bowl of tomato ketchup kept on the top right side and text layovers.

During our visit to Kerala in one of the hotels we stayed, Ulli Vada used to be one of their regular evening snacks with tea.

Onion fritters are a popular tea time snack all over India and they are made in various ways. I have also shared another South Indian variation of Vengaya Bhaji recipe, in which the onions are cut in rings, batter coated and deep fried. 

The taste and texture of Ulli Vada is different from the regular classic Onion Pakoda. What makes this Ulli Vada special is the fact that these are crispier than their North Indian counterpart, because of the use of rice flour in them.

The ingredients that go in this Ulli Vada are quite minimal and the basic ones, for which you will not have to run store to store to source the ingredients. In addition to the onions and gram flour (besan), other ingredients of this recipe are rice flour, asafoetida, red chili powder and curry leaves.

Ulli Vada can be served with coconut chutney or green chutney or tomato ketchup or mint chutney or any green chutney of your choice. The recipe can be easily scaled as per your needs.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Ulli Vada Recipe

1. Peel, rinse and then thinly slice 1 large onion. You will need 1.25 cups of thinly sliced onions. Take the sliced onions in a mixing bowl.

making ulli vada recipe

2. Add ½ cup besan (gram flour) and 2 tablespoons rice flour.

making ulli vada recipe

3. Now add 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing) and ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder.

making ulli vada recipe

4. Next add 10 to 12 curry leaves (chopped) and salt as required.

making ulli vada recipe

5. Mix very well and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

making ulli vada recipe

6. The onions will leaves their juices by this time and the vada mixture will be soft. Mix again. If the batter mixture looks dry, then add a few teaspoons of water and mix well.

making ulli vada recipe

Frying Ulli Vada

7. Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. When the oil becomes hot, keep the heat to medium and drop spoonfuls of the batter carefully into the oil.

making ulli vada recipe

8. Begin to fry onion vada on a medium heat.

making ulli vada recipe

9. When one side is light golden, then turn over using a slotted spoon and fry the other side.

making ulli vada recipe

10. Continue to fry till the ulli vada turn crisp and golden.

making ulli vada recipe

11. Turn over as required while frying.

making ulli vada recipe

12. Once the ulli vada are crisp and golden, remove with a slotted spoon draining the extra oil.

ulli vada recipe

13. Place the fried onion vada on kitchen paper towels for extra oil to be absorbed. In a similar way fry the remaining batches of ulli vada.

ulli vada recipe

14. Serve Ulli Vada hot with any chutney of your choice like coconut chutney or pudina chutney or mint coriander chutney.

Kerala ulli vada recipe

More Tasty Pakora Recipes

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ulli vada recipe, onion vada recipe

Ulli Vada | Onion Vada

Ulli vada are crisp and crunchy onion fritters. Popular as a street food snack in Kerala.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 40 mins

Prevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe

making ulli vada batter

  • Peel, rinse and then thinly slice 1 large onion. You will need 1.25 cups thinly sliced onions. Take the sliced onions in a mixing bowl.

  • Add ½ cup besan (gram flour) and 2 tablespoons rice flour.

  • Now add 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing) and ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder.

  • Next add 10 to 12 curry leaves (chopped) and salt as required.

  • Mix very well and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • The onions will leaves their juices by this time and the vada mixture will be soft. Mix again. If the batter mixture looks dry then add a few teaspoons of water and mix well. 

frying ulli vada

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a pan. When the oil becomes hot, keep the flame to medium and drop spoonfuls of batter in the oil.

  • Begin to fry ulli vada on a medium flame.

  • When one side is light golden, then turn over and fry the other side.

  • Continue to fry till the vada turn crisp and golden.

  • Turn over as required while frying.

  • Once the ulli vada are crisp and golden, remove with a slotted spoon.

  • Place the fried onion vada on kitchen paper towels for extra oil to be absorbed. In a similar way fry the remaining batches of ulli vada.

  • Serve kerala style ulli vada hot with any chutney of your choice.

  • You can add a bit of carom seeds (ajwain) if you want.
  • Green chilies can also be added. 
  • Some finely chopped ginger can also be added in the batter. 
  • The recipe can be halved or doubled. 
  • No need to add water while making ulli vada batter. Add water only if the batter mixture looks dry.
  • You can use any neutral flavored oil for frying.

Nutrition Facts

Ulli Vada | Onion Vada

Amount Per Serving

Calories 556 Calories from Fat 486

% Daily Value*

Fat 54g83%

Saturated Fat 5g31%

Sodium 13mg1%

Potassium 129mg4%

Carbohydrates 14g5%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 3g6%

Vitamin A 195IU4%

Vitamin C 73.8mg89%

Calcium 26mg3%

Iron 0.9mg5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Ulli Vada post from the archives, originally published in July 2017 has been updated and republished on January 2023.



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