Dahi vada or Dahi Bhalle (in Punjabi) is a popular north indian snack and is an immensely loved recipe for festivals and special occasions. Dahi vada are dumplings or balls made from split urad dal which are deep fried and thereafter, soaked in thick whipped yoghurt.
I often make dahi vada at home during summers and also for our family get-together. They are thoroughly enjoyed at home and is finished in no time.
The North Indian Dahi vada and south Indian Dahi vada or ‘Thayir vada’ are more or less similar except that in the north Indian version the dahi vada is flavoured with sweet tamarind chutney and a combination of spices while in the south indian version the dahi/curd is tempered.
For making soft dahi vada, the urad dal has to be soaked for at least 5- 6 hours or more. After soaking, the urad dal has to be ground using as little water (1-2 tbsp) to make a thick and smooth batter.
The second thing I always do is to ferment the batter for about 4-5 hours. By fermentation the vada become very fluffy, spongy and airy. Many people just whisk the batter very well to impart fluffiness, however I feel the resulting vada by this method won’t be as spongy as the fermented one.
I usually prepare two batches of curd w.r.t their consistency – in the first batch the curd is mixed with some water and salt and its consistency is kept thin. This is especially important since the moist vadas almost soak all of this curd mixture and become soft. The second batch of curd is the thick whipped curd that is poured over the vada.
For making dahi vada, one prerequisite is to have sweet tamarind chutney in stock. I usually like to add chopped coriander, but one can also add green coriander chutney.
Ingredients for making Dahi Vada :
For preparing vada :
Split urad dal – 2 cups
ginger – 1 inch
Green chillies – 2-3
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Water – 1-2 tbsp
Oil – For deep frying
For the garnish :
Curd – 3 cups of thick curd
Cumin powder – 1 – 2 tsp (or as required)
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (or as required)
Chaat masala – 1 – 1 1/2 tsp (or as required)
Black salt/Salt – As per taste
Chopped coriander leaves – 3-4 tsp
Sweet tamarind chutney – As per taste
How to make Dahi vada (Dahi Bhalle) :
- Wash and soak 2 cups of split urad dal (lentils) in enough water for at least 5-6 hours.
- Drain the excess water and grind the dal into a smooth batter adding little to no water.
- Ferment the batter for 4-5 hours till the batter doubles its size and turns spongy.
- Grind ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies to a smooth paste.
- Add the ginger-chilli paste and asafoetida to the batter and whip it for 3-4 minutes till it turns fluffy. (You can even add raisins and chopped cashews)
- Heat enough oil in a pan.
- Wet your palms with little water and place a small amount of batter on it.
- With a wet finger make a hole in between.
- Now carefully sliding the fingers below the vada transfer the vada to the other hand.
- Transfer the vada into hot oil. If the vada has the right consistency the vada will rise up on the surface of oil after 1-2 minutes.
- Fry 4-5 vadas at a time from both sides till they turn crisp and golden.
- Remove the vada from oil and drain it on a tissue.
- Warm about 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt and immerse about 4-5 vada in it for 5-8 minutes.
- After a while the vada will double up in size on soaking.
- Squeeze out the excess water by pressing between your palms, making sure not to break the vada.
- Arrange the squeezed vadas in a plate.
- Whip about 1 cup of curd with 1/4 cup of water and a pinch of salt into a thin consistency.
- Pour this thin curd mixture over the vada. Refrigerate it for about 10-15 minutes.
- After 10-15 minutes of refrigeration, the vada will soak most of the thin curd mixture and turn soft. Now pour the thick curd over the vada.
- Sprinkle some red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, black salt and chaat masala.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Its better if you refrigerate it again before serving.
- Garnish with sweet tamarind chutney and serve immediately.
- One can add some raisins and chopped cashew-nuts for extra taste.
- Grind the dal with as little water as possible. If the dal batter become too thin, it will absorb a lot of oil and will be very difficult to give proper shape to the vada.