‘Dahi Vada’ is a popular Indian snack where ‘vada’ or lentil fritters made of ‘urad dal’ are dunked in a creamy whipped yogurt, topped with spicy and sweet chutneys. ‘Dahi Vadas’ are a loved by all at home and I do make them at times. They require some preparation work to be done before hand… like making sweet tamarind chutney, preparing the batter for ‘vadas’ etc. In the north Indian version of ‘Dahi Vada’, they also add the green chutney along with tamarind chutney sprinkled with some spice mixes, chopped coriander and some ‘Bombay bhel’.
In north India, there is another version of ‘Dahi Vada’ and they are called as ‘Dahi Bhalle’. ‘Dahi Bhalle’ is again slightly different from ‘Dahi Vada’. In ‘Dahi Bhalle’, papdis (fried flour crispies), boiled potato cubes & cooked chickpeas are added which add different textures, taste and flavor to the ‘Dahi Vada’. Both ‘Dahi Vada’ and ‘Dahi Bhalle’ are popular north Indian snacks as well as street food. They can also be served as a starter dish.
To get a good soft urad dal vadas, remember to soak the lentils overnight. Grind the batter really well with little water and you have to whisk the batter with hand till it becomes light. Also remember to use fresh yogurt. I used homemade yogurt. The chutneys can be made at home or brought readymade. You can also make the ‘Dahi Vadas’ with just the sweet tamarind chutney and yogurt as I did. Else you can add green chutney too.
‘Dahi Vada’ is my all time favourite snack especially during summer, which has the official status of an entree in our house! I can never have enough of them…always make a big batch so that I can freeze for the next day. The south Indian ‘Dahi Vada’ is made slightly differently than the north Indian version. And for those (like me) who like southern flair…temper the soaked ‘Dahi Vadas’ with a delicious chaunk/tadka of mustard leaves n curry leaves…
For the Vada:
For Sweet Tamarind Chutney:
- Preparing the sweet tamarind chutney:
- Soak tamarind in water overnight or for 4-5 hours in a small bowl or pan. With your hands, squeeze the pulp from the tamarind. Strain the pulp and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a small pan. Lower the flame & add roasted cumin powder, ginger powder, red chili powder and asafetida.
- Stir and add the strained tamarind pulp. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the jaggery and salt and cook for 4-5 minutes more.
- The mixture would thicken. Let the saunth chutney or sweet chutney mixture cool. When cooled, store the chutney in an air-tight dry jar or container.
- Preparing the vadas/ lentil fritters:
- Rinse the lentils and soak in water overnight or for 4-5 hours.
- Drain and add the lentils in a grinder. Grind to a smooth batter adding a little water. Take the ground batter in a bowl. Stir the batter briskly for a couple of minutes. This makes the batter more light and fluffy.
- Add the chopped chilli, chopped ginger, raisins and chopped cashews along with a little salt. Stir and keep aside.
- Heat a kadai or pan with oil for deep frying. When the oil becomes medium hot, add spoonfuls of the batter in the oil. When you see the vadas becoming golden from the sides turn them. Fry the vadas till they become golden and crisp.
- Drain on paper towels.
- In another bowl take water. Mix a little tamarind pulp and salt. Mix well and add the vadas to the water. Soak them for 18-20 minutes.
- Take each vada and lightly press between your palms to remove excess water.
- Place these vadas in the serving bowl.
- Whisk yogurt till smooth with a little sugar and salt. Pour the yogurt over the vadas.
- Top with the tamarind chutney as required.
- Sprinkle the roasted cumin and red chillie powder, chaat masala and black salt.
- Garnish Dahi Vada with chopped coriander leaves and some Bombay bhel (optional).
- Serve Dahi Vada immediately or refrigerate and serve later.
~ To get soft fluffy Vada beat the lentil paste very well.