Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is an immensely popular Indian chaat dish. This protein packed, gluten-free recipe is made from lentils fritters dunked in whipped creamy yogurt and drizzled with sweet and spicy chutney and spices. Its served as a snack, appetizer or side with main meal and is absolutely melt in mouth delicious!!
Date and tamarind chutney to tasteyou can use just tamarind chutney too
Spicy Green Chutney to tasteoptional – you can use coriander mint chutney too
some roasted cumin seeds powder to taste
some red chili powder to tasteoptional
some chaat masala to taste
salt to taste
To make Dahi Vada Batter:
Rinse the urad dal in water 4-5 times until water runs clear. Then soak them in sufficient water over night or in hot water for 4-5 hours or until they have swelled up.
Drain the water and add the lentils along with ginger and green chilli (optional)in a blender. Grind it into a smooth paste using very little water (approximately ¼ cup). The ground batter should be thick and dropping consistency.
To make soft dahi vada, we need to beat air into this batter. This can be done using hand beater or simple hand whisk too but I prefer to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer to do this. Just easier and the machine does the job for you.
Transfer the smooth ground dahi vada batter into the stand mixer bowl (or clean bowl) and using a whisk attachment, beat on medium speed for 5 mins.
The batter should be nice and fluffy and increased in size due to all the air that has been incorporated. Add cumin seeds, black salt (or regular salt), asafoetida and baking soda (if using, I haven't used any) and again beat for a min to two until well incorporated.
To test if the batter has risen properly, drop a small portion into a bowl of water. The batter should float which means its perfectly fluffy.
To fry the Vada:
Heat sufficient oil in a vessel for deep frying on high. Test oil temperature by drooping a small drop of the batter into the oil. It should rise to the top immediately that means the oil is ready for frying. If the oil is not sufficiently hot, the vadas will soak oil making them greasy.
Once the oil is hot, turn it back to medium heat since its important to cook the centre of vadas cook too without browning/burning them.
To add the vadas to the oil, use a spoon or cookie scoop or icecream scoop to get same size vadas.
Now that the oil is hot, add a scoop/spoonful of batter to this hot oil (as many as you can fry at a time without overcrowding) & deep fry on medium heat till the vada has become golden brown.
Drain and remove them on absorbent paper to soak the excess oil.
These deep fried golden fritters (vada) are crispy on outside and soft on the inside and make excellent breakfast or snack with side of green chutney and hot chai. These are also called as medhu vada which are shaped like donuts usually.
Assembling the Dahi Vada:
Soak the warm fried vada in water for 15 -20 mins. Soak only that many vadas as you plan to serve. Rest can be refrigerated or frozen. If using refrigerated or frozen vadas, soak in warm water. The soaked vada will absorb water and almost double in size and become soft and spongy.
Whisk whole milk plain yogurt until smooth and season with salt and sugar (optional, but recommended) to it and mix and keep refrigerated.
Squeeze out the water by pressing the vadas between your palms. Even after you squeeze the vadas they should bounce back to their shape which means they are perfect, soft and spongy.
Add them in whisked yogurt to coat evenly and arrange the yogurt dipped vadas on the serving plate. Chill in refrrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile thin out the rest of yogurt using milk or water still keeping it on thicker side. Add it on top to cover these dahi bhalla completely.
Sprinkle with roasted cumin seeds powder, some red chilli powder and chaat masala. Serve with sweet and green chutney and some more of the spice mix (cumin seeds, red chilli, chaat masala, salt) on the side for everyone to customize to their liking.
That’s it, out Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is ready!! Don’t wait any longer and savor these mouth melting treats, Enjoy!!
You can also add baking soda to the batter to get more fluffier bhalla. But this is completely optional. I've never felt the need to add it using this recipe.
Fry vada on medium heat to ensure the centre cooks and they are golden and crispy on the outside. Frying on low heat will cause the bhalla to soak more oil. Too much heat will cause the vada to brown quickly and leaving the centre uncooked.
Storage Instructions for Dahi Vada:
You can make the vada a day or two in advance, allow them to cool off completely and then store them in airtight/zip-lock containers in refrigerator. They can also be frozen after cooling for later use. When you want to serve, dip the refrigerated or frozen vada in warm water and follow the steps as listed above to prepare the dish.
If you want to serve the vada in a few hours, you can soak them, drain and store in airtight container in refrigerator. When ready to serve just top with yogurt, chutney and spices and you are ready to serve.
If you leave Dahi vada soaked in yogurt for long it may leave water so preferably add yogurt only when you want to serve (couple of hours before is fine).