A great starter or a cold appetizer, Dahi Vada, is a popular North Indian street food fare. Basically, dahi vadas are lentil (black gram/urad dal) based savory balls which are smothered with frothy fresh curds and sprinkled with spices like chilli pwd, cumin pwd, chaat masala or black salt and liberally doused with a tangy-sweet tamarind chutney.
Another version of this yogurt based snack, known as Perugu garellu in Telugu and Thayir Vada in Tamil is prepared almost on the same lines as the dahi vada. Perugu garellu, a popular snack in Andhra is prepared by dunking black gram lentil vadas in curds and pouring a seasoning of mustard seeds, black gram dal and curry leaves over them.
I learnt this dahi vada recipe from a North Indian friend, who regularly makes it for pot-luck parties. Absolutely lip smacking snack and as you bite into a soft, melt-in-the-mouth, delicious vada, it leaves you will a myriad of contrasting flavors that tickle your taste buds, whetting your appetite for more.
I have a question hovering over my mind as I write this post. Are dahi vadas and dahi bhallas one and the same? I think they both mean the same recipe and are probably known by different names in different regions of the north. Any one shed some light?
Dahi Vada Recipe
Recipe source: North Indian friend
Prep & Cooking: 45 mts, soaking of lentils: 3 hours
Serves 6-8 persons
Cuisine: North Indian
1 cup black gram lentil (urad dal without skin) washed, soaked for 3 hours and ground to a fine paste adding very little water
2″ piece of ginger grated
2-3 green chillis finely chopped
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
2 cups thick fresh curd (take care the curd isn’t sour)
4 cups water
red chilli powder to taste
2 tbsps cumin seeds (slightly dr roasted and ground to a fine powder)
1-2 tbsps chaat masala (optional)
chopped coriander leaves to garnish
1 Combine the ground urad dal paste with grated ginger, chopped green chillis and salt.
2 Pre-heat oil in a deep frying vessel, place a plastic sheet in your palm and place a little urad dal batter and shape into a vada (like a doughnut) or like a big lemon sized ball and drop slowly into the hot oil. Deep fry on medium heat for sometime and then fry on high heat till golden brown.
3 Remove these deep fried vadas into a bowl of luke warm water and place them in it for 15-20 seconds. Remove and gently press between your palms so that excess water oozes out. Keep them aside.
4 Finish making vadas with the rest of the remaining batter and put them in water like you did for the earlier batch, remove excess water and keep aside.
5 Beat curds well till frothy (there shouldn’t be any lumps) and add the water, red chilli pwd, cumin pwd and salt.
6 Place the vadas in a serving bowl (as shown in the picture) and pour the curd mixture evenly all over the vadas, covering them completely.
7 Chill the vadas for sometime before serving. At the time of serving, take 2-3 vadas and place them in a serving plate and sprinkle some chaat powder and garnish with coriander leaves and tamarind chutney.
To make soft and fluffy vadas, take care to use good quality dal and when you grind the dal use very little water to make a fine paste. Beat the ground lentil batter well to incorporate air and the vadas should be fried in medium hot oil. It goes without saying that the lentils ground in a stone grinder gives the best batter for good vadas.