Dahi Vada is the best kept secret of Indian cooking. It is not that well known outside India. Your average American Desi restaurant may have samosas and pakoras on their menu, and even some kind of chaat, but they rarely have dahi vada. Don’t worry, because once you read this post, you will be able to make your own very easily at home.
I will be using wada or vada interchangeably but it refers to the same thing.
Dahi Wada, dahi bhalla or gujiya are all pretty similar. The dahi wada is generally called bhalla or gujiya in the Northern part of the country. Udupi restaurants serve it with a tadka, or tempering of oil, spices and curry leaves. Some add cashews and raisins. Nowadays, the dahi vada you get in restaurants is getting sweeter by the day. It seems like all the white sugar in the world is being dumped into it. That is just one of the reasons it is better to make it at home.
Dahi Vada is served cold, right out of the refrigerator making it perfect for summer!
Dahi Vada has long been the mater’s specialty. In a family where almost everyone cooks, and excels at it, there is a clear demarcation in who does what. So a certain dish is reserved for a specific person, and no one else ventures into the territory.
There are some things you want to watch out for while making this dish. Although simple in theory, a few things can make you end up with rock solid vadas. And that is not desirable. No Sir! The dahi vada should be delicate, strong enough to hold its shape, but easily broken into with a spoon. It should melt in your mouth. And of course, there is a technique that has to be followed if you want to get it right.
So the points to note for this recipe –
– Fry the vadas as soon as you grind your daal or lentils. The longer you let it stand, the more oil they will soak up.
– Soak the fried vadas in water for a while and then press out the water. This will make them soft and also get rid of the oil.
– Soak the vadas in a thin yogurt-water mixture for a few hours. This will make sure that the yogurt penetrates into the vadas and they won’t be dry.
The Dahi Vada is something which might taste better than it looks. It is really hard to describe or portray this in a photo. Based on my family recipe, I am using roasted cumin powder and cayenne powder or mirchi powder to top the Dahi Vada. This is the way we serve it.
If you want, you can add some sweet tamarind chutney, or chopped coriander for garnish. But why complicate things? So here goes the recipe for soft delectable Dahi Vada –
Dahi Vada Recipe
- 1 cup white urad daal
- 1 inch ginger root
- 1 green chili pepper
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- 8 cups plain yogurt
- 5-6 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
- Chopped cilantro (optional)
- Soak urad daal for 6 hours or overnight. It will at least double in volume.
- Grind to a fine paste with very little water and green chili and ginger. Add salt to taste.
- Assemble two pots or bowls. Take 2 cups yogurt and 4-5 cups water in one and whisk well. Set aside.
- Fill another bowl with water. Set aside.
- Whisk 6 cups yogurt, sugar and salt and refrigerate. Taste and make sure it has the level of sweetness you want. You just need enough sugar to take away the sour taste. Some tart flavor will still remain.
- Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the vadas or dumplings on medium heat so that they are well cooked from the inside. Set them aside for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the fried and slightly cooled vadas to the cold water. Let them soak for a while. Keep them soaked until you finish frying one or two batches of the dumplings.
- Now hold the vada in the palm of your hand and gently press it down with the other palm until all the water comes out. Don’t press too hard or it will break. Add this to the thin yogurt mixture in the other bowl.
- Once you have finished frying all the wadas, and added them all to the thin mixture, refrigerate it for a few hours. You can even do this a day in advance.
- For serving the dahi vada – gently spoon out a few vadas from the thin mixture into a bowl. Now add the thick yogurt on top. Sprinkle cumin powder and cayenne powder according to taste.
- Dig in and enjoy!
Dahi Vada is served cold and so is the perfect summertime snack. It is also a high protein vegetarian snack or meal since it is made with lentils and then soaked in yogurt. Most of the oil is pressed out, and you can use lower fat and nonfat yogurt to further control the fats.
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I hope you try this simple Indian recipe and enjoy it with your family. So, what do you think? Chime in by adding a comment below.