Dahi Vada, Dahi Bhalla, Thayir Vada, Thayir Vadai, whatever you call them, this is THE perfect dish to have during a hot summer day. Dahi Vada are fried dumplings that are dunked in water to soften them, soaked in spiced yoghurt, and topped with various chutneys (which are optional). Although this is fried, because the dumplings are dunked in water, majority of the oil oozes out of them, making them super soft and light.
You can eat them once you soak them in the yoghurt or “dress” them up with chutneys and masalas, like how I did. Trust me, it just adds that little “umph” to the dahi vadas.
This is definitely one of my favorite summer foods. It’s very cooling, light, and of course, delicious. Don’t get too shocked by the ingredients and the process because you can do majority or all of it the day before.
Ingredients for the Vadas (fried dumplings):
- 1C urad dal (split black gram), which has been rinsed several times until water is clear and soaked for at least 6 hours*
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Water, as needed, for grinding into paste, ~1/4C-1/2C
- 3-4 green chills, depending on your spice level
- 2 tbsp rice flour*
- Oil, for frying
- Bowl of warm water, for soaking the vadas
- Small bowl of water, to dip your fingers in
*can be found at any Indo-Pak grocery stores
Ingredients for the Seasoned Yoghurt
- 4 cups plain yoghurt
- salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp neutral flavored oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)*
- 1-2 dried red chilis* (you can use dried kashmiri chili for a milder taste)
- 5-6 curry leaves*
- couple pinches of hing (asafetida )*
- Tamarind chutney
- Cilantro and mint chutney
- Black salt (sanchal)*
- Red chili powder
- Chopped Cilantro
- Cumin powder
Directions to make yoghurt mixture:
- In a large glass baking dish or plate, combine the yoghurt and salt and mix well.
- In a small pot, heat the oil on medium heat.
- Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.
- After they pop, add the red chilies, curry leaves and hing
- Pour the mixture over the yoghurt and mix well.
- Set aside while you make the vadas.
Directions to make vada:
- In a food processor, grind the soaked urad dal, ginger, green chilis and a little bit of water to form into a semi-thick paste.
- Once processed, add salt, pepper, cilantro and rice flour and mix well.
- Heat oil in a pan, enough to to deep fry the vadas.
- Dip your fingers into the small bowl of water, take a small amount of the batter and gently drop it into the hot oil. You could form them into “donut” shapes but my mom and I both are terrible at it so we just do it this way.
- Fry the vadas until they’re golden brown and cooked. Drain onto a paper towel.
- Place the cooked vadas into the warm water and let them soak in there for about 5-8 minutes. This will help release the oil in the vadas.
- After 8 minutes, remove them from the water and gently squeeze them to slightly flatten them and release excess water.
- Place them into the yoghurt mixture and mix gently.
- Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat. The longer it sits, the better it will taste.
- Remove the vadas from the dish into a bowl and pour some of the yoghurt over the top.
- Add the tamarind chutney, green chutney, black salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, and cilantro.