Our Favorite Savoury Snack- Dahi Vada


A lot of memories from our childhood are around food. Before Abhi and I got married, we used to text each other a lot and almost every discussion of ours ended with food. I won’t say we are big foodies but we love to eat healthy and stay fit. Thus we try and make everything at home; almost everything that we want to eat. Now you might be thinking how a fast food can be categorized as healthy. The interesting thing about Indian foods is the spices used in it. Different spices have different health benefits and chaats or fast foods with valuable spices can be categorized as healthy.

The spices commonly used in Dahi Vada are cumin and black pepper. Cumin provides the body with iron, manganese that helps in the absorption of calcium and controls blood pressure. Black pepper helps in digestion and is anti – bacterial in nature, reduces blood pressure and contains iron that is beneficial for the body. Ginger helps to relieve common colds and is most commonly known for its quick relieving effects on heartburn and nausea. It has been found to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory, due to its high levels of gingerol, making it a great natural remedy for headaches. And most importantly, Yogurt, which is a great source of protein, has very high levels of calcium which helps to prevent bone degeneration, thereby, preventing osteoporosis.

Dahi Vada is my mom’s favorite and every time she made or had them, her expressions were priceless. This was the first time that I tried my hands at making Dahi Vadas, more so because I was missing her. When I sent her the pictures of the tastefully plated vadas, she seemed amused. Wish she was here to taste them too, but then there’s always a next time.

After I got married and came to the United States, all I could do was day dream about these vadas. I could never get myself to make them because I am not a big fan of deep frying, so never dared to make Dahi Vada at home. But the idea of eating from a stall was not ideal, so I gave it a try. Whenever I had Dahi Vadas earlier, I always wondered how the vadas became so soft and fluffy from inside in spite of the fact that they are deep fried lentil dumplings. Now I know the secret and I am going to share it too.

Dahi Vada are dumplings made from split black gram beans (urad daal) and soaked in a yogurt sauce. Sweet, tangy and spicy toppings such as tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, red chili powder, etc are layered on to make dahi vada a super delicious appetizer. Although deep fried at first, but the dumplings are then soaked in the lukewarm water to remove the oil. Thereafter, the vadas they are soaked in dahi (yogurt) so the vadas absorb the dahi, which makes it a scrumptious and healthy preparation.

The yogurt has a silky texture from being well-beaten and the vadas are so soft that they would just melt in the mouth. These vadas are typically deep fried and put in water to soak for 15- 20 minutes to soften them (that’s the key). Vadas are then squeezed between the palms to get the water out of them and then they are transferred into the mixture of sweetened well-beaten yogurt. Coriander leaves, chili powder, crushed black pepper, cumin powder are used for garnishing along with a combination of coriander and tamarind chutneys.

A delicious sweet and little spicy Tamarind chutney, loads of beaten yogurt and some pepper powder, chaat masala and black salt. Thats all you need to make this gorgeous Dahi Vada.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup urad dal(split black gram lentils)
  • 4 cups fresh curd
  • green chilliesthinly chopped
  • 1 inch ginger
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind chutney
  • 2 tbsp coriander-mint chutney
  • Oil to deep fry
  • Black pepper powder to sprinkle
  • Cumin (jeera) powder to sprinkle
  • Fresh corianderleaves chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions for Making Dahi Vada :

  • To begin making the Dahi Vadas, wash and drain the urad dal (split black gram lentils).
  • Grind together the urad dal, ginger, green chili, and salt in a mixeror food processor to a coarse paste.
  • Add baking soda to the urad dal paste and mix well till the batter is light and fluffy. Add a little water if required.
  • Wet your hands and take 2 tablespoons of the batter on your palm and shape into a circle. Deep fry in hot oil on a slow flame in a deep fry pantill the Vadas are golden brown for about 10 minutes.
  • Drain on absorbent paper.
  • Next, soak the deep fried vadas in lukewarm water for about 15-20 minutes.
  • In the meantime whisk the curd in a bowl. Add little bit of water, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly until sugar melts well in the curd.
  • Just before serving, drain and squeeze out the excess water from the vadas.
  • Arrange the vadas on a serving dish and top with generous amount of beaten curd.
  • Garnish with chili powder, cumin seed powder, black salt, chaat masala and serve with tamarind and coriander chutney.

Sweet & Spicy Chutney Recipes:

  • To make the tamarind chutney, soak the tamarind and take out the tamarind pulp. Mix together tamarind pulp, sugar/ jaggery, roasted cumin powder, dry roasted red chili powder, and salt. Heat and mix everything until thick.
  • To make the coriander chutney, blend fresh coriander leaves with 2-3 mint leaves, ginger, green chili, and a pinch of salt.

Tip:

For the yogurt mixture, don’t ever blend the yogurt, whisk it with light hand but do not blend. The reason is that if the yogurt is blended, it may become way too thin and watery.

Those who are scared of making Dahi Vada considering it difficult trust me it isn’t and you can make it in a jiffy. Simply make the dumplings and then just pour the yogurt mixture. Garnish it and that’s all.

Good Food is Good Mood
xoxo

Photos by Abhi & Suchi

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