Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is a popular Indian Street Food recipe where Black Lentils (Urad Dal) Balls are fried and soaked in a sweet, spicy, and tangy yogurt sauce. This sweet and savory dish is one of the most popular Indian snack recipes.
Dahi Vada - Ah! even the name reminds me of happy times. Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is one of my favorite snack recipes. I have made this a million times over the years and every time, it turns out better than the last time. Today I made it and everyone relished every last bite of this delicacy. I know, although this is a snack recipe, it's really a delicacy or you can call it a festive recipe.
Dahi Vada reminds me of Dusherra. Every year, during Dusherra, my Mom used to make these Dahi Vada along with some Chickpea Curry and loads of big-fat white Luchies. My home used to smell of burnt oil and whenever you get that aroma you know, it's Dusherra evening! Taking blessings from elders, and enjoying this humble yet festive plate of happiness are some simple Bengali traditions I grew up with! I soo miss those days. It's because of those days, those memories, and those cultural values, I am who I am today.
Dahi Vada is something which I have been craving for the longest time and tonight I got the chance to finally make it. I made this in the traditional way without skipping any recipes or without using any replacements - just the way my Grandma used to make it! I think there are humbleness and sincerity in following a recipe that you've learned from your elders and not skipping any steps and not even using any replacements. The love and flavors flow throw all those years into your plate and take you back to time down the memory lane and stir memories and stories which you never thought even existed in the first place 🙂
I made these Dahi Vadas and while I was having it, I was reminded of all those festive Dusherra evenings, when we were young and Mom used to make these. Then how my Grandma loved it with a certain sweetness to it. Also, she loved the recipe of my Nana, who used to make the Vadas with some Cashew Nuts and Raisins.
I remember how once Dad got some Dahi Vada for Grandam in hot summer noon and how excited she got! I remember how her eyes lighted up in excitement. She was watching some old Bengali movie in a dark and humid room and that plate of Dahi Vada got her so excited. How she started cutting pieces and gave it to each one of us. How my Mom got angry and said that it's for her and not for everyone! How she calmed her down and said, how can I have it without sharing it y'all! That's how she was! So loving and so caring for everyone.
So, today, let me share with y'all this age-old family recipe of Dahi Vada. This is exactly how my Mum used to make it and trust me it tastes so good that you'll love to make it again and again!
Here are the steps:
First, make a paste of soaked Black Lentils ( Urad Dal). Soak your Lentils overnight in water and make a smooth paste of it the next day or when you're about to make it.
Next, add Salt and Asafoetida ( Hing) to the batter and mix it well. Beat until it turns light and fluffy.
To check if your batter is ready, make a small dumpling and drop it in some water. If it floats, it means it's ready for further use 🙂
Now, heat some water and salt in a wok and allow it to get to the boiling point. keep it aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and drop in it small lentil balls. Make small balls because they will rise in the oil. You can dip your hands in water in between turns to make it mess-free. However, be careful with hot oil.
Fry the Balls carefully until they turn golden brown in color from both the sides.
Now, once they get fried, throw them in the pot of boiling water which you've prepared. Let the balls sit in hot water for about 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Yogurt sauce where you'll dip these balls.
Just beat some thick yogurt with some black salt and sugar. You can add other spices to it but I love it this simple way.
Now take the balls out of the hot water and smear them with this Yogurt Mixture.
To this add some Tamarind Chutney, some smoked Paprika, some black salt, and some freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve chilled.
Here's the video tutorial for you 🙂
Let's Talk Dahi Vada Taste
These Dahi Vadas tastes soft, sweet, and spicy. The nuts add a nice bite to it. There a freshness with the Cilantro leaves and of course, the here is my favorite - Tamarind Chutney. It just adds to the beauty and the dish and also brings in a burst of sweet and tangy flavors in your mouth. I think Tamarind Chutney and Yogurt is a match made in heaven which when used correctly can make wonders!
Dahi Vada - Lentil Balls Soaked in Spiced Yogurt Sauce
For the Lentil Balls ( Vadas)
- 2 Cup Black Lentils soaked
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Asafoetida
- ½ Cup Cashew Nuts & Raisins chopped
- 3 Cup Vegetable Oil
For the Yogurt Sauce
- 3 Cup Thick Yogurt
- 2 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Black Salt
- 1 Cup Tamarind Chutney
- 1 tablespoon Black Salt
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika (Red Chili Powder)
- ¼ Cup Cilantro chopped
- ¼ Cup Bhujia
For the Lentil Balls (Vadas)
- Soak the Black Lentils overnight or for an hour in hot water and blend it into a smooth paste. Make a smooth paste. You need to grind twice or thrice without adding water at all.
- Beat the Lentil Paste with some salt and Asafoetida. Do not use a hand-held mixer or stand mixer. Just whisk it until smooth and creamy. Add Cashew Nuts and Raisins at this time.
- Check if it's done by taking a small lump and throwing it in some water. If it floats it, it's done.
- Add oil in a Non-stick pan. And add water and salt to another pot and bring it to a boil
- Add small balls into the oil. Do not add big balls. The small balls will automatically blow up in size. Fry these in low flame, until both sides turn golden brown. In the last 30 seconds put the heat to high so that the balls get crisp. Once it's golden brown, add it to the pot of boiling water that you've already prepared.Keep the balls in this pot for 1-2 minutes. And then transfer it to a clean bowl.
For the Yogurt Sauce
- Beat the Yogurt with some water, Sugar, and Black Salt and drizzle over the Balls (Vadas). The Yogurt should get thin when you beat it.
- Decorate with Tamarind Chutney, Black Salt, Smoked Paprika (red chili powder), Chopped Cilantro, and some Bhujia. Serve chilled
- Do not keep the Balls ( Vadas) dry. Keep them soaked in Yogurt. The Yogurt will get soaked in by the balls and make them soft. And that's exactly what you need!