Dahi Vada

Dahi vada is a popular street food of India. It is a tangy, savoury snack that consists of dahi (yogurt), vada (lentil fritter) and accompaniments- Imli (tamarind) chutney with little salt, red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder! This truly makes a lip-smacking snack, which anybody can have any time of the day!

My mum used to make Dahi Vadas at home (never bought them), and her dahi vadas were/are immensely popular amongst our family and friends. I saw my mum making these super soft dahi vadas and I learnt from her; and she taught me the key points, which makes the dahi vadas just melt in the mouth.

After marriage when I started cooking on my own, I used to follow my mum’s recipe. But after a few years when I became confident and started my own experiment in cooking and then made some variations. Though I did not change much in my mum’s original recipe, I just added green chilli and ginger (while still following the key points).

I know lot of people struggle in making soft, fluffy dahi vadas- their vadas become too hard and flat. Some people add baking soda in the vada batter to make it soft, but I do not recommend it as those vadas tend to absorb more oil. I make soft and fluffy vadas without using baking soda.

Some people have told me that their vadas burst while frying, and they had burn accidents. All types of things happen when your batter is not of the right consistency. I will tell you all the key points to make those soft, fluffy dahi vadas.

If you really want to make these melt-in-mouth scrumptious dahi vadas let’s start then 😉

The ingredients for making Dahi Vada are:

  1. Urad dhuli dal (split and skinned black lentil): 1 cup
  2. Moong dhuli dal (split and skinned yellow lentil): 1 Tbsp
  3. Green chilli: 1
  4. Ginger: ½ inch
  5. Salt: ½ tsp or as per your taste
  6. Oil: for deep frying
  7. Yogurt (dahi): ½ kg or as per require
  8. Tamarind (Imli) Chutney: as per your taste
  9. Roasted Cumin powder (bhuna jeera powder): as per your taste
  10. Red chilli powder (optional): as per your taste

Method:

Wash, rinse and soak the urad and moong dals together in water overnight.

**If you forget to soak the lentils(dal) at night, then soak them in hot water covered/ put the lid on for 2-4 hours.

Next day, drain out all the water, add salt, green chilli and ginger into it and grind it in the grinder with very less water (1-2 Tbsp). Do not make exceptionally smooth paste.

The consistency must be medium thick not thin. If you add more water and make a thin batter then the vada would not be round but flat.

Now take this batter in a big bowl and continuously whisk it with a big spoon/whisk or with an electric beater till it becomes light. This is the key step. If you do not beat the batter properly your vada will be hard.

If you are using an electric beater it usually takes 2-4 minutes to make this batter light and airy.

If you are beating it manually with spoon, then it should usually take around 5-7 minutes.

You can see your batter colour will be change to white, it will be light and fluffy and with an increase in volume too.

To check whether your batter is ready:

When you spoon out the batter and drop it down, then it must fall very smoothly and quickly. It means your batter is ready to make the vadas. Or you can check the batter consistency by dropping a droplet of the batter in a bowl/glass of water – if the batter droplet floats it means it is ready!

If your batter is not ready, then whisk for few more minutes and then check it again.

Heat oil in a wok (kadai), take one spoon of batter and drop into the hot oil. Keep the flame on medium so that vada can get fried uniformly.

You can fry 6-7 vadas together at a time, depending on the size of your wok. Do not overcrowd as vada puffs and will grow in size while frying.

(vada) puffing up and gaining size

Once the vadas are fried (golden brown) from the bottom they automatically turn around, if not then you can also turn it with the ladle. Flip the vada so it gets cooked evenly from all over. When it is golden brown, take it out from the wok and place it on a plate.

Make all the vadas and put it on a plate/bowl to cool it down.

Round, fluffy and soft vada

You can see your vada will be round, fluffy and soft. You can have these vadas on their own (it tastes really good).

By using this recipe you can get 20-22 decent size of vadas.

For Making Dahi Vada:

Take a big bowl, fill it with lukewarm water and put all the vadas into it. After 3-4 minutes, take one vada and press in between your palms to squeeze out all the water. Do this for each vada and put all the vadas in a big bowl.

Take yogurt, beat it to make it smooth, and if it is too thick add a little bit of water and make it smooth.

Place all the vadas in a big bowl/plate, and pour the yogurt over it, ensure all the vadas are covered with yogurt.

Mostly I keep vada in yogurt for couple of hours, without any chutney or spices, so that vada soaked the yogurt very well.

For serving:

Take 3-4 dahi vadas in a plate/bowl, pour 1tsp tamarind chutney, sprinkle some salt, red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder and serve it immediately.

Enjoy your flavoursome melt in the mouth Dahi Vada!

Insider tips/ Finer points:

  • Use less water when grinding the dals.
  • Beat the batter properly till it becomes light, fluffy and white in colour.
  • Deep fry the vada on the medium flame so that they are cooked properly otherwise they will be fried from outside but be uncooked from the inside.

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