Dahi vada is a popular Indian snack which is often made during the festive season. So what exactly is a dahi vada? Literally dahi=yogurt and vada= fried dumpling. These are lentil dumplings which are deep fried are then dunked in creamy yogurt and then topped with sweet chutney and spices. The terms dahi vada and dahi bhalle are often used interchangeably in different parts of the country. In my home we always called them “dahi vada” whereas hubby calls them “dahi bhalle”. Whatever you call them, they are really delicious. The only time they differ is when you add papdi (fried flour crackers) and chole (chickpeas) to the yogurt, it then becomes dahi bhalla chaat. This is popular street food in India.
The recipe that I’m sharing today is the north Indian version. The south Indian version of dahi vada is a little different and I’ll share it sometime later. In my home and also traditionally dahi vadas are made using only urad dal (split black gram without skin). However I used 1/2 moong dal (split yellow lentil) and 1/2 urad dal because I like my vadas this way. They are also softer when you use half of each lentil. Anyway it’s a personal choice and you can use 100% urad dal as well.
We all want to eat soft dahi bhalle but sometimes they end up being hard. Do you face the same problem? Here are 2 things that you should do to get those perfectly soft melt-in-your-mouth dahi vada.
1. Use 1/2 moong and 1/2 urad dal to make the vada.
2. Beat the grind dal batter for 10 minutes till it’s light and fluffy. This step is very important if you are looking forward to eating soft dahi vada!
The vada can be garnished to taste. I love lots of sweet tamarind chutney over my dahi vada and that’s why added lots of it. You can use less or more of chutneys and spices to taste. Mom always makes dahi vada at home for Diwali and with just few days remaining for the festival, I had to make these.
Soak urad dal and moong dal in enough water overnight. In the morning rinse the dal, drain the water and set aside.
Transfer the dals to a food processor/ blender.
Grind using little water. I added around 1/4 cup of water, try not to add too much water.
Transfer batter to a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to it.
Using a spoon whip the batter for 7-8 minutes till it becomes fluffy and airy. This step is very important in order to make soft bhallas.
Heat oil in a wok/kadai on medium heat. To make the vada, wet your hands and take a 1-2 tablespoon batter [depending on how big or small you want your vadas to be]. Place 2-3 raisins in the center and close with the batter.
Drop the batter gently into the oil.
Cook till vada is golden brown on each side. Repeat till all batter is finished. Drain on a kitchen towel.
Drop the fried vadas into a pan of lukewarm water for around 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove one vada and squeeze it between your hands to remove water. Squeeze gently so that you don’t break the vada. Repeat with all the vadas,
Place all squeezed vada into the serving plate.
Take yogurt in bowl and 1/2-1 tablespoon of sugar to it [optional]. The yogurt that you use for the vada should not be sour.
Whisk the yogurt till it’s creamy and smooth. Add little water, around 2-3 tablespoons to make it pouring consistency.
Pour the whisked yogurt over the vadas. The vadas should get totally submerged in the yogurt. Pour tamarind-date chutney over the yogurt.
Sprinkle roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, chaat masala and black salt to taste over the yogurt.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds. Chill the dahi vadas in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
* You can also use green chutney for garnishing. In fact a lot of people like lots and lots of green chutney over their dahi bhalla. You can make the green chutney at home, see recipe here or get one from the Indian grocery store.
* Dahi vadas taste best when serve chilled. If you are planning to serve them for dinner, make them in the afternoon and refrigerate. The flavors intermingle with each other in few hours resulting in delicious bhallas.
* Dahi vadas freeze well. They stay good for 1-2 months in the freezer.
* This recipe makes 15 small vadas. You can make them bigger in size if you want.
For the Vada
- ½ cup moong dal dhuli [yellow split lentil]
- ½ cup urad dal dhuli [split black gram without skin]
- 30-40 raisins
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup water
- oil for deep frying
For serving/assembling the vada
- 2 cups yogurt whisked
- ½ tablespoon sugar [optional]
- 3 tablespoons sweet tamarind chutney [i used store bought]
- chaat masala to taste, for garnishing
- red chili powder to taste, for garnishing
- roasted cumin powder to taste, for garnishing
- black salt kala namak, to taste, for garnishing
- cilantro finely chopped, for garnishing
- pomegranate seeds for garnishing [optional]
Make the vadas
- Soak urad dal and moong dal in enough water overnight. In the morning rinse the dal, drain the water and set aside.
- Transfer the dals to a blender and grind to a smooth paste using little water. [around 1/4 cup]
- Transfer batter to a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to it.
- Using a spoon whip the batter for 7-8 minutes till it becomes fluffy and airy. This step is very important in order to make soft bhallas.
- Heat oil in a wok/kadai on medium heat.
- To make the vada, wet your hands and take a 1-2 tablespoon batter [depending on how big or small you want your vadas to be]. Place 2-3 raisins in the center and close with the batter.
- Drop the batter gently into the oil.
- Cook till vada is golden brown on each side. Repeat till all batter is finished. Drain on a kitchen towel.
- Drop the fried vadas into a pan of lukewarm water for around 20 minutes.
- Remove vada from water and squeeze it between your hands to remove water. Squeeze gently so that you don't break it.
- Take yogurt in bowl and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar to it [optional].
- Whisk the yogurt till it's creamy and smooth. Add little water, around 2-3 tablespoons to make it pouring consistency.
- Pour the whisked yogurt over the vadas. The vadas should get totally submerged in the yogurt. Pour tamarind-date chutney over the yogurt.
- Sprinkle roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, chaat masala and black salt to taste over the yogurt.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.
- Chill the dahi vadas in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
31 thoughts on “Dahi Vada”
Manali, I found your recipes in 2020 during lockdown. This particular recipe I’ve used at least 8-10 times – and it is FOOLPROOF! Comes out perfectly each time. The vadas are absolutely delicious – both with and without dahi. I know experienced home-chefs who can’t achieve soft vadas consistently – but this recipe has had 100% success for me. And I made it for the first time ever! Thank you, and kudos.
Thank you Aditi, your comment is much appreciated 🙂
Have you tried making vada’s in an air fryer? If so can you please share the temperature and timing. Absolutely love all your dishes!! You are very creative. Thank you
yumm! such a mouthwatering recipe.I Am searching for something oil-free to prepare
on this Holi and this recipe of dahi bhalle is just perfect to make.I Love it thank you so much for sharing step by step with images, Now Will definitely prepare this at my home.
Just saw this on FB. Love vadas and yours look so fluffy and tasty. Just as they are supposed to be Manali! <3
Yum, dahi vada! I love the idea of adding pomegranate seeds on top for a crunch and tang 🙂
Thanks Karishma! I love pomegranate seeds with yogurt and so I had to add them!
I love reading about the background of your traditional indian recipes! Did you use a deep fat fryer for this?
No Emma …in India we do not have deep fryers…or maybe we do have them now but they are not common..so we fry things in normal pans…
These look so exotic and delicious! Definitely going to try them!!! 🙂
Thanks Olivia, hope you give them a try! 🙂