Dahi Vada Recipe

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Fluffy, tender, tangy and sweet dahi vada are a combination of all your favorite flavors and textures in one tasty snack. They consist of homemade fried lentil dumpling fritters, dunked in creamy whipped yogurt and topped with both spicy and sweet chutneys. Try my heirloom and classic dahi vada recipe with step-by-step photos for a fun appetizer or shareable party treat.

top shot of assembled dahi vada in a light green rimmed cream shallow plate topped with white curd, reddish tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, pomegranate arils, chaat masala, cumin powder and coriander leaves

What is Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada are a popular street food from North India. “Dahi” means yogurt and “Vada” means deep fried fritters or dumplings, and the recipe is about as straightforward as it sounds.

Fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth dumplings are coated in a simple creamy yogurt, and topped with classic Indian chutneys.

Dahi vada are often made for special occasions and festivals, but can also be enjoyed anytime for a party snack or appetizer.

A perfect dahi vada recipe starts with tender and puffy homemade fried lentil fritters that are soaked in water, drained, and then covered in tangy whipped yogurt.

These fluffy fritters are traditionally made with the ivory colored skinned urad dal, also known as black gram or urad bean or matpe bean.

Generous helpings of both spicy green coriander chutney and sweet tamarind chutney are beautifully drizzled over the top before serving.

The result is an impressive and delicious snack that includes just the right balance of sour, sweet, savory, and spicy flavors in every bite.

While dahi vada do require some time to make, you’ll quickly see with one taste how very worth every bit of effort they are. And, much of the prep work – like making both of the chutneys and yogurt – can be done well in advance.

Follow my step-by-step instructions with photos below to learn how to make the best traditional, authentic dahi vada recipe from scratch, with tips to ensure they turn out terrific every time.

You can also check the salty and savory South Indian variation of dahi vada called as Thayir Vada which has a complete different taste and flavor profile.

top closeup shot of assembled dahi vada in a cream tray topped with white curd, reddish tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, pomegranate arils, chaat masala, cumin powder and coriander leaves
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Dahi Vada

Soaking Lentils

1. Soak 1 cup heaped urad dal (200 grams husked and split black lentils) overnight or for at least 4 to 5 hours. Later drain all the water using a colander or strainer. If you prefer, you can rinse the soaked urad dal.

soaked lentils being shown with a silver spoon

Grinding Lentils

2. Then add the drained and soaked lentils in your trusted blender or mixer-grinder.

drained lentils placed in a blender

3. Add in ½ teaspoon chopped green chilies or serrano/thai chillies, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing) and salt as needed.

Note: For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free asafoetida or skip it.

add spices, herbs and salt to lentils in blender

4. Blend or grind adding ¼ cup to ½ cup water in parts to a smooth fluffy batter. Depending on the quality, age of lentils and soaking time the water amount can vary from ½ to ¾ cup. Keep in mind that the batter has a thick to medium-thick flowing consistency.

Grind in two batches or one batch depending on the capacity and size of your blender or mixer-grinder.

TIP 1: Adding a lot of water will make the batter thin which will result in a flat vada that absorbs more oil. A thin or runny batter will always absorb more oil while frying.

TIP 2: If the batter becomes thin or watery, add some rice flour or sooji (rava, semolina) to the batter and mix thoroughly to thicken it. Do not add too much of sooji as it can make the vada have a dense texture.

TIP 3: To check if the batter has the right consistency, place a few drops of batter in a bowl of water. The batter having the right consistency will float on top of the water surface. If the batter has become thin, it will sink or dissolve in the water.

lentil dumpling batter

Aerating the Batter

5. Take the ground batter in a bowl with a help of a silicon spatula. Then briskly and vigorously whip the batter for two to three minutes with a spoon, whisk or spatula.

Whipping the batter aerates it and makes it more fluffy and light. As a result, you get softer and porous vada. A photo showing the consistency of the batter.

batter being whisked with a spoon

6. Stir in 1 tablespoon raisins (chopped) and 12 to 15 cashews (chopped roughly). These are optional ingredients and you can skip them if you want.

chopped raisins and cashews added to batter

Checking oil temperature

7. Heat oil as needed for deep frying in a kadai (Indian wok) or pan. Heat oil on medium heat. The oil should reach a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees celsius.

To check without a thermometer, add some droplets of the batter with a spoon. It should sizzle and come up on the surface of oil swiftly and gradually.

If the batter droplets stay at the bottom of the pan, the oil is cold. If it comes up very quickly and becomes too browned or burnt, the oil is very hot.

a few batter droplets being fried in hot oil

Frying Vada

8. Once the oil has reached the correct heat or temperature, now you can either drop the batter carefully with your fingers (without touching the hot oil) or with a spoon in medium hot oil. Fry the vada in batches until crisp and golden.

I prefer to use a spoon. You can moisten the spoon with a bit of water, so that the batter slides easily from it.

Make the vada having more or less the same size. If you end up making different sizes, than the smaller sized vada will fry quickly and the larger sized vada will take more time. So do take a note of it and remove the smaller vada when they look golden and crisp all over.

Do not overcrowd the pan or kadai. Overcrowding the pan will lower the oil temperature and as a result the vadas will soak more oil. The vada also expand a bit while frying.

In the photo below, it looks as if the pan is overcrowded with the vada, but actually it is not – blame it on the macro photography!

frying vada

9. Let the bottom side become light golden and crisp. Then only turn these or they will break in the oil.

lightly golden vada frying in hot oil

10. Flip again and for a couple of times more while frying. This ensures even cooking and you should see a uniform golden color all over.

golden fried vada in hot oil

11. Place the vada on paper towels. This way fry the remaining vada in batches using up the entire batter. If you want use half portion of the batter, then refrigerate the batter for a couple of days or freeze it for a month.

fried lentil dumplings place on kitchen paper towels

Soaking Vada

12. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes and while they are still hot, add the vada in water (at room temperature) and let them soak for 12-15 minutes. The vada will release some of the oil and absorb water increasing a bit in size with a color change.

vada soaking in water in a red rimmed white bowl

13. Press each soaked vada between your palms to remove water. Gently press or else you might end up breaking them

pressed vada in palm

14. Press all the soaked vada this way and keep them aside in a plate or you can arrange them in the bowl or tray that you will be serving dahi vada.

tray of dumplings or vada on a steel plate

Assembling the add ons for Dahi Vada

15. Beat 2.5 cups chilled curd (yogurt) until smooth. Check the taste of the curd before you assemble. The curd should not taste sour, bitter or acidic. It should be fresh with a pleasant sweet-sour taste. I suggest to use Homemade Curd.

yogurt being whisked with a wire whisk

16. Keep your chutneys ready. Here is the photo of the spicy coriander (cilantro) chutney and this is how it is made.

Take the following listed ingredients in a small blender or mixer and blend until smooth.

  • 2 cups coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder)
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon green chillies
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or cumin powder
  • salt as required
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or as needed
green coriander chutney in a blender

17. Below is the photo of sweet and tart tamarind chutney and you can get its recipe here – Tamarind Chutney. You can prep the chutneys a day earlier before making dahi vada. Refrigerate both the chutneys.

tamarind chutney in a bowl with a spoon inside

Making Dahi Vada

18. In a large serving bowl or a tray arrange the vada which you had set aside after squeezing the water.

vada placed in a tray

19. Pour the beaten curd evenly all over the vada covering them completely.

yogurt over fried lentil dumplings

20. Pour the green coriander chutney and sweet tamarind chutney as you like.

dahi vada topped with chutneys

Serving Suggestions

21. Sprinkle dahi vada with a few pinches of red chili powder or cayenne, roasted cumin powder, ¼ cup pomegranate arils (optional), chaat masala and/or black salt.

Garnish with 2 tablespoon coriander leaves and serve straightway. Or you can refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

servings of homemade dahi vada with coriander and tamarind chutney, pomegranate arils, coriander leaves, ground spices and salt

How to store homemade Dahi Vada

Wrap the dish in plastic cling wrap or transfer to a container with a lid, and keep leftover dahi vada in the refrigerator overnight or for a day only. Any longer and the taste of the yogurt changes.

My recipe makes for 60 vada. The lentil dumplings can be made in advance and frozen before assembling the complete dish. Make the fritters per the recipe instructions, soak in water, and thoroughly squeeze out the water.

Then place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 1 to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and then continue making the complete dahi vada recipe.

Tips

Expert Tips

Ingredient Notes

  • Lentils: It is best to make dahi vada recipe with skinned urad dal. You can add about ¼ cup of moong lentils. Soak them with the urad lentils and then grind adding water as required to a smooth consistency.
  • Yogurt: Always make dahi vada with fresh yogurt and not sour curd. I always use Homemade Curd, but store bought is just fine.
  • Chutney: Both the Coriander Chutney and Tamarind Chutney can be made at home up to a week in advance, or bought ready made. Any leftover green chutney can be refrigerated for a couple of days. The tamarind chutney can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month, and is great to serve with other Indian snacks.

Recipe Notes

  • Soaking lentils: To get a good soft urad dal vada, remember to soak the lentils for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Grind the batter really well.
  • Aerating batter: Whisk the lentil batter briskly for 2 to 3 minutes. This incorporates air into the batter making the vada fluffy and soft.
  • Topping Variation: You can make the dahi vada with only the sweet tamarind chutney and yogurt, and leave off the spicy green coriander chutney, if you like.
  • No garlic version: To make a no-garlic version of dahi vada recipe, simply skip adding the garlic in the green coriander chutney.
  • Vegan options: Use cashew yogurt, almond yogurt or coconut yogurt.
  • Scaling: For a small batch, simply halve the recipe. For parties or get-togethers, double the dahi vada recipe.

Frying Notes

Fry the vada at just the right temperature in the oil. The oil should reach a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees Celsius, or 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To check without a thermometer, add some droplets of the batter with a spoon in the hot oil.

The batter should sizzle and come up on the surface of oil swiftly and steadily. If the batter droplets stay at the bottom of the pan, the oil is cold. If it comes up too quickly and becomes dark browned or burnt, the oil is too hot.

Do not overcrowd the pan while frying. Overcrowding will lower the oil temperature, and as a result the vadas will soak more oil.

FAQs

What is the difference between Dahi Vada and Dahi Bhalla?

Though usually both Dahi Vada and Dahi Bhalla look same, there is some difference. They are not the same dish.

Dahi Vada is made with the vada or fritters coated with curd and assorted chutneys only. While Dahi bhalla in addition to the curd and chutneys has additional ingredients like papdi (fried flour discs), boiled potato cubes and chickpeas added to it.

These ingredients makes a great difference to the flavor and taste of a dahi bhalla. Chickpeas, potato cubes and papdi are never added in a dahi vada. Dahi Bhalla has a taste like that of a chaat snack.

How do I fix watery vada batter?

Simply add some rice flour or sooji (rava, semolina) to the batter. Mix very well. A combination of both sooji and rice flour also works well. Take care not to add too much of sooji as it can make the vada have a dense texture.

Can we store dahi vada batter in the fridge?

Yes, you can store the batter for a couple of days. Do not store for more than 2 to 3 days as the batter becomes sour. For a longer storage, keep the batter in a freezer for a month.

Why does urad dal vada burst?

If your batter is runny or thin, it will burst in the oil when frying. Too much of water in the batter causes the vada to burst. A thin batter will also make the vada oily.

Can I freeze vada?

Yes you can freeze the vada after you have drained all the water from them. Place them in a covered container in the freezer. When you want to make dahi vada, remove and thaw them or keep in your refrigerator overnight. Later assemble with the beaten curd and the chutneys.

More Tasty Indian Snacks For You to Try

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top shot of assembled dahi vada in a light green rimmed cream shallow plate topped with white curd, reddish tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, pomegranate arils, chaat masala, cumin powder and coriander leaves

Dahi Vada Recipe

4.86 from 47 votes
Fluffy, tender, tangy and sweet dahi vada are a combination of all your favorite flavors and textures in one tasty snack. They consist of homemade fried lentil dumpling fritters, dunked in creamy whipped yogurt and topped with both spicy and sweet chutneys.
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 45 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Snacks, Starters
Diet: Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 60 dahi vada
Units

Ingredients

For vada batter

  • 1 cup urad dal (heaped) – 200 grams
  • ½ teaspoon chopped green chili or serrano or thai chili or 1 green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ to ½ cup water or add as needed
  • 1 tablespoon raisins – chopped
  • 12 to 15 cashews – chopped
  • salt as required – or ⅔ teaspoon food grade edible rock salt (sendha namak)

Other ingredients

  • 2.5 cups Curd (yogurt) – chilled
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chaat masala or as required
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne, add as needed
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • black salt – add as required, optional
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils – optional
  • 2 tablespoons  chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

For tamarind chutney

  • ½ cup tamarind – tightly packed (seedless)
  • 1.75 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder (saunth)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons jaggery or sugar, add as required – adjust as per your taste
  • rock salt (edible and food grade) or black salt or regular salt as required
  • 1 teaspoon oil

For coriander chutney

  • 2 cups coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dry mango powder or 1 to 1.5 teaspoons dried pomegranate seeds
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic or 1 to 2 small to medium garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon green chillies or serrano pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or cumin powder
  • salt as needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water or as required

Instructions

Making sweet chutney

  • Soak tamarind in water overnight or for 4 to 5 hours in a small bowl or pan.
  • With your hands, squeeze the pulp from the tamarind in the same bowl or pan. Strain the pulp and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a small pan. Lower the heat and add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add ginger powder, red chili powder, asafoetida.
  • Stir and add the strained tamarind pulp. Cook for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Add the jaggery and salt and simmer for 4 to 5 mins more on low to medium-low heat. The mixture would thicken. Let the tamarind chutney mixture cool.
  • When cooled, store the tamarind chutney in an air-tight dry jar or container.

Making green coriander chutney

  • Blend or grind all the ingredients mentioned under the green chutney list with water.
  • Remove and set aside in a small bowl.

Making batter

  • First pick and then rinse the lentils for 3 to 4 times in water.
  • Soak the lentils in enough water overnight or for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Drain all the water and add the lentils in a blender or mixer-grinder.
  • Add chopped green chilies, chopped ginger, cumin seeds, asafoetida and salt.
  • Add water in parts and grind to a smooth thick or medium-thick flowing batter.
  • Take the ground batter in a bowl. Stir the batter briskly for a couple of minutes. This aerates the batter making it more light and fluffy.
  • Add the chopped raisins and cashews. Combine well and set aside.

Deep frying vada

  • Heat a kadai or pan with oil for deep frying.
  • When the oil becomes medium hot, add spoonfuls of the batter in the oil.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to turn them.
  • When you see the vada becoming pale golden from the base and sides, you can turn them.
  • Fry the vada until they become golden and crisp. Place on paper towels.

Making dahi vada

  • In another bowl take water. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes and while the vada are still hot, place the vada in the water. Soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • The vada will release some of the oil and absorb water increasing a bit in size with a color change.
  • Take each vada and flatten and press between your palms to remove the water.
  • Place these vada in a serving bowl or tray.
  • Whisk curd (yogurt) until smooth. Pour the curd over the vada evenly all over covering them.
  • Top with the green chutney and tamarind chutney as needed.
  • Sprinkle a few pinches of red chili powder or cayenne, roasted cumin powder, chaat masala and black salt.
  • Garnish with pomegranate arils and coriander leaves.

Serving suggestions

  • Serve dahi vada straightway. Or you can refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Storage

  • Wrap the dish in plastic cling wrap or transfer to a container with a lid, and keep leftover dahi vada in the refrigerator overnight or for a day only. Any longer and the taste of the yogurt changes.
  • The lentil dumplings can be made in advance and frozen before assembling the complete dish. Make the fritters per the recipe instructions, soak in water, and thoroughly squeeze out the water.
  • Then place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 1 to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and then continue making the complete dahi vada recipe.

Notes

Ingredient Notes

  • Lentils: It is best to make the recipe with skinned urad dal. You can add about ¼ cup of moong lentils. Soak them with the urad lentils and then blend or grind adding water as required to a smooth consistency.
  • Curd: Remember to use fresh yogurt. I always use homemade curd, but store bought is just fine. Do not use yogurt which has become sour. 
  • Chutney: Both the coriander chutney and tamarind chutney can be made at home up to a week in advance, or bought ready made. The leftover green chutney stays good for a couple of days in the refrigerator. The tamarind chutney can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month, and is great to serve with other Indian snacks.

Recipe Notes & Variations

  • Soaking: To get a good soft urad dal vada, remember to soak the lentils for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Grind the batter really well adding water as needed. 
  • Aerating batter: Whisk the lentil batter briskly for 2 to 3 minutes. This incorporates air into the batter and make the vada fluffy and soft.
  • Variations: You can make the dahi vada with just the sweet tamarind chutney and yogurt, and leave off the spicy green coriander chutney, if you like. 
  • No garlic version: To make a no-garlic version dahi vada, just skip adding the garlic in the green coriander chutney.
  • Vegan options: Use cashew yogurt, almond yogurt or coconut yogurt.
  • Scaling: For a small batch, simply halve the recipe. For parties or get-togethers, double the recipe.
  •  

Frying Notes

Fry the vada at just the right temperature in the oil. The oil should reach a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees Celsius, or 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To check without a thermometer, add some droplets of the batter with a spoon in the hot oil. 
The batter should sizzle and come up on the surface of oil swiftly and steadily. If the batter droplets stay at the bottom of the pan, the oil is cold. If it comes up too quickly and becomes dark browned or burnt, the oil is too hot.
Do not overcrowd the pan while frying. Overcrowding will lower the oil temperature, and as a result the vada will soak more oil.
Note the approximate nutrition info is for 1 dahi vada. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Dahi Vada Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 dahi vada)
Calories 44 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 75mg3%
Potassium 32mg1%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 53IU1%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 18mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 1µg0%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 4mg1%
Phosphorus 14mg1%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This dahi vada recipe post from the blog archives (November 2013) has been republished and updated on 18 February 2021.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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120 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful that sharing is caring and you also learn with feedback that is new to you. India is all about integration…I mean culture food and many more things. Wish you continue with this journey successfully.

  2. I like pictured illustration of recipes. When in hurry, I can directly jump into the images and I get idea of ingredients and process to make it while travelling back home from work. I pick up ingredients which are not home and start with the process. You have made it so easy. Thank you Dassana. 🙂5 stars

    1. thank you nivedita. so glad to read your comment. feels nice to know that the images help in the cooking process. as a web user, even i prefer images to videos. thanks again and welcome.

  3. I prepared it today & it turned out to be delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.5 stars

    1. welcome sneha and thanks for sharing the feedback. glad to know. happy cooking.

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