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