This favorite Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla recipe has the softest lentil fritters drenched in creamy yogurt and topped with sweet and spicy chutneys. This popular Indian street food is loved by all and is a perfect inclusion to any festive menu!
Take the lentils in a large bowl and wash them a few times until the water runs clear. Soak them overnight. If you are in a pinch, you can soak them in warm water for 4 hours.
Make the batter
Drain the soaking water. Add ginger, green chili pepper, salt and lentils to a blender, such as Vitamix.
Grind on low to medium speed to form a almost smooth batter. The batter should be thick and of dropping consistency. Remove in a large bowl. (Add a little water 1 tbsp at a time if needed for blending)
Whip the lentil batter vigorously to make it light and fluffy. You can do that with a spoon or ladle. (To figure out if the batter is ready to make the vada’s, drop a small ball of the batter with a spoon in a bowl filled with water. If the ball immediately starts to float on top, the batter is ready to make vada.)
Fry the Vada
Heat oil in a wok or kadhai. Make sure the oil is hot before making the Vada’s. You can check by dropping a single drop of the batter, it should rise to the top of the oil immediately. After the oil is hot, reduce to medium heat.
Add the batter to the oil using a spoon or ice-cream scooper. (Take water in a small bowl. Take a large spoon, dip it in water, then take batter in the spoon and drop it in the hot oil. Now before making the next vada, dip the spoon in water again and then take the batter. Repeat for each vada)
When you drop the Vada’s in the oil, then keep pouring oil over them using a ladle. When the Vada’s look cooked (golden brown in color) are done on one side, flip them over with a ladle.
When the other side is done, take them out in a bowl lined with a paper napkin to soak the excess oil. Fry in batches. Do not overcrowd when frying the Vadas.
Soak the Vada's
Now soak the vada’s in lukewarm water as soon as they are fried for about 15 minutes. The vada’s will soak up the water, double in size and become super soft.
Now take each vada and gently press in between of your palms to remove excess water.
Assemble the Dahi Vada
Whisk the yogurt and season it with salt and sugar. If the yogurt is too thick, add some water or milk to get the right consistency.
Place the softened vada’s from step 4 in a bowl. Pour the yogurt over them, so they are all covered with the yogurt. Drop the tamarind chutney and mint cilantro chutney over them and sprinkle the roasted cumin powder and red chili powder.
(optional) You can now refrigerate this for 1-2 hours so the lentil balls soak in the yogurt.
Garnish with some cilantro and Enjoy!
Yogurt: I use homemade yogurt. But either homemade or store bought plain yogurt will work well. Tips to make the softest Dahi Bhalla
Use the suggested lentil ratio to make the Bhalla.
Whisk the batter well before making the vada. Whisking incorporate air into the batter, which makes the bhalla’s turn out light and airy.
The oil to fry the vada should be hot. Do not fry bhallas in cold oil, as they will fall flat. Fry vada on medium heat, so their center is well cooked.
Do not overcrowd when frying the vadas, as they expand a bit when frying.
Storing Dahi Vada for later:After taking of the vada’s from the oil, cool the vada’s to room temperature before storing them in a ziploc bag or air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Do not soak the vada’s that you want to store in water.Dahi Bhallas stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 2 months. To use freezed vada, thaw them in the refrigerator. Using stored Dahi Vada:In a large saucepan, boil ample amount of water and turn off the flame. Add the stored (or thawed vada) to the hot water and let them rest for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.If you have time, then they are water cool down. If you are in a hurry, then after 15-20 minutes, add cold water to the bowl. Once the Vada’s are cool enough to pick, take out each vada and gently press it in between your palms. Now it is ready to add to yogurt.