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Best Dahi Vada Recipe: ‘melt in your mouth’ dahi vada / dahi bhalla recipe (fried Indian lentil dumplings), that’s served with yogurt and sweet-spicy chutney.
Diwali (Indian festival of lights) is just around the corner and these Best Dahi Vada Recipe are a MUST!
It’s also one of the MOST famous Indian street food that’s found in India.
Especially in the Northern states where the ‘Dahi Vada / Dahi Bais are famous for being extremely soft and served with a thick sweetened yogurt with spicy mint+tamarind chutney !!!
I remember, every time we visited Lucknow or other cities in UP (Uttar Pradesh), we would literally hog plates of dahi vada’s from the famous restaurants and even at home….yup we LOVE it so much!Hence, it was very important for us (almost as a mission) to learn ‘How to Make the Softest & BEST Dahi Vada’!
This recipe is one of those heirloom recipes that’s passed in our family from generations and we always start the festive season recipes prep with this one.
Since it’s a festive recipe and everyone eat’s 2-3 dahi vada’s, we always make double the required quantity (it’s easily frozen for later use incase any are left).
These Dahi Vada or Best Dahi Vada recipe as we call them uses few ingredients (easily found in stores):
Urad Dal (husked black lentil)
Moong Dal / Mung Dal (petite yellow lentils)
Hing (asafetida) optional
Now, before discussing the Best Dahi Vada recipe, let’s first get some Fact’s out of the way:
Traditionally, ‘Dahi Vada’ is made using ONLY Urad Dal but as it’s often consumed in large quantities, it often becomes extremely heavy to digest them due to urad dal (which is a heavier lentil to digest).
Hence, we always mix ‘Moong Dal’ which is extremely light (easily digested), to give the same delicious flavor and consistency.
The proportion that we have been using is: 1 Cup Urad Dal with 1/4 Cup Moong Dal
Now that we have these facts cleared, let’s get started with the Dahi Vada Process.
The lentils are soaked overnight so that they swell up to their maximum size and gives a soft texture.
However, a lot of times, when I’m in a hurry and I haven’t soaked the lentils overnight, this tip comes most handy.
You can soak the lentils in boiling water for a minimum of 1hour to get a soft texture and increased size.
Once the lentils have puffed up, you simply add the peppercorns, ginger, hing and pulse them with little water as we want an extremely thick batter/dough.
1- Before pulsing the lentils, strain the water it’s soaked in a separate bowl. Now use this water to make a thick batter.
2- This results in a more flavorful batter than if you use fresh water.
3- Always whisk the batter using a fork or a large whisk to incorporate some air for a lighter and fluffy batter.
4- Whisking the batter results in extra fluffy and softest dahi vada.
Once you have whisked the batter, you can either use your hand to pour the batter (one vada/dumpling) at a time or use a large spoon (pic above).
1- Always heat the oil to a high temperature and then reduce it to medium.
2- Always fry the vada in medium to low heat for that extra soft texture.
3- Always leave some space between vada as they will fluff up and need space to cook.
Once the vada’s are made, keep them on a kitchen towel or paper to soak up any excess oil.
Now, if you are consuming all the vada’s at once, then you are good to go but if you have made extra for later use, then use this tip.
1- Store the vada when they reach room temperature (this guarantees softness).
2- Always store vada’s in 2-3 different ziplock as you can easily thaw 1 at a time.
3- You can defrost the vada in a large microwavable bowl too.
The number one concern with ‘Dahi Bada’ recipe is that it’s not soft enough or the center is hard or the vada’s are not like you get them in the restaurants.
The answer is: Soaking the Fried Vada in Water for a few minutes!
1- If you have time, soak the vada in normal water for a good 1-2 hrs.
2- If in a hurry, simply soak the vada’s in hot water for 15-20 minutes
3- Then take each vada and press them against your palms (gently) to remove any excess water.
Soaking the vada’s in water, not only increases the size of the vada (almost double) but also makes them extremely soft.
The picture below is of the vada’s after being soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and then pressed between palms to remove excess water.
Just be careful when you handle soaked vada as they are super soft and might break if moved around too much.
This is my Family’s FAVORITE part in the whole process (lol).
The possibilities are endless but there are 3 basic things without which you CANNOT imagine this recipe:
These basic toppings take these humble fried vada (lentil dumpling) to an infinitely delicious taste.
Thick Yogurt: we use a regular store-bought yogurt that’s whisked for 1-2 minute. I also add a hint of sugar to make it slightly sweet (as we like it this way).
Chutney: You have to have ‘Green (Cilantro – Dhaniya Chutney)’ and ‘Tamarind’ chutney for this recipe. Use homemade ones or they are easily available in Indian stores.
Masala: now this part is always debatable at our house as some like it with basic salt, pepper, cumin powder and some likes to add a hint of chat masala (store-bought).
Besides these basic toppings mentioned above, you can also add:
Thinly Grated Ginger
I usually like to add more yogurt but bae likes it with less yogurt and more of toppings.
So this recipe is pretty customizable as per your need.
If you follow the tips mentioned above, I can guarantee you’d have the softest vada’s or even better than the ones you get at restaurants.
Tried Our Recipe – AWESOME!!!
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always serve with chilled yogurt.