Every year, I organise Holi party at my home for my friends and family. It’s like a norm which I religiously follow, for no religious reason though. But simply due to my love for the festival, and the childhood memories associated with it. The spice, colours and fun this festival imbibe in itself, I am a diehard fan of it and want to re-live the spirit every year.
There are a few things that I have to prepare for my party every year. Personally, I don’t get the feeling of celebrating Holi without these things. Dahi Bhalla is one such snack without which my Holi party remains less than perfect. I have ALWAYS had Dahi Bhalla on Holi, always! And I hope I continue with that tradition forever. Check out what else do I make on Holi- my favorite Holi recipes.
Well, why am I posting a Holi special recipe just before Diwali? That’s coz these Bhallas make an amazing appetizer and are good for any Indian festival. These can be made in advance and you only need to pour yoghurt on top with some garnishing before serving. And they look appetizing and colourful on the platter. All the more reason to make these a staple for every party you throw.
Dahi Bhalla and Dahi Vada are kind of synonyms to each other. The basic recipe is very much the same, with some minor changes to the toppings added. Dahi vada is simply – Vadas in yoghurt with some chutneys and spices on top. Some people also like to add a little bit of sugar in the yoghurt. While Dahi Bhalla is more of a Punjabi version with oodles of Papdi/Sev/Namkeen/fried mixtures spooned on top of that. So basically, Dahi bhalla is just a bit more spicier and crunchier than Dahi Vada. Although the toppings do differ region to region and hence to me that’s no difference at all.
I have seen people flinching at the thought of making Dahi Vada at home, somehow assuming that the whole process is very tedious and requires a lot of practise. I beg to disagree. Dahi vada is the simplest of all the snacks I could have on a party menu. That’s another reason I keep it there always. It’s very filling and yet feels light to the stomach. I usually don’t require another fried snack to complete my starter menu, just something hot and spicy along with and am sorted. I also tend to keep dinner light since this much of starter fills people up to their gills anyway. Psst.. that’s our little secret!
Coming to the recipe – Trust me peeps, it’s no rocket science to make the soft and melt in mouth vadas. Here are some tips to get perfect vadas/bhallas each time you make them:
- The main secret lies in beating the vada batter till light and airy, the consistency of the batter is extremely important and will decide how soft the vadas will turn out.
- Another thing which you have to keep in mind is the time for which you soak the vadas in warm water. If you soak them for too long, they will disintegrate. And if the time is too less, they will turn out hard. I always soak them for an hour before serving in lukewarm water and it works for me perfectly.
- The batter should be used immediately after whisking to prepare the vadas. If you keep it aside for a while, you need to beat it again properly before dropping in to fry. Else the vadas will turn out very hard.
- Use fresh thick curd that is not sour, else it may spoil the whole taste. You may add a tsp of sugar and beat the curd properly to mix it.
Do make the green coriander chutney and sweet dates & tamarind chutney a day ahead to reduce your preparation time and pressure. So what are you waiting for, lets prepare another batch of soft and fluffy Dahi bhallas for Diwali and impress everyone! OK, that last bit was just to brag..
What you need?
- 1 cup urad dal
- 1 green chili, chopped (hari mirch)
- ½ inch ginger, chopped (adrak)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 2-3 tbsp water for grinding the batter or as required
- salt as required – a generous pinch
For making Yoghurt base:
- 2 cups thick yogurt
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- ½ tsp red chili powder or as required
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder(Bhuna jeera powder)
- ½ tsp black salt
- A small pinch of icing sugar (boora)
How to make?
First, let’s prepare the Vadas-
- Wash the lentils thoroughly 5-7 times in fresh water and soak them in enough water overnight, or at least for 5 hours in a cool dry place.
- Drain and transfer to a grinder. Add in chopped green chilies, ginger, cumin seeds and asafoetida and grind to a fluffy smooth batter. Add little water in intervals while grinding, not more than 5 tbsp altogether.
- Transfer the batter to a big mixing bowl, add salt and whisk it for a couple of seconds to make it airy.
- In the meanwhile, heat oil in a wok (kadhai) for deep frying. Check the temperature by dropping a drop of batter and if it sizzles to top, you know that the temperature is just right for the frying
- With the help of a round bottom spoon or ladle, drop the batter into the hot oil and deep fry the vadas in batches. Keep the flame on low-medium so they get cooked properly from inside. Fry till golden and crisp and drain on a paper towel.
- In a wide bowl, take some warm water. Soak all vadas in the water for 25-30 minutes. Do not press or squeeze them at this point. Simply soak them giving enough space to expand. You may use 2-3 separate bowls/pans for this purpose
Now, while the vadas are soaked, we will prepare the yoghurt base (curd/dahi) –
- Take yoghurt in a mixing bowl and whisk till smooth. Add enough water till desired consistency (not too runny) and beat till all mixed up
- Add salt, black salt and a pinch of sugar if you are adding it, mix everything well
Once you are ready to serve –
- Squeeze vadas gently by pressing between your palms, and place them into the serving dish. Pour in the whisked yoghurt over them evenly.
- Top with the green coriander chutney and tamarind dates chutney as required. Sprinkle with the red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, chaat masala and black salt as preferred.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), and serve immediately
Notes and variations:
- The leftover green chutney and tamarind chutney can be refrigerated and served with other Indian snacks.
- Instead of the Dates and Tamarind Chutney, you may also make the plain Tamarind Jaggery chutney, the recipe of which I will post very soon. For more Chutney and dips, click here.
- Some other interesting toppings used are – Pomegranate seeds , boiled chickpeas, boiled potato cubes, fresh coriander leaves etc. All for you to play around
- Beating the batter for vada is very important since that ensures Vadas soak less oil and are made soft and fluffy
- If after a couple of trials, your vadas are still not fluffy enough, you may add a pinch of Soda into the batter while beating. This will make Vadas super soft
Click for more Indian Snacks and appetizers recipes
Click for more Diwali special recipes
Sharing it with Kalyani’s “Monsoon Mojo” event