Sunday, August 30, 2009

5 star Dahi Vada

Why does the temperature have to catapult to over one hundred suddenly, for days on end? Just when we thought we were over the worst for this year. Well, the heat sent my mind off in a desperate search for cool foods and I came up with dahi vades. Having loved these for years, I have to share this recipe as it comes out great.
For those who have never heard of them...
What are dahi vadas/vades?
Deep fried lentil balls, soaked in seasoned yogurt. Served cold as an accompaniment to a spicy meal or alone as a snack, these are mouth wateringly satisfying.


1 cup urad dal (white lentils from the Indian grocery store).
( This quantity makes about forty vades of one inch diameter).
2 quarts yogurt.
For seasoning: mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves and hing (asafoetedia).
1 small carton buttermilk.
Ginger, green chillies, jeera and chilli powder, chaat masala.
Green and sweet chutney.
Store bought, very fine sev. (Sev is a crunchy mix made by deep frying a lentil mixture pressed through a fine lentil press).
Oil for deep frying. (I use a mixture of corn oil and olive oil).

Wash and soak these for 3-4 hours. Grind till smooth but do not add too much water.
Dough should be a little thicker than idli batter...dropping consistency.
Add 1/3 tsp baking soda to dough and blend another minute to mix well.
Allow dough to rise for 2-3 hours. (I leave it in the blender to rise.)

Season 2 quarts yogurt/curd: Heat one tsp oil. Add 1 tbsp rai, 4 red chillies, twenty curry leaves and 1/3 tsp hing. Add salt and one tsp sugar to yogurt. Mix and refrigerate.

Grind 2 green chillies, 3/4 inch ginger. Mix into vada dough. If you're making this for kids or people who can't eat spicy food, remove some batter for them and add masala to the rest.
Mix well with salt.

Heat four cups water in a saucepan and keep on simmer on a back burner.

Heat oil in a wok/frying pan/kadai. When you put in a drop of dough and it rises to the top immediately, oil is ready. Drop vades in by the teaspoonful and fry six at a time. Vades flatten out in oil. If oil is smoking turn it down as only outside will fry. If oil is too cool, the vades are going to absorb the oil. Fry golden brown on both sides, then pick up with slotted spoon and slide into hot water on back burner. Leave for a minute or two...this strips the layer of oil on the vades.
Drop next batch of vades into the oil and while they fry, use a different spoon, remove the vades from the hot water and place them in a flat dish. Turn the vades that are frying over in the oil.
When you have them all in a single layer in a flat dish, pour buttermilk to cover them. If buttermilk is too thick, dilute it with a little water. I get the store bought buttermilk and some brands are too thick. The idea here is for the vades to soak up the buttermilk.
If you are freezing the vades, this would be the stage to do it.
I refrigerate them after adding the buttermilk and half an hour before serving, I add the thick seasoned yogurt in a layer on top, gently making room (with a small spoon) for yogurt to settle between the vades.
People use less yoghurt and water it down, but this dish is el supremo when thickest yoghurt is added at the end. These dahi vades just melt in your mouth and once you make them, you will never be able to eat those hard in the center vades some people serve.
On top sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves, chilli powder, jeera powder and chaat masala. When I can get it, I add some fine sev on top. A drizzle of hot chutney (made with green chillies, coriander, salt and lime) and sweet chutney (blend dates with a little tamarind, jaggery, chilli, jeera and ginger powders) makes this even better.
I usually save the chutney when we order samosas and then use those on the dahi vades...if there's a shortcut you can trust me to find it.
Beat the heat with this cool treat.


lan said...

mmm.....just what i need now with temps staying what they are. i make dal/parippu vadas but haven't tried my hand at urad vadas. i will get to them soon esp with that picture there... said...

Let me know how they come out.
Hope you find this easy to make.
They go well with a spicy curry/fry and rice.

lan said...

geeta, is is right about dropping the vadas into hot water after frying? won't that make them soggy?
what about the whole that is usually found in the middle of the vada? or is it just that dahi vadas do not need it? said...

lan sorry to take so long getting back to you...was away till now.
Re. the hole...traditional dahi vades do have them...I just opt for the easy way out dropping the mixture into the oil with a spoon.
The test is in the end taste.
Dropping the vades into hot water removes the oily coating and makes it possible for them to soak up the curd/buttermilk.
Also if left too long in the water they will get soggy...they do get a little heavy and need to be removed carefully from the water.
Some people squeeze the water out of each vade, using the back of a slotted spoon. I don't...I just drain them and put them into the buttermilk.
Again, sorry to take so long to reply.

lan said...

geeta, don't worry. dahi vada is intimidating to me and will take a while for me to do. just wanted to collect my answers. that is all:-)