Chewy, tender, tangy and sweet dahi vada is a combination of all your favorite flavors and textures in one tasty snack. They consist of homemade fried lentil dumpling fritters, dipped in creamy whipped yogurt and topped with spicy and sweet chutneys. Try my heirloom and classic dahi vada recipe for a fun appetizer or party treat to share.
What is Dahi Vada
Dahi Vada is a popular street food from North India. “Dahi” means yogurt and “Vada” means fried donuts or dumplings, and the recipe is about as simple as it sounds.
The chewy, melt-in-your-mouth dumplings are coated in a simple creamy yogurt and topped with classic Indian chutneys.
Dahi vada are often prepared for special occasions and festivals, but can also be enjoyed anytime for a festive snack or appetizer.
A perfect dahi vada recipe begins with tender, puffy homemade fried lentil fritters that are soaked in water, drained, and then topped with tangy whipped yogurt.
These chewy donuts are traditionally made with ivory-skinned urad dal, also known as black gram bean or urad bean or matpe bean.
Generous portions of spicy green cilantro chutney and sweet tamarind chutney are sprinkled beautifully before serving.
The result is an impressive and delicious snack that includes the right balance of sour, sweet, salty and spicy flavors in every bite.
Although dahi vada take some time to prepare, you will quickly see with one taste how much each effort is worth. And, much of the prep work – like making the chutneys and yogurt – can be done well in advance.
Follow my step-by-step instructions below to learn how to make the best traditional and authentic dahi vada recipe from scratch, with tips to make sure they turn out great every time.
How to make Dahi Vada
Soak the lentils
1. Soak 1 cup of packed urad dal (200 grams of peeled and split black lentils) overnight or for at least 4 to 5 hours. Later, drain all the water using a colander or colander. If you prefer, you can wash the soaked urad dal.
2. Then add the drained and soaked lentils to your trusted blender or blender-grinder.
3. Add ½ teaspoon of chopped green peppers or Serrano / Thai peppers, 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing) and salt as needed.
Note: For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free asafoetida or omit it.
4. Mix or grind, adding ¼ cup to ½ cup of water in portions to obtain a smooth and chewy dough. Depending on the quality, age of the lentils and the soaking time, the amount of water can vary from ½ to ¾ cup. Keep in mind that the dough has a thick to medium thick fluid consistency.
Grind in two batches or in one batch depending on the capacity and size of your blender or mixer-grinder.
TIP 1: Adding lots of water will make the dough thinner, resulting in a flat vada that absorbs more oil. A thin or runny dough will always absorb more oil during frying.
TIP 2: If the dough becomes runny or runny, add rice flour or sooji (rava, semolina) to the dough and mix well to thicken it. Don’t add too much sooji as this can give the vada a dense texture.
TIP 3: To check if the dough has the right consistency, place a few drops of dough in a bowl of water. Dough with the correct consistency will float on the surface of the water. If the dough has become thin, it will sink or dissolve in water.
Aerate the dough
5. Take the ground dough in a bowl using a silicone spatula. Then whisk the dough briskly and vigorously for two to three minutes with a spoon, whisk or spatula.
Whip the dough aerates it and makes it softer and lighter. As a result, you get a smoother and more porous vada.
6. Stir in 1 tablespoon of raisins (chopped) and 12-15 cashews (coarsely chopped). These are optional ingredients and you can omit them if you want.
Checking the oil temperature
7. Heat the oil as needed for frying in a kadai (Indian wok) or pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. The oil should have a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees Celsius.
To check without a thermometer, add a few drops of the paste using a spoon. It should sizzle and rise to the surface of the oil quickly and gradually.
Also Read: Medu Vada Recipe (Black Gram Donuts)
If the dough droplets remain at the bottom of the pan, the oil is cold. If it rises very quickly and becomes too brown or burnt, the oil is very hot.
8. Once the oil has reached the correct heat or temperature, you can now carefully drop the dough with your fingers (without touching the hot oil) or with a spoon in medium hot oil. Fry the vada in portions until crisp and golden.
I prefer to use a spoon. You can moisten the spoon with a little water so that the dough slides easily.
Make the vada having more or less the equal size. If you end up doing different sizes, the smaller size vada will fry quickly and the larger size vada will take longer. So take note and remove the smaller vadas when they look golden and crisp all over.
Do not overload the pan or the kadai. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil, and as a result, the vadas will absorb more oil. The vada also expands a bit during frying.
9. Let the bottom side turn lightly browned and crispy. Then just twist them or they will break in the oil.
10. Turn over again and a few more times while frying. This ensures even cooking and you should see an even golden color throughout.
11. Place the vada on absorbent paper. In this way, fry the remaining vada in batches using all the batter. If you want to use half the dough, refrigerate the dough for a few days or freeze it for a month.
12. Wait 2-3 minutes and while they are still hot, add the vada to the water (at room temperature) and let them dip for 12-15 minutes. The vada will release some of the oil and soak the water increasing in size a bit with a change in color.
13. Press each soaked vada between your palms to remove excess water. Press gently, otherwise you might end up breaking them
14. Squeeze out all the soaked vada this way and keep them aside on a plate or you can arrange them in the bowl or tray you will be serving dahi vada.
Assembly of add-ons for Dahi Vada
15. Beat 2.5 cups chilled curd (yogurt) until even. Check the taste of the curd before assembling it. The curd should not taste sour, bitter or sour. It should be fresh with a pleasant sweet and sour taste. I suggest using Homemade Curd.
16. Keep your chutneys ready. Here is the Spicy Cilantro (Cilantro) Chutney and this is how it is made.
Take the ingredients listed below in a small blender or blender and blend until smooth.
- 2 cups of coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of amchur powder (dry mango powder)
- ½ teaspoon of chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon of green peppers
- ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds or cumin powder
- salt as needed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or as required
17. You can prepare the chutneys a day earlier before making the dahi vada. Refrigerate both chutneys.
Making Dahi Vada
18. In a large serving bowl or platter, arrange the vada that you set aside after squeezing out the water.
19. Evenly pour the beaten curds all over the vada, covering them completely.
20. Pour in the green coriander chutney and the mild tamarind chutney as you wish.
21. Sprinkle the dahi vada with a few pinches of red chili or cayenne pepper, roasted cumin powder, cup of pomegranate arils (optional), chaat masala and / or black salt.
Garnish with 2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves and serve immediately. Or you can refrigerate a few hours before serving.
How to store Dahi Vada at home
Wrap the dish in plastic wrap or transfer it to a container with a lid and store leftover dahi vada in the refrigerator overnight or for a day only. Longer and the taste of yogurt changes.
My recipe is 60 vada. Lentil balls can be made ahead and frozen before assembling the complete dish. Prepare the donuts according to the recipe instructions, soak them in water and wring out the water thoroughly.
Then place in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue to make the complete dahi vada recipe.