Dahi Vada

By Published On: 12 Jun '22Last Updated: 14 Apr '24

Dahi Vada is a delectable deep fried sweet, savoury and tangy snack/dessert perfect for yogurt lovers! Each mouthful is irresistible and deeply moreish!!

WINTER 2022 is here for us downunder. The chill factor in the cold wind is not pleasant but luckily today is a sunny day and the sun has inspired me to cook something delicious, something South Indian!! What better way to kick off a winter Sunday than with a feel good plate of ‘Dahi Vadas’ made with soft pillows of split black gram balls soaked in a sweetened Curd/Yogurt Sauce with garnishes galore!! They are called as Dahi Vada/Thayir Vadai in South India however they are called as ‘Dahi Bhalla’ (shown in the above image) in the North (Delhi). The garnishes of deliciously flavourful, sweet and savoury chutneys along with some savoury sprinkles distinguish them from the Dahi Vadas of South India.

Dahi Vadas are a popular street food all day snack in India. They are made during Indian festivals such as Holi, Diwali or Raksha Bandhan. That said, I make them quite often as they taste super delicious and for me they are surely a walk down memory lane.

Dahi Vada is a sweet and savoury deep fried snack from South India. Dahi = Curd/Yogurt and Vada = ball made out of ground pulses. Vadas can be made with most types of gram or a mix of lentils. They can be round, made into flat shapes or into rustic shapes. You can eat them for special occasions, as an appetizer, an all day snack, a dessert or even for breakfast, if you were born in India and love all things Indian!!.

I love to eat hot vadas on their own straight from the deep fryer, however soaking them in sweet and savoury curd sauce makes them delectable!

Dahi vadas are made by blending soaked split black gram (urid dhal), which are then deep fried and then turned into soft pillows by dunking them in a sweet savoury curd/yogurt sauce. As a final step, they are seasoned with black mustard seeds and curry leaves to turn them into a flavoursome en-tray, all-day snack or dessert, if you like for festivals or otherwise. I have eaten them growing up and the taste just lingers on after all those years. I knew that one day, I would prepare this snack in my own kitchen for my family as dahi vadas were a treat when I was growing up. I used to look forward to eating them at a famous snacky restaurant called “Diana”, as my mum never made dahi vadas at home.

These vadas can be enjoyed during all seasons and they are delicious be it summer, autumn, winter or spring. Their savoury sweet taste and soft texture can be relished by the very young and the very old also!

DAHI VADA COMPONENTS

To make Dahi Vadas, you will need to first prepare your Medu Vadas/Biscuit Ambades. The recipe yields 30-32 small to medium medu vadas. For the Dahi Vada recipe, instead of making small to medium vadas, I have made about 12-15 medium to large vadas. Larger vadas are nicer in the Dahi Vada recipe. Once the vadas are ready, you will need to prepare the Curd/Yogurt Sauce (sweet savory sauce) to soak the vadas in and seasoning to add flavour to the vadas. The garnishes are optional.

You may include a simple garnish of a sprinkle of chilli powder and coriander leaves. A good drizzle of some green chutney and tamarind chutney (you can buy these chutneys at your local Indian grocery store) over the vadas adds that extra savoury taste. You can sprinkle some sev (very fine strands of fried gram flour) or boondi (tiny crispy balls made with gram flour) for a little crunch. Sev and boondi can be bought at your local Indian grocery store.

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

soaking the vadas

Once you have made the Vada/Biscuit Ambade as per the link above, while they are still hot, soak them in warm salted water for 20-30 minutes to soften them and release some of the oil. Softening them makes them porous and absorb the curd/yogurt sauce. Do not skip this step. If you forget or skip this step, the vadas will be like golf balls (hard and stiff) and will not absorb the yogurt mixture!!!

Pour 3 cups of warm water into a large heatproof bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt and stir until dissolved. Add the fried vadas, while they are still hot. Soak for 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes they begin to feel spongy

After 25 minutes, place a vada in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze out the excess water. Place vada in a large serving dish or platter. Do not worry if the vada splits. Repeat with all the vadas. Discard the water in the bowl

STEPs for curd/yogurt sauce

While the vadas are soaking, prepare the Curd/Yogurt Sauce. You will have enough time to prepare the sauce and the seasoning.

Ingredients for the Yogurt Sauce

Freshly grated coconut

Green chillies

Chopped Ginger (optional)

Curry leaves (optional)

Sugar

Black Salt or normal salt

Full cream yogurt

Water (not displayed)

Place coconut, green chillies, ginger (if using) and curry leaves (if using) in the chutney attachment of your blender or a similar appliance. Add approx 40mL water.

Close lid and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Combine sugar, water and salt until sugar is well dissolved

Add the sugar mixture and the blended coconut mixture to the yogurt. Whisk well to combine. The yogurt will be a little runny so the vadas will have plenty of juices to absorb without drying out. Yogurt sauce is now ready!

Vadas with excess water squeezed out. Now the vadas are ready to pour the yogurt sauce over them

Pour the curd/yogurt sauce evenly over the vadas

Vadas in yogurt sauce. There is no seasoning added yet. Vadas can be eaten without seasoning also.

Once the yogurt sauce is added, the vadas need to soak for 3 to 4 hours or overnight for the vadas to absorb the delicious yogurt sauce.

Do not skip this important step!!!

STEPs for seasoning

While the vadas are soaking, prepare the seasoning. Vadas are delicious even without the seasoning but the seasoning adds colour, flavour and texture to the vadas.

Ingredients

Oil

Asafoetida

Mustard seeds

Urid dhal (split husked black gram)

Curry leaves

Heat oil in a small frying pan on medium heat

Add asafoetida and let it sizzle for one second. Asafoetida equalises the gases in the stomach

Add mustard seeds and splutter. This only takes a couple of seconds as the oil has reached temperature

Add urid dhal and brown slightly. Do not burn the dhal

Finally add curry leaves and splutter. Takes only a second. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes

Spoon cooled seasoning evenly over the vadas. Using a fork, gently distribute the seasoning around, without disturbing the vadas. In the image, I have sprinkled a pinch of chilli powder for some colour

Delectable South Indian style Dahi Vadas are now ready!!

OPTIONAL GARNISHES

The above are authentic South Indian Dahi Vadas. Back in the day, the seasoning mentioned above was the only garnish that was added. Things have changed and now even South Indians prefer to eat Dahi Vadas with many garnishes (all of which can be bought from your local Indian grocery store).

If you are looking for a symphony of exotic flavours and textures all in one mouthful, check recipe card below for those optional magical garnishes.

I hope you enjoy making these dahi vadas and I hope your family loves them whenever you make them!!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below. If you want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa.

Dahi Vada

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
Dahi Vada is a snack/dessert perfect for yogurt lovers!  These vadas are first deep fried, which are then dunked into a sweet savoury yogurt sauce. Serve them with a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves for a South Indian version.  They are delectable garnished with boondi, sev, tamarind chutney and coriander chutney for a symphony of exotic flavours and textures all in one mouthful!!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Course Afternoon tea, All day snack, Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 12-15 Medu Vadas https://deliciouslyindian.net/biscuit-ambademedu-vada/
  • 3