Learn how to make a soft, melt-in-your-mouth Dahi Bhalla recipe with this fool-proof method. This is a gluten-free recipe where lentil fritters are drenched in seasoned yogurt and garnished with various chutneys and spices.
You don’t need a special occasion to indulge in these lip-smackingly delicious Dahi bhallas, and the best part, they’re loved and relished by children and adults alike!
It is almost impossible to celebrate a special occasion in India without a few quintessential delicacies like ladoos, burfis, halwa, and let me add one of my favorites to this list, and that is – Dahi Bhalla!
Whether it be Holi, Diwali, birthday celebrations, or anniversaries – Dahi Bhalla was always on the menu.
When it comes to authentic street food, dahi Bhalla has always been one of my all-time favorite snacks. Back home, I thoroughly enjoyed chaat variants like Ragda pattice, Aloo Tikki, Pav bhaji, and Ram ladoos from our local street vendors.
Honestly speaking, this is one of the things I miss the most while staying away from home – Indian Street food. No matter wherever I go, my love for street food is endless, and nothing can replace it.
Therefore, to satisfy my chaat cravings, I always store some fried Bhallas/vadas along with a jar full of green chutney and Tamarind chutney ready in my refrigerator.
So the minute my family or I crave chaat, I can instantly prepare some in a jiffy and surprise my family with a plate full of their favorites.
A bowl of this classic comfort food is guaranteed to brighten a gloomy day.
What is Dahi Bhalla?
For those unfamiliar with the term Dahi Bhalla recipe, Dahi stands for yogurt, and Bhalla means deep-fried lentil fritters.
Collectively it means, deep-fried lentil fritters served with yogurt. It is a popular North Indian street food that no one can resist.
Dahi Bhalla goes by many names, including Dahi bara (in Orissa), Dahi vada (in the South), Dahi Bhalla (in Punjabi), and dahi baray (in Marathi). Even though this recipe affectionately has multiple names, it is super easy to make, has a short ingredients list, and comes together quickly.
Difference between Dahi Bhalla and Dahi vada!
Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla is often used interchangeably to describe the same dish, but they are two different things. The people from the North usually call it Dahi Bhalla or Dahi Bhalle, whereas, in the Southern part of India, it is called Dahi vada.
Today, the recipe that I am sharing is the Dahi Bhalla recipe, made with a blend of 2 different lentils: urad dal (split black gram without skin) and moong dal (split yellow lentils), and is typically made in a round shape.
Dahi Vada (the South version) is traditionally prepared with urad dal (split black gram without skin) and is made in a donut shape. Furthermore, the South Indian version is often topped with a tempering of curry leaves, green chilies, and hing (asafoetida).
Ingredient list for Dahi Bhalla
Here is a list of ingredients that you will need to make this no-fail light and fluffy Dahi Bhalla recipe. This part explains the role of each element in this recipe. Please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for a complete list of ingredients with measurements.
» Lentils – For this recipe, I have used a blend of Urad ki dhuli dal (split black gram without skin), and Yellow Moong Dal (Split Yellow lentils) as the texture of both the lentils complement each other perfectly.
» Seasonings – To keep it simple, I have added salt and roasted cumin seeds to the lentils. However, if you like, you can flavor the bhallas with ginger paste and green chili too.
» Water – Just a small amount to grind the bhallas. Do not add too much water to the Bhalla mixture then; you’ll need to compensate it with extra dry ingredients.
» Yogurt – That’s our main ingredient; the addition of yogurt is what completes this dish as – Dahi Bhalla. Use thick, creamy yogurt for this recipe.
» Spices – To season the yogurt (dahi) in this recipe, add spices like red chili powder, roasted cumin seeds, and salt. I have added a small amount of sugar to the dahi as the sweetness from the sugar will counteract any sour flavor of the yogurt.
» Garnishes – These are our showstoppers. Dress up your Dahi Bhalla plate with a generous amount of green chutney, tamarind chutney, red chili powder, chaat Masala, and thin sev.
How to make soft and airy Dahi Bhallas?
1. Soak the lentils overnight – Rinse and soak the lentils for 6-7 hours or overnight. Make sure you use a large bowl to soak the lentils as they will double in size.
2. Grind the lentils and make the batter – After the soak time is over, drain and rinse the lentils again. Add the lentils to a food processor or blender, add 2 tablespoons water, and pulse into a fine paste. Open the blender and scrape the lentils from the sides, add another tablespoon of water, and pulse again. Do not add all the water at once; add it in batches. Pour just enough water to grind the dal into a thick yet fine paste. The batter should be thick and of dropping consistency.
3. Beat the batter – This is the most important step. Whisk the Bhalla batter for about 5-6 minutes or until it is well aerated and double in size. You can use either a hand whisk, electric whisk, or a stand mixer to aerate the batter.
4. Test the batter – Before you proceed to the next step, test your bhalla batter. Take a small portion of the batter and drop it in a glass of water. If it floats on top, you are all set, but if it sinks, then you need to whisk for a few more minutes until you attain that texture. Perform the water test again and then proceed. Just remember the batter should FLOAT in water.
5. Fry the bhallas– Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, use an ice cream scoop and drop the Bhalla batter into the oil. Fry the bhallas for about 7-8 minutes over medium-high heat, turning them occasionally until they turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set them on a paper napkin to drain. Let them cool.
6. Soak the bhallas – Add the cooled bhallas to a pan of hot water. Cover and let them soak for about 15-20 minutes. Bhallas will soak up the water, and double in size and become soft. After the desired time is over, take each bhalla out of the warm water and gently press it between your plans to remove excess water. Set it on a plate. Repeat this process with all the bhallas.
7. Assembling the Dahi Bhalla – Whisk chilled yogurt along with the spices until smooth. You can thin the yogurt with milk or water. Pour yogurt into a deep dish. Add the Bhallas to the yogurt.
Cover the dahi bhallas with an extra layer of yogurt.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Dai bhalla tastes good when chilled.
8. Serve – Just before serving, garnish with green chutney, tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds, and thin sev.
Recipe tips to make soft and fluffy Dahi Bhalla
Do you, at times, end up with hard Dahi Bhallas? At least I have, but with a few tricks, you can easily overcome this problem.
Follow the measures below correctly, and you will make the perfect melt-in-your-mouth kind of Dahi Bhallas.
» Rinse – Always rinse the lentils until tap water until the water runs clear. Rinsing removes all the dust or debris.
» Use the right ratio- Use the combination of 3/4 urad dal and 1/4 yellow moong dal for best results. This gives our dahi bhallas a more pronounced flavor of urad dal in this recipe. However, you can always opt for half of yellow moong dal and half of urad dal to balance out the flavors.
» Consistency – The batter’s consistency should be thick; therefore, be careful while adding the water. Please ensure that you do not add too much water to the batter at a time. Adding all the water at once will result in a runny batter that will be hard to fix.
» Spices – I prefer roasted cumin seeds to flavor the yogurt as it lends a nice earthy taste and flavor to dahi bhallas.
» Whisk – Whisk the bhalla batter for about 8-10 minutes with an electric beater or stand mixer until it’s light and airy: just like a cake batter. This step is essential as whisking incorporates air into the batter, and the bhallas will turn out soft and fluffy.
» Equal-sized bhalla – To ensure that you get the same-sized bhallas every time, use an ice cream scoop. Fill the ice cream scoop with bhalla batter and drop it slowly into the oil. You can lightly grease the scoop for an easy slide-out of the batter.
» Oil temperature – Do not fry the bhallas on high heat. The oil should be medium-hot. To check that, drop a little batter in the oil; if it gently floats to the top, the oil is ready. Frying them in hot oil will result in uncooked bhallas. Likewise, if the bhallas are cooked in moderately hot oil, they will soak up oil.
» Fry in batches- Do not overcrowd the pan with too many bhallas. Leave some space around for the bhallas to expand during frying.
» Soak dahi Bhallas – Always soak the dahi bhallas in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Bhallas will expand when soaked, so be sure there is enough room and water in the pan for your bhallas to expand and double in size.
» Remove water – After the desired soak time is over, gently press the bhallas in between your palms to remove excess water. Handle the soaked bhallas gently as they are extremely soft at this point and may break if pressed hard.
» If you are short on time, you can soak the lentils in warm water for 3-4 hours.
If you are not going to immediately use up all the bhallas, don’t soak them in hot water. Store the fried and completely cooled dahi bhalla in a Ziploc bag. Dahi bhalle stays good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
The assembled dahi baray ( one that is garnished with chutneys) will stay well for 2 days in the refrigerator.
If you have Dahi baray that are already dipped in water, press the bhallas to remove all the water. Wrap them in a paper towel and store them in a plastic bag. They can stay good in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Dahi Bhalla freezes beautifully. I have been doing this for many years; I often cook up a big batch of Dahi bhallas and freeze it for later use. It’s a real-time saver.
To freeze the dahi bhallas, allow them to cool comfortably. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag and press the bag gently from the top to squeeze out all the air from inside. This process will prevent the bhallas from freezer burn. Bhallas are ready for freezing. If stored well, they will stay well for 2 months.
When ready to use again, defrost the bhallas for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Heat water in a pan and soak the bhallas in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. Gently press them in between your palms to remove all the water.
Dip them in a yogurt mixture and decorate them to your liking.
If you are hosting a special Holi get-together this year, this a gorgeous side dish to serve. All your guests will love the beautiful blend of colors which makes this dish so tempting and a satiating delicacy.
Let Me Know What You Think!
Should you make this light and fluffy Dahi bhalla recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
Craving for more, try these other options:
|This recipe post has been updated from the archives, first published on July 4th, 2015|
Dahi Bhalla Recipe
- ¾ cup Urad ki dhuli dal ( split black gram without skin)
- ¼ cup Yellow Moong Dal (Split yellow lentils)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¾ teaspoon Roasted cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons Water to grind the bhallas
- – – Oil for frying
FOR YOGURT BASE
- 3 cups Yogurt
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Red chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon Roasted cumin seeds , crushed
- ¾ teaspoon Sugar (optional)
- – – Green Chutney
- – – Tamarind Chutney
- – – Roasted cumin seeds
- – – Red chili powder
- – – Chaat Masala
- – – Thin Sev
- Rinse and soak the lentils for 6-7 hours or overnight. Make sure you use a large bowl to soak the lentils as they will double in size.
- After the soak time is over, drain and rinse the lentils again.
- Add the lentils to a food processor or blender, add 2 tablespoons water, and pulse into a fine paste.
- Open the blender and scrape the lentils from the sides, add another tablespoon of water, and pulse again. Do not add all the water at once; add it in batches.
- Pour just enough water to grind the dal into a thick yet fine paste. The batter should be thick and of dropping consistency.
- Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and season it with cumin seeds and salt.
- Whisk the Bhalla batter for about 5-6 minutes or until it is well aerated and double in size. You can use either a hand whisk, electric whisk, or a stand mixer to aerate the batter.
- Take a small portion of the batter and drop it in a glass of water. If it floats on top, you are all set, but if it sinks, then you need to whisk for a few more minutes until you attain that texture. Perform the water test again and then proceed. Just remember the batter should FLOAT in water.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, use an ice cream scoop and drop the Bhalla batter into the oil.
- Fry the bhallas for about 7-8 minutes over medium-high heat, turning them occasionally until they turn golden brown.
- Once cooked, remove them from the heat.
- Set them on a paper napkin to drain. Let them cool.
SOAK DAHI BHALLAS
- Add the cooled bhallas to a pan of hot water.
- Cover and let them soak for about 15-20 minutes.
- Bhallas will soak up the water, and double in size and become soft.
- After the desired time is over, take each bhalla out of the warm water and gently press it between your plans to remove excess water. Set it on a plate. Repeat this process with all the bhallas.
- Whisk chilled yogurt along with the spices until smooth. You can thin the yogurt with milk or water.
- Pour yogurt into a deep dish. Add the Bhallas to the yogurt.
- Cover the dahi bhallas with an extra layer of yogurt.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Dahi bhalla tastes good when chilled.
- Just before serving, garnish with green chutney, tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds, and thin sev.
This recipe is intriguing.. am definitely going to have a go! Thank you 🙏🏽
My dahi baras came out very hard even after soaking in hot water.
Hali, did you fry the bhallas on high heat?
Bhallas or Dahi vada cooked on high heat will absorb too much oil and may become hard.
Hi. My batter has become little watry its not as thick as it should be. How should i go about it. If i am putting it in oil it gers scattered.
Shweta, add a tablespoon of semolina (sooji). Beat the batter and allow it to rest for a while; semolina will soak all the moisture.
The quantity of semolina depends on how runny the batter is.
Sybil DSouza says
You have an art of instantly connecting to people. Your recipies sound really appetizing .The pics and your manner of presentation makes it sound worth while a try. Will surely try them.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Sybil!
Glad to hear that you are enjoying my recipes. 😊