Golden brown Dahi Bhalla or Dahi vada is a popular street food across India. It’s a favorite savory snack where lentil fritters are soaked in seasoned yogurt and topped with spicy chutneys. This lip-smacking street food is loved and relished by children and adults equally!
Rainy weather calls for some deep-fried delights and what could be better than homemade Dahi Bhalla/vadas. A bowl full of crispy and crunchy bhallas/vadas topped with thick, creamy yogurt and tangy chutneys will surely brighten your gloomy day. In fact, it’s a perfect recipe to beat the rainy blues.
Dahi Bhalla is my all-time favorite snack and growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed Dahi bhallas, and chaat from our local street vendors. And honestly speaking, this is one of the things I miss the most while staying away from home – Indian Street food.
So the minute my family or I crave about chaat, I can instantly prepare some in a jiffy and surprise my family with a plate full of their favorites that they won’t be able to resist!
What is Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla?
The word ‘Dahi‘ means yogurt and ‘Vada or Bhalla‘ means fried lentil dumplings. Fried lentil dumplings are soaked in creamy yogurt and generously topped with chutneys.
The term Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla are often used interchangeably to describe the same dish. Mostly people from the North call it Dahi Bhalla or bhalle. Whatever you call it, it tastes excellent.
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is actually Dahi Bhalla that is made with a combination of 2 different lentils: urad dal (split black gram without skin) and moong dal (split yellow lentils). Dahi Vada (the South version) is traditionally prepared with urad dal (split black gram without skin).
How to make soft and airy Dahi Bhalla recipe?
This recipe is prepared in 4 easy steps.
- Soak the lentils overnight – Do not rush through this step. Lentils need to be soaked so that they swell and double up in size. Make sure you use a large bowl to soak the lentils as they will overflow.
- Grind the lentils and make the batter – Once the lentils have doubled or tripled in size. Drain and wash again. Combine with rest of the ingredients and pulse to a fine paste. Add curd if needed. The batter should be extremely thick and of dropping consistency. Whisk the batter well.
- Fry the dumplings – I have used an ice cream scooper to scoop the Bhalla batter into the oil. This way, I get the perfect shape every time. Make sure the oil is hot and just right before you drop in the dahi bhallas.
- Assembling the Dahi Bhalla – This is where you can improvise. Dip the soaked Dahi Bhallas in yogurt and garnish to taste. I prefer my Dahi bhallas with loads of chutney and pomegranate. But feel free to adjust the amounts of chutneys to taste.
How to make soft and fluffy Dahi Vada: Tips and Tricks!
Do you at times end up with hard Dahi Bhalla? At least I have but with a few tricks, you can easily overcome this problem. Follow the steps below correctly and you will make perfet melt-in-your-mouth kind of Dahi Bhalla.
- Use a combination of lentils to make the Bhalla. Both the lentils together create soft textured lentils.
- Grind the dal until it looks like a paste. If it is gritty, add a teaspoon of curd and grind again. The batter should be like a thick paste.
- Whisk the batter for about 8-10 minutes with an electric beater until its light and airy: just like a cake batter. This step is extremely important. Whisking will incorporate air into the batter and the bhallas will turn out soft and light.
- Once Eno is added, do not let the batter to sit for long.
- The oils should be hot. Do not fry bhallas in cold oil. Drop a small batter in the oil and it should float back to the top instantly. If it sinks wait for a couple of minutes and reheat the oil again.
- Fry bhallas in medium hot oil for a soft texture.
- Do not overcrowd the pan with too many bhallas. Leave some space around for the bahllas to expand during frying.
This is a gorgeous side dish to serve at dinner parties or potluck. All your guests will love the gorgeous blend of colors which makes this dish so tempting and inviting. I wish I could just grab a bowl from the screen and enjoy it right away. 😋😋
I encourage you to give this recipe a try and share your feedback! If you have questions related to this recipe, send me an email and I would be happy to answer them. 🙂
Originally published on July 4th, 2015. Updated and posted the recipe again on April 23rd, 2019 with better pictures and tips!
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Dahi Bhalla or Dahi Vada recipe
- 1 cup Split black gram Lentils (Urad ki dhuli dal or split black gram without skin)
- 2 tablespoon Moong Dal (Split yellow lentils)
- 1 teaspoon Yogurt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Ginger paste
- 1 small Green chili, finely chopped
- 1.5 teaspoon Roasted cumin seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
- 1/2 teaspoon Coriander seeds (crushed into half)
- 1/2 teaspoon Coarsely crushed Black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder
- - - Black salt o taste
- 1 teaspoon Eno (fruit Salt)
- Oil for Frying and greasing
ASSEMBLING DAHI VADA INGREDIENTS
- 1 kg Thick yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar (optional)
- 1 cup Green Chutney
- 1 cup Tamarind Chutney
- Salt to taste
- - - Roasted cumin seeds
- - - Dried or Fresh Mint Leaves
- - - Red chili powder
- - - Chaat Masala
- Wash and soak both the dals together for 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Drain all the water and wash the soaked and swelled up dal again for a couple of minutes.
- Strain it through a strainer and let all the water drain out. Make sure dal has no water left in it.
- Transfer it to a mixer/food processor. Ground it to a smooth paste. Add 1 teaspoon curd while grinding. PLEASE NOTE - if the mixture is already too runny then leave the curd out.
- Transfer this dal mixture to a big bowl and add the green chilies, ginger paste, red chili powder, cumin seeds, hing, salt, and eno to this batter. Mix to combine.
- Just like a cake batter beat the mixture couple of times until its light and fluffy.
- The trick to soft and spongy vadas lies in beating the batter. Take a whisk or a beater and beat the batter for 3-4 minutes until light and airy.
- To check if the batter is light and fluffy - drop some batter in cold water and if it keeps floating then the batter is perfect for vadas but if it sinks to the bottom of the bowl then it requires more beating. Once the batter is ready, let's move on to the next step.
- The traditional method would be to fry these vadas. Heat oil in a pan.
- For perfect shaped vadas use an ice scooper to scoop the batter into the hot oil.
- This will yield the same size of vadas each time.
- Fry the vadas until golden brown. Trim all the extras.
- Remove from oil and drain the vadas on a paper napkin.
MAKING VADAS IN MICROWAVE
- Boil water in a pan, add a pinch of salt and add the vadas. Let it soak in hot water for 10-15 minutes.
- After the desired time remove from hot water and squeeze the vadas in between your hands and squeeze out all the water. The vadas will be very soft therefore apply gentle pressure or else they will break. Set them aside.
- Transfer yogurt to a large bowl. Add milk if the yogurt is thick. Whisk it well. Season it with salt and sugar.
- Place vada in a bowl.
- Generously top it with more curd.
- Pour the chutneys on top. Sprinkle a pinch of roasted cumin seeds and chaat masala. Serve chilled.
- Forgot to soak the lentils but still want to enjoy Dahi Bhallas in the evening? No worries, soak both the lentils in hot water for 2-3 hours and they will double in size. Use as directed.
- Once the bhallas are fried, soak them in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. During this soaking time period, bhallas will double up in size and will become extremely soft.
- After the soaking time, gently press the bhallas in between your palms to remove excess water. Handle the soaked bhallas carefully and gently as they will be extremely soft and might break during the press.
- Grease the microwavable bowls.
- Add 1 tablespoon of mixture to this greased bowl.
- Microwave on HIGH for 35-45 seconds. Microwave temperatures may vary.
- Allow it to sit for a while and then scoop the bhallas out of the bowl.
- Top with curd, chutneys and enjoy!