Learn how to make a soft, melt-in-your-mouth, famous Indian Chaat and very popular street food – Dahi Vada is also known as Dahi Bhalla recipe with this fool-proof step-by-step method.
This is a gluten-free recipe where lentil fritters are drenched in seasoned yogurt and garnished with various chutneys and spices. This dish is lip-smacking and has my heart!
It is almost impossible to celebrate a special occasion in India without a few delicacies like ladoos, burfi, halwa, and let me add one of my favorites to this list, and that is – Dahi Vada!
This popular dish is always on my menu during festivals, especially during Holi and Diwali.
What is Dahi vada?
For those unfamiliar with the term Dahi vada, Dahi stands for yogurt, and vada means deep-fried lentil fritters.
It means deep-fried lentil fritters served with yogurt. It is a popular lip-smacking street food that no one can resist.
The base of this dish is vada (fritters) made of Urad dal (split skinned black gram lentils).
The preparation of the vada batter is the same as medu vada and it tastes super delicious on its own with a side of green chutney. Thus you get two dishes using one recipe, win… win…!!
Once the vada is ready, add them to the seasoned Dahi(yogurt) and then top them with chutneys and some spices.
I like to top my Dahi vada with green Coriander Mint Green Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, Roasted Cumin Powder, Salt, Red Chilli Powder, and pomegranate.
You can skip the chutney and just sprinkle some spices on top. You can also add Nylon Sev, chaat masala, or Dahi Bhalla masala.
Just experiment with the topping and see which fits your taste the best.
Is Dahi vada and dahi bhalla are same?
The answer is yes!! Dahi Vada and Dahi Bhalla are the same dishes just known differently in different parts of India.
It goes by many names, including Dahi bara (in Orissa), Dahi vada (in the South), Dahi Bhalla (in Punjabi), and dahi baray (in Marathi).
Whatever you prefer to call them, they are simply delicious so definitely try them if you haven’t already!! They are melt in the mouth soft, juicy, and extremely tempting, bet you can’t stop eating these.
Why you will make this recipe?
- Whether it be Holi, Diwali, birthday celebrations, or anniversaries – Dahi Bhalla is always hit.
- They’re loved and relished by children and adults alike.
- This is a gorgeous side dish to serve at dinner parties or potluck.
- The best part about it, you can make them a day before and keep them ready!
- It’s perfect crowd pleaser appetizers.
The main ingredients to make the dahi vada recipe are lentils and yogurt as the name suggest but there are other few key ingredients to complete this recipe. So let’s see what all we will need.
- Dal/Lentils: I always use just one type of lentil called urad dal(split skinned black gram) to make my vadas since that’s how my mom makes them. You can also add an equal amount of moong dal in the Dahi Bada but I prefer to use only Urad dal to make them.
- Dahi/Yogurt: I prefer using full-fat plain yogurt (store-bought or homemade) and whipping it until smooth. Thin it out using water or milk as needed. Preferably keep it on the thicker side so it coats the vada. Season it with salt and some sugar (optional but highly recommend). Suger and salt add a nice sweet-salty taste to it, which goes very well with the Vadas.
- Condiments: You will need a sweet date and tamarind chutney and spicy cilantro chutney to dress up your dahi Bhalla. You can either make these at home or use store-bought. These chutneys can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen.
- Spices: red chili powder, roasted cumin seeds powder, salt, cilantro, and pomegranate(optional).
How to make soft and airy Dahi vada?
This recipe is prepared in 6 easy steps.
Step – 1 Soak the lentil overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours –
Take the urad dal (lentil) in a large bowl and wash them a few times until the water runs clear. Soak them overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can soak them in hot water for 3 hours. (image 1)
Pro-tip – Make sure you use a large bowl to soak the lentils as they may overflow.
Step – 2 Grind the lentils and make the batter
Once the lentils have doubled or tripled in size. Drain the water and wash again. Take the drained and washed lentil in a blender jar, and pulse to a fine paste. (image 2)
Make sure to use very little water for grinding. The batter should be thick and of dropping consistency. (image 3 and 4)
Add salt and whisk the batter well using a hand, standing mixture, or hand blender for about 8 minutes. (image 5 and 6)
I highly recommend using a stand mixer or electric whisk. It saves a lot of muscle work and the batter is soft as a cloud.
To get the perfect vada, you must beat the batter till it gets light and fluffy. This is a very important step. This helps to make them soft and porous vada.
Pro-tip – To figure out if the batter is ready to make the vada’s, drop a small ball of the batter with a spoon in a bowl filled with cold water. If the ball immediately starts to float on top, the batter is ready to make vada. (image 7)
Step – 3 Frying the vadas
Heat oil in a kadhai or pan. Make sure the oil is hot before making the Vadas. You can check by dropping a single drop of the batter, it should rise to the top of the oil immediately. After the oil is hot, reduce to medium heat.
Take water in a small bowl. Dip your fingers or ice cream scooper in water, then take the batter in your hand or in the spoon or scooper and drop it in the hot oil. Now before making the next vada, dip the fingers or spoon in the water again and then take the batter. Repeat for each vada. (image 8 and 9)
When the Vada is golden brown and is done on one side, flip them over with a ladle. (image 10)
When the other side is done, take them out in a bowl lined with a paper napkin to soak the excess oil. Fry the vada in batches. Do not overcrowd when frying them.
- They should be fried immediately after beating the batter.
- I have used my hand for dropping the vadas in oil. But you can use an ice cream scooper to scoop the Bhalla batter into the oil.
- Make sure the oil is hot and just right before you drop in the Dahi vada.
Step – 4 Soaking the vada in hot water.
Now soak the vada in lukewarm water as soon as they are fried for about 15 minutes. The vada will soak up the water, double in size and become super soft. (image 11)
Now take each vada and gently press in between your palms to remove excess water. (image 12)
- Soaking the fried vadas in warm water is very important to get the soft dahi vada.
- Rightly done vada should bounce back to the original shape.
Step – 5 Prepare yogurt, and condiments.
Whisk the yogurt and season it with salt and sugar. If the yogurt is too thick, add some water to get the right consistency. (image 13 to 16)
Step – 6 Assembling the Dahi vada
When every components (green chutney, sweet chutney, roasted jeera, chili powder, salt, pomegranate and vadas) are ready, it’s time for assembling everything.
I prefer my Dahi vada with loads of sweet chutney, cilantro chutney, pomegranate, roasted cumin powder, salt, and chili powder. But feel free to adjust the number of chutneys and spices according to your liking.
Take the vadas on a plate or big serving bowl. Add yogurt and all the other condiments one by one. Keep them in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving so that the bhallas soaks up all the yogurt.
Experience bliss in every bite! Enjoy!
Pro-tips and notes
- Grind the dal until it looks like a paste. If it is gritty, add a couple of teaspoons of water and grind again. The batter should be like a thick paste.
- Whisk the batter for about 8-10 minutes with an electric beater or hand until it’s light and airy, just like a cake batter. This step is extremely important. Whisking will incorporate air into the batter and the vada will turn out soft and light.
- The oils should be hot. Do not fry vada 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 vada in medium hot oil for a soft texture.
- Do not overcrowd the pan with too many vadas. Leave some space around for the vada to expand during frying.
Soak the lentil in hot water for 2-3 hours and they will double in size. Follow the rest of the direction.
You can make the vada a day or two in advance, allow them to cool off completely, and then store them in airtight/zip-lock containers in the refrigerator.
With curd, store them for a day.
If you leave Dahi vada soaked in yogurt for 2 days, it may leave the water so preferably add yogurt only a day before or when you want to serve or a couple of hours before serving them.
If you want to use the vadas later, just keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Before using, dip them in soaking water for 20-25 minutes and then top them with curd.
For non-fried version, make them in appam pan (Aebleskiver Pan).
So, next time you have a festive meal coming up, make sure to include this Dahi Bhalla in your menu. I assure you, your plates will be wiped clean!.
More recipes made with curd –
Dahi Vada Recipe (Dahi bhalla)
- 1 cup Urad dal (skinned split black gram)
- Salt to taste
- ½ to ¾ cup Water (or as needed) (do not use a lot)
- 3 cups Fresh full fat Curd (Plain yogurt)
- Salt to taste
- 2½ tbsp Sugar
- ½ cup water (or as needed to get the desired dahi cosistancy)
Soak the lentil
- Take the urad dal (lentil) in a large bowl and wash them a few times until the water runs clear. Soak them overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can soak them in hot water for 3 hours.
Make the batter
- Drain the soaking water. Add lentils to a blender. Blend it coarsely first, then add 2 tbsp water at one time and grind again. Scrape off the sides. Keep bending until you get a smooth, thick, and fluffy batter adding 1 tbsp chilled water each time or as needed. I have added ½ cup water in total. (do not add too much water as the batter may turn runny and your vada will be oily when fried.
- Tip – If you happen to add more water by mistake and the batter has become runny, grind some poha and add it into the batter. You can also add some rice flour.
- Remove the batter in a large bowl.
- Add salt and whip the lentil batter vigorously to make it light and fluffy using a hand beater or standing mixer. You can also do that with a spoon or ladle.
- Tip – To figure out if the batter is ready to make the vada’s, drop a small ball of the batter with a spoon in a bowl filled with cold water. If the ball immediately starts to float on top, the batter is ready to make vada.
Fry the Vada
- Heat oil in a kadhai or pan. Make sure the oil is hot before making the Vadas. You can check by dropping a single drop of the batter, it should rise to the top of the oil immediately. After the oil is hot, reduce to medium heat.
- Take water in a small bowl. Dip your fingers in water, then take some batter in your hand and drop it in the hot oil. You can drop vada using an ice cream scoop or spoon too. Now before making the next vada, dip your fingers or spoon in the water again and then take the batter. Repeat for each vada.
- When the Vada is golden brown and is done on one side, flip them over with a ladle.
- When the other side is done, take them out in a bowl lined with a paper napkin to soak the excess oil. Fry the vada in batches. Do not overcrowd when frying them.
- Now soak the vada in lukewarm water as soon as they are fried for about 15 minutes. The vada will soak up the water, double in size and become super soft.
- While these soaks fry the next batch of the vadas
- Now take each vada and gently press in between your palms to remove excess water. Handle them gently they may break.
Assemble the Dahi Vada
- Take the yogurt (curd) in a big bowl and season it with salt and sugar. Add ¼ cup water and whisk it well. If the yogurt is too thick, add some more water to get the right consistency.
- Place the softened vada in a bowl or serving tray. Pour the yogurt over them, so they are all covered with the yogurt. For best result, refrigerate them for 1-2 hours so the vada soaks in the yogurt.
- One you are ready to serve, drop the tamarind chutney and cilantro chutney over them and sprinkle the roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, pomegranate, and salt. Add more curd if required.
- Tip – If making the for guests, gatherings, or parties, make them a few hours ago or a day before and add all the chutneys and spices at the time of serving.