Dahi Vada ~ Savory Doughnuts in Yogurt Sauce
The next recipe with yogurt for this month’s Cooking Carnival, Cooking with Protein Rich Ingredients is dahi vada. Dahi is yogurt~curd and vada is savory doughnut prepared with urad dal. In Telugu these are perugu garelu and recently came to know that these are also called aavadalu. When growing up we always called these dahi vada and my grannies referred it as perugu garelu or perugu vadalu.
Dahi vada is a common preparation across India but the preparation varies from region to region. In South Indian version, vada is shaped into a doughnut and the dahi; yogurt sauce is tempered with chilies and tempering ingredients. The North Indian version does not have tempering and is served with some chutneys. Some of the North Indian version vadas for this dish are prepared with urad dal as the main ingredient and some moong dal as the secondary ingredient.
My neighbor back home is from Rajasthan she use to make yummy dahi vada. Her vada recipe used urad dal and moong dal. She use to serve dahi vada with some chutneys and some spices. Though that was yummy and relished it whenever I was invited to their home parties, I have a soft corner for the South Indian dahi vadas. Dahi vada is not a usual fare in my kitchen as Mr U prefers plain vada over dahi vada. However, this time he did not mind eating these. In fact, I had set aside some vada for him, just in case he wanted the plain vada.
- 1 ⅛ cup whole Urad Dal
- 4 Green Chilies
- 1- 1 ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 3 cups Yogurt (I used ½ cup homemade and 2 ½ cups store bought)
- ½ cup Water
- 1 – 1 ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp. Oil or butter
- ¼ tsp. Mustard Seeds
- 7-10 curry Leaves
- 2 dry Red Chilies
- ⅛ tsp. Cumin (not very fond of it)
- ¼ tsp. Urad Dal
- 2 Green Chiles, chopped
- 1 ¼ tsp. chopped Ginger
- Pinch of Turmeric
- Prep Work for Vada – Wash dal and soak for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Rinse the dal and put it in a strainer or a colander to drain the water.
- Prepare Dahi – Take yogurt in a wide bowl, 2qt square or a rectangular dish. Whisk yogurt and add about ½ cup of water to dilute yogurt. Yogurt should be still thick, even thicker than buttermilk.
- Add salt and keep aside.
- Make a tempering by heating oil in a pan.
- When oil is hot, add dry chili, mustard seeds and cumin. Let dry chilies change color.
- Add curry leaves, ginger and green chilies. When ginger is lightly roasted in oil, add pinch of turmeric and turn off the flame.
- Pour the tempering over yogurt and give a quick stir. Keep the yogurt aside until required.
- Vada – Grind dal with green chilies and salt. Add very little water as possible. I used my food processor and added about ½ cup of water. Add water only if necessary.
- Once the dal is ground to a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl. Taste the dough and adjust seasoning.
- Batter should not be very stiff and not very watery either. A stiff batter will yield hard vada and a loose batter is difficult to shape round Vada.
- Tip for right consistency batter – Mix the batter well and drop tiny bit of batter in a bowl of water.
- If the ball of batter floats in water, the batter is of right consistency.
- If the batter sinks to the surface of the bowl, the batter is stiff. Add some water and mix the batter in a circular motion to aerate the batter. Repeat the above test.
- If the batter falls apart, the batter is of loose consistency. We do not want to reach this stage. Vada can still be made with this batter but the shape wouldn’t be round.
- The only problem is when the batter is thinner than the desire consistency. Regardless of the batter consistency, vada can still be made, just that the shape might not be in a donut shape.
- Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
- Take a plastic / ziploc bag or a piece of cloth to make the vada. Vada can also be made on the fingers but I prefer a ziploc bag.
- Take a small bowl of water to wet hands/fingers.
- With wet fingers, wipe or dampen the plastic bag. Take a small lime size batter and place it on the plastic bag. Shape it into a round disc. Make a hole in the middle.
- When oil is hot, gradually transfer the vada onto fingers and drop it into hot oil.
- Wipe the surface of the plastic bag, and repeat the above two steps.
- Depending on the size of the pan, fry multiple vadas at time.
- Fry the Vada on medium – medium high flame until golden brown on the outside and cooked in the inside. Keep turning the Vada in between for even frying.
- Remove from oil and drain on a per towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Repeat the above steps again. I fried 5-6 Vada per batch.
- Putting it together – When the vada is still warm, dip the Vada in water and immediately drop in seasoned yogurt.
- Let the vada soak in yogurt for at least 15 – 30 minutes and serve. Store the leftovers in the fridge.