An evergreen soothing and savoury yoghurt-based snack
Yoghurt is an undisputed taste saviour besides being all healthy and nutritious. On the other hand, Urad dal is a soft and subtle-tasting lentil that makes great fritters. And the union of Urad bhalle with sour and creamy Dahi gives us a universally loved and colourfully scrummy dish called Dahi Bhalle. Though the recipe is well known, paying due attention to a few steps helps achieve the best of the Dahi bhalle. For instance, urad dal fritters when soaked in warm water and normal water for 10 minutes each can help get rid of the excess oil, giving softness without sogginess. Plus, chilled thick yoghurt, whipped with sugar and perked up with roasted spices when poured over the Bhalle, gives a luxurious experience of savouring this dish.
Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalle is an extremely popular food not just confined to India but savoured throughout the Indian subcontinent. Today, we know the dish as an intrinsic part of our Indian cuisine and one would find it interesting to know that it originated in Karnataka. The evidence of this is found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopaedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled present-day Karnataka. The scripture provides a recipe for Dahi vada called kshiravata in it.
Preparation: 4 hours 40 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
• 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
• 1 tsp pink salt
• ½ tsp black pepper powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp asafoetida
• Chopped coriander
• Imli khajur chutney
• 50 gm sugar
• 500 gm yoghurt
Urad dal batter:
• 1 cup urad dal
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• Rinse urad dal thoroughly and soak it for 4 hours. Then grind it into a coarse paste, and add very little water to it while grinding.
• Add cumin, salt and baking soda and 2 tbsp of water to the ground urad dal and whip it continuously for 10 minutes to ensure aeration.
• Meanwhile, add sugar to the yoghurt and chill it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
• Then wet your palms, and take small portions of urad dal batter and dip them in the hot oil.
• Fry the bhalle in low to medium heat until they turn lightly golden.
• Take out the fritters on tissue paper, and after a minute dip them in warm water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take them gently squeeze excess water from the fritters and transfer them to another vessel containing clean warm water.
• After 10 minutes again take out the fritters, gently squeeze excess water and transfer them to another vessel filled with normal water. Lastly, take out the fritters in a bowl after 5 minutes.
• Then roast the cumin and asafoetida on a pan for 2 minutes and turn off the flame. Then add powdered spices to it and roast for a minute. Blend this mixture into a powder after it cools down.
• Take out the sweetened yoghurt and whip it until it becomes perfectly smooth.
• Now place the bhalle or fritters on a plate, then pour the yoghurt over them until fully covered.
• Sprinkle the roasted and powdered spices over the yoghurt, then drip a spoonful of green chutney, followed by Imli Khajur chutney.
• Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.
We generally tend to dip the Bhalle in the yoghurt mix, which dilutes the spices and lessens the flavour. A better way to balance this is by layering urad dal fritters on the plate and then heaping it up with yoghurt. Also remember, that a well-aerated urad dal batter gives extremely soft and light urad fritters.