Dahi Vada – Thayir Vade

We had a party last Saturday to celebrate the 90th birthday of Honnavalli Anantharaman, the grandpa of the house. Yes, 90th birthday is a big deal and called for a nice celebration.

I had decided on a traditional Indian menu for the party. Apart from the curries and daals and desserts, I always like to have a farsan item as part of the main meal. Dishes like batata vada, khandvi, dhokla, kachori, bhajia etc. belong to this category. We had a cosmopolitan crowd and Dahi vada being a popular dish among both north and south indians, it was an easy pick.  There are so many ways to eat these vadas. Vadas with a bowl of sambhar and green coconut chutney are a rage among Indians and works out well if  you aren’t too fond of  yoghurt.  Vadas, like idli-dosas need advance preparation and  require quite a bit of time and labor to grind the batter and fry the vadas. Their appeal is not just because of the taste but also for the looks. To give them that appetizing look, you have to make them round and plump, which is not easy. I have this Anjali brand dahi-vada maker, (thanks to my cousin Padmi who gave it as a gift to me) which churns out amazingly wonderful vadas, each uniform in size and shape. Trick to getting them round and plump lies in keeping the batter neither too thick  nor too runny. I have been using this vada-maker for a long time and I highly recommend it. It may take a few tries to get used to it but once you do, you’ll never use anything else.

I was happy that everything turned out well. It’s very satisfying to see people enjoying your food, especially when you have made it with lot of care and thought.Thanks to the loving company of our friends and relatives, we all had a great time.

Urad Vada

DahiVadaAnjali Vada Maker

This recipe makes approx. 15 dahi vadas.
1 cup Urad dal (without skin)
1 tea spoon rice flour
1 green chili chopped very fine (optional)
1/4 tea spoon ginger paste (optional)
3 cups oil to deep fry vadas
3 cups + 1/4 cup yoghurt
1/4 tea spoon crushed black pepper
1/4 tea spoon salt for the vada batter
1/2 tea spoon salt for the yoghurt/dahi

For the Dahi:
3 cups yoghurt
1/2 tea spoon salt
1 tea spoon cumin seeds roasted and powdered
1/4 tea spoon red chili powder
1 table spoon chopped coriander leaves/cilantro

1. Soak Urad dal for about 3-4 hours and no more.
2. Drain all the water and grind it in a blender until it is just about smooth. You will need to add about 1/2 cup of water while grinding. Make sure you don’t make the batter runny.
3. Add rice flour, black pepper, chili-ginger paste (if using), and salt. Mix well. Keep aside.
4. In a medium size bowl, mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup yoghurt. This is the Dahi water. Keep aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk yoghurt and salt. Adjust salt per your taste. Add tadka (optional) and mix well.
6. In a big kadhai, heat about 3-4 cups of oil.
7. Make vadas. If you don’t have the vada maker, the traditional way of making them is as follows: Smear water on your palm. Take a big lump of the batter, make a hole in the center and slide the vada into hot oil. This does require some amount of expertise so be careful. If you aren’t sure, just drop a table spoon of batter into hot oil and fry until they assume a deep golden yellow color.
8. Dip the vadas in Dahi water (step 4) for 5-10 seconds, squeeze the water out very gently and arrange them on a platter.
9. Repeat for the rest of the batter.
10 Pour dahi (step 5) all over vadas. Sprinkle finely chopped cilantro/hara chaniya,  cumin powder and red chili powder all over the dahi. Let the vadas soak in dahi for 2-3 hours.

There are so many ways to dress up these dahi vadas and it’s a matter of individual preference. One way to take care of this is to make dahi vadas as above and put different garnish items  like chutneys, boondi etc. on the side in small bowls. Here are some suggestions.

1. Sweet chutney made from tamarind and dates
2. Green coriander chutney
3. A tadka of oil, mustard seeds, green chilies and hing/asafoetida
4. Spicy boondis
5. Cumin and red chili  powder
6. Chat masala

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16 Responses to “Dahi Vada – Thayir Vade”

  1. Radha Says:

    I also have not been able to use Anjali vada maker only a drop falls …either it never works or am not able to use it…please help

  2. Radha Says:

    Anupama,
    I got totally inspired by the recipe and the professional looking vadas. I tried the recipe. Everyone ravished over the vadas. Unfortunately I found it very tricky to get uniform vadas with the vada maker and the shapes were all disorted and lopsided. Any suggestions to get that professional look? Thank you!

    • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

      Hi Radha,
      Getting these vadas to be consistently uniform is kind of tricky but totally doable. A few things:
      1. the vada batter should NOT be too thick. It shouldn’t be runny either. This is the most difficult part.
      2. Fill the vada maker wit the batter. Then press at the top, and once you see about an inch of batter coming outside the vada maker, release the spring in one quick action. DO NOT release the spring slowly. This works for me every time.

      Next time, practice this with some batter on a plate. Once you feel comfortable, you can do it on the hot oil. I’ll just say don’t give up because with a couple of tries, you will get the trick. It’s actually very simple.

      All the best!

    • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

      Hi Radha,
      I have made these a day ahead of serving. I make them the usual way, including adding the yoghurt and cover the dish wtih saran wrap or aluminum foil and just put it in the fridge. Next day, i take it out at least 2-3 hours before serving and pour some more yoghurt if required. If you want to embellish it with fresh cilantro or tadka, I would do it a couple of hours before serving. I have never frozen them.

      200 vadas? Wow! I really hope they come out great and everyone enjoys them. All the best.

      Anupama

  3. Sunshinemom Says:

    I saw the pic and wondered about the size till I read:). The way you have arranged is mouthwatering!

  4. Veena Says:

    Hi,
    I bought the same anjali vada maker on my last trip to India, but i couldnt get it right.Could you please dominstrate its use with some pictures & video…it would be a great help to beginners like me.
    Veena

  5. Veena Says:

    Hi,
    I bought the same brand on my last trip to India, but i couldnt get it right.Could you please dominstrate its use with some pictures & video…it would be a great help to beginners like me.
    Veena

  6. Mona Says:

    oh wow, perfect vadas! thats a cool handy gadget, will look for it when I visit India.

  7. Madhu Says:

    Vadas look perfect ! Like the arrangement too.

  8. Lata Raja Says:

    Oops! Please read Convey 🙂

  9. Lata Raja Says:

    What an arrangement!! just amazing. Please coney my pranams to your grandpa.

  10. Cardamom Says:

    I could eat dahi vadas anytime! Your vadas look perfect….!

    🙂

  11. chitra Says:

    Wow, see the vadas.perfect .. i loveeee dahi vadas , drooling 🙂

  12. suparna Says:

    lovely perfect vadas 🙂 and beautifully presented, wouldnt mind have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner;)
    Anjali vada maker is an interesting piece to have…
    Happy weekend
    TC

  13. Sonu Says:

    Dahi wada…soooo tempting. Your Anjali dahi wada maker is so interesting thing to buy. Lemme think abt it. 🙂


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