When my dad was posted to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, we got acquainted with this amazing family, who coincidentally shared the same surname as ours. The daughter, Pallavi, became a close friend of mine in spite of the age difference we shared. I was in college during my dad’s tenure in Jaisalmer but whenever I visited, she and I would get together and although there wasn’t much to do in the city, my stay was always memorable. Her parents too would make sure that I had a good stay while I was visiting mom and dad.
Pallavi’s mom, Swati aunty, used to make the most amazing Dahi bhallas- light and airy bhallas that melt in your mouth. The first time I ate them I chowed down 4-5 in one sitting and got a to-go box of more back home with me. My mom took the recipe from aunty when we left Jaisalmer because all of us agreed that they were the best bhallas we had ever eaten.While my mom made an honest effort later to make them and they always turned out good, they were never like aunty’s. Aunty maintained the secret to the light and fluffy vadas lay in beating the heck out of the batter, but I think she just had magic in her hands.
As mentioned in a previous post, my mom is in town visiting, which means I am getting some respite from cooking. The other day she made dahi bhallas, her quick channa masala and bhaturas. I could not be more grateful for that meal. It was so good, and the bhallas actually turned out exactly the way Swati aunty made them- soft and airy. Today I am sharing her recipe for dahi bhallas/ vadas.
Dahi bhalla is a popular indian dish made with deep fried lentil dumplings (bhallas or vadas) that are served in yogurt (dahi) and topped with roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, date-tamarind chutney and/or mint chutney.
Generally these vadas or bhallas as we call them are made from urad dal/ split black lentils. In UP though they sometimes make vadas from moong dal. While dahi bhalla/dahi vada is a popular way to have these urad dal dumplings, in south India, another popular way to serve the vadas is with sambhar or some use them to make bonda soup.
The recipe listed below makes quite a few vadas, and generally my mom freezes extra vadas. I took her suggestion and kept 10 vadas to serve immediately and the rest I wrapped in ziploc bags with 8 each in a single bag. I froze three such ziploc bags. If you choose to freeze the extra vadas, when you are ready to use them for dahi bhallas, just defrost the vadas for a bit and then let them soak in boiled water for 15-20 minutes, before using them to make dahi bhalla.