Dahi Vada – Black Gram Dumplings w/ Sweet Yoghurt & Sweet n’ Spicy Chutneys
June 30, 2016
I’ve been trying to go gluten-free (and refined sugar-free – but that’s a story for another time) for some time now. And, no it’s not to keep up with the Joneses; it’s more about eating what suits my body. And, I found out that it would probably be easier to create gluten-free than to find it in restaurants or supermarkets! Things that you wouldn’t think of have gluten in it – extra gluten I might add! Plus, did you know that gluten is addictive? Kind of explains my consistent mid-day craving for pasta!
Anyway, so in an effort to find out all about the possible gluten free food that I can eat, I was not surprised when my research took me back to the indigenous Indian ingredients that we have grow up with. It resounded with Rujuta Diwekar’s article on how we need to go back to our roots instead of adopting the so-called healthy, gluten-free diet that the West is so doggedly following. After all, traditional Indian flours like rice, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Gram Flour are all gluten-free!
Anyway, to come back to the post – Ramadan is in full swing, and we’ve been having a string of Iftar parties amongst friends. The other day, I decided to call everyone home to a vegetarian Iftar with homely, festive, Mumbai-style dishes. On the menu was Vada Pav, Dahi Vada, Cheese Toast (a post on that some other time), and several other dishes.
Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalle as it is known in the North of India, is one of my favourite chaat items! Pillowy, soft vadas (dumplings) dunked in slightly sweet yoghurt with a hint of ginger and chilli and topped with a sweet and tangy date, jaggery and tamarind chutney, a spicy green coriander and mint chutney and fresh coriander leaves! Sounds like a lot – but what a riot of flavours (pun intended). Plus, the main ingredient – Urad Dal or Black Gram is gluten free!
Dahi Vada – Black Gram Dumplings with Yoghurt and Sweet and Spicy Chutneys
For the sweet chutney, wash and boil the dates, jaggery and tamarind in water till a little thick and syrupy.
Let it cool down and then blitz to a fine chutney consistency.
Add the black salt to taste and the cumin powder.
Set aside in a bowl.
For the green spicy chutney, grind together the coriander leaves, mint leaves, chillies and garlic using as little water as possible for a smooth consistency.
Once it is done, add the salt, sugar and lime juice to balance out the taste. Set aside in a bowl.
To make the vadas, drain the water in which the udad dal was soaked.
Now, grind together the udad dal (a little at a time) with the ginger and chillies
You can add a little fresh water for it to have a pasty consistency, a shade or two thicker than the regular dosa batter.
When you are ready to make the vadas, heat enough oil to deep fry the vadas.
Now take two tablespoons. Scoop up the mixture into one spoon and use the other to slide it off the spoon and into the hot oil. Repeat the procedure till there are enough vadas in the oil. Do not overcrowd.
Ensure that you keep pouring hot oil on the top of the vadas to help them puff up faster. Turn over and continue to keep an eye on the vadas. They need to be golden brown in colour.
Once this is done, fill a large vessel with water and dunk in as many vadas as possible for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
After this, take out the vadas, squeeze each one carefully and place on the serving plate.
Place the vadas in concentric circles on the serving plate.
Top this with the yoghurt.
Then, top that with the sweet chutney and spicy chutney. Sprinkle over the cumin powder, chilli powder and chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve.