I wanted to make a cool summer appetizer and settled on one of my favorite chaats or Indian street foods- Dahi Vada or lentil balls in yogurt.
Dahi Vada(makes about 20 balls and serves 3)
For the Vadas:
- Soak 1 cup urad dal in warm water for 4-8 hours. Drain and process the dal in a food processor or blender to make a thick smooth batter.
- Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 finely chopped chillies to the batter and mix.
- Drop teaspoonfuls of batter into hot oil and deep fry to make golden-brown vadas.
- After frying, drop the vadas gently into a bowl of warm water.
- After soaking for a few minutes, remove each vada, press it between your palms to squeeze out excess water and then refrigerate them to chill.
For the Yogurt Sauce, whip together:
- 2-3 cups yogurt
- milk if needed to thin the yogurt
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
- 1 tbsp minced cilantro
- dash of red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala
To serve: Simply place the vadas in a bowl and pour yogurt sauce on top. Add a spoonful of sweet chutney (such as tamarind or date chutney) and enjoy a tangy chaat.
In many ways it is a perfect appetizer- it can be made in advance, chilled and needs no re-heating. It is not much to look at, but it tastes great.