Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada

Dahi vada or Dahi bhalla is an Indian chaat. It is a deep fried lentil dumpling, soaked in thick yogurt and topped with garnishes like sweet chutney, chilli powder, cumin powder, and coriander. Dahi vadas are not as difficult to make as they look. Lentil dumplings are fried and soaked in salted water and then in thick yogurt and garnished just before eating. The secret to light and fluffy dahi vadas is to beat the batter in circular motion for 3-4 four minutes just before making the vadas.

In some parts of India, especially in Delhi and Gujarat, the yogurt used for soaking the vadas is sweetened. I prefer the unsweetened yogurt and like to add the sweet chutney as a topping. There are different versions of dahi vada around the country and this is my family recipe. It might appear bit different from the other recipes you find on Internet. My mom prefers to add some spices like chilli powder and some cumin powder to the yogurt in which the dahi vadas are soaked.

In Hyderabad, during the month of Ramzan, you can find roadside stalls selling dahi vadas in the evenings when people break the fast. I have blurred memories of  the vendors shouting funny slogans to attract people to their dahi vada stalls. These vendor sell dahi vadas with different toppings. Red chilli powder, cumin powder, and sweet chutney are common toppings for dahi vada. People even add chaat masala, grated coconut, sev, mint chutney, and pomegranate as toppings.

Dahi vada tastes best when it’s chilled. This is a fixed side dish at my place for the Diwali dinner. It can be served as a snack or as a side dish with meals.

Dahi Vada

Ingredients

Makes 15 dahi vadas

  • 2/3 cup urad dal soaked for 5-6 hours
  • 3 cups yogurt beaten
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 tsp black salt
  • ¼ cup tamarind chutney
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Oil for frying

Recipe

Drain water from the soaked urad dal and grind it to a smooth paste using as little water as possible. Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl. You can add a pinch or two of soda at this stage if you wish. But this is optional.

Heat oil in a deep pan or kadhai. Wet your palms. Drop around a tablespoon full of the dal paste and shape it round. Carefully slide the vada into hot oil. Do this for rest of the vadas. Fry on medium flame till the vadas are golden brown. Another option is to use a wet table spoon and carefully drop vadas into the hot oil. Remember to dip the spoon in water before taking the paste for each vada.

Put the vadas on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Take around 1 ½ to 2 cups of water in a bowl. Add around two tsp of salt and mix. Now add the fried vadas to this water and let them soak for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the yogurt with salt, and little red chilli powder. Squeeze out the vada from salt water after 30-40 minutes. Dip the vadas in the beaten yogurt and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes if you like the dahi vada chilled.

Just before serving take the vadas in serving dish. Top it with little more yogurt. Garnish with pinch of black salt, cumin powder, and red chilli powder. You can adjust the garnish as per taste and quantity of the vadas. Add tamarind chutney and chopped coriander.

Ragda Patties (Aalu Tikki Chaat)

Ragda Patties (Aalu Tikki Chaat)

Ragda patties is a famous street food from India. Potato patties are topped with boiled green peas, onions, tomatoes, spices and sweet and spicy chutneys to make this mouth-watering street food (Chat). This dish has variations according to regions and this recipe is of the ragda patties (called cutlet or ragda katlis) you can find on the streets of Hyderabad. Boiled green peas tempered with basic spices is called ragda. You can also use dry white peas for the ragda if you wish.

Potato patty known as aloo patty or cutlet is made with boiled potatoes and very few spices. Some people add fillings to these patties. Common stuffing for patties includes finely chopped carrots and French beans or roasted gram flour with spices. I have not used any stuffing in the recipe here. I like to play around with the toppings more than the stuffing.

Tricky part for people who do not cook often is the topping as per taste instruction. But this really has no other way. Some people like their chat sweet, some like it spicy. So you really need to experiment with this one. I like my cutlet with yogurt and lots of sev. I enjoy my cutlet piping hot with chilled yogurt on top.

Normally, this dish is served in layers of patty, ragda, and the toppings. If you want to eat it the hyderabadi way, Crumble the patty on a hot griddle, add some ragda and little panipuri water. Give it a nice mash or mix. Add the spices and chutneys for topping and mash again. Now take it in a plate and top it with yogurt, coriander, and sev. This is hyderabadi ragda katlis for you. Enjoy!

Ragda Patties (Aalu Tikki Chaat)

Ingredients

Serves 4

For the Ragda

  • 1 cup dried green peas (hara batana) soaked overnight
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼  tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee/oil for shallow frying

For the Patties

  • 4 potatoes boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 2 tsp ginger and green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste

Toppings/Garnish

  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp black salt
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander
  • 7-8 tbsp nylon sev
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 7-8 tbsp tamarind chutney
  • 7-8 tbsp mint chutney
  • 10-12 tbsp fresh yogurt beaten with some salt

Recipe

For The Ragda

Pressure cook the peas with little salt and 2 ½ cups of water for 5-6 whistles.  Heat oil in a kadhai. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add turmeric and asafoetida and the boiled peas. Add around one cup of water and mix well. Mash the peas a little with the back of a spoon. Simmer for 7-10 minutes or till the ragda thickens and keep aside.

For the Patties

Combine the ingredients for patties and divide the mixture into eight portions. Shape each portion into flat round disc.  Heat a thick griddle. Put ¼ tsp ghee and place a patty. Smear some more ghee on top of the patty and turn it over after a minute. Move it to the side of the griddle. Follow the same procedure for all the patties. Keep turning the patties every 1-2 minutes till they turn brown on both sides. Keep aside.

To Serve

Place two patties in a bowl or a deep plate. Add close to 1/4th of the ragda, 2 tbsp yogurt, 2 tsp onions, 2 tsp tomatoes, few pinches each of red chilli powder, cumin powder, and black salt. Add the tamarind chutney and mint chutney as per taste. Top it with chopped coriander and nylon sev and serve.

Panipuri

Panipuri

Panipuri for me is the best food on earth. It is a Crisp semolina puri filled with green chana and sour and spicy water. It is a very popular chat (type of snacks in India) in India and you can find it in any region you go. Every state has its own version of panipuri. It’s Golgappa in Delhi, Puchka in Calcutta and Gupchup in Hyderabad. I have eaten panipuri at various places but Gupchup wins it hands down for me. Not that I don’t like golgappa or puchka, but nothing can match the hot chana and cold water filled gupchup you get in Hyderabad.

Making the puri for panipuri at home can get little tricky. You need to roll out the dough thin and keep in moist always. But if you are living outside India and don’t get the puris readily available, it is worth the effort.

To make the puris fluffy, press the puri with back of a slotted spoon till it puffs up. Make sure the oil is hot and you fry them on a medium flame. You can even make flavoured puri by adding ¼ tsp of your choice of dried herbs.

Coming back to gupchup, the hot green peas filling is what sets it apart from other versions of panipuri. It is a very simple filling of boiled green peas cooked in very basic tempering. There are other fillings too like potato and Bengal gram (kala chana), sprouts, boondi, onions etc. If you like your panipuri sweet apart from the sour and spicy taste, you can add little sweet tamarind chutney along with the filling.

Panipuri is a comfort food for me and my sister. We can eat it anytime of the day. There are lot of famous street side vendors in Hyderabad where you can try this chat. If you are health conscious and don’t have a very strong immune system to eat roadside food, try this homemade panipuri.

Panipuri

Ingredients

For Puri (makes 25 puris)

  • ¼ cup maida
  • ¼ cup semolina
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

For Water

  • ½ cup tightly packed mint
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh coriander
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tsp black salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups tamarind water
  • 2 cups water

For Filling

  • ¼ cup dried peas soaked for 6-7 hours
  • 1tsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric
  • Salt to taste

Filling 2

  • 2 potatoes
  • ¼ cup Bengal gram (black chana) soaked for 6-7 hours
  • ½ tsp chopped coriander
  • ½ tsp green chilli paste
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

For Puri

Combine the ingredients for puri with little water and make a firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep it aside for 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, knead the dough again and divide into two rolls. Roll out each portion into thin circle and cut small (approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches) round puris using a cookie cutter or a sharp round cap.

Heat enough oil to fry the puris and fry few puris at a time, till they are crispy and brown on both sides.

Store the puris in airtight container.

For Water

Grind mint, coriander, and green chilli to a smooth paste. In a jug or vessel, combine this paste with all the other ingredients for water and mix well. Taste for salt at this time and adjust salt as per taste. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

For Filling 1

Pressure cook the soaked peas with salt for 3-4 whistles or till the peas are very soft and mushy. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add the cooked peas and turmeric. Check for salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.

For Filling 2

Pressure cook the potatoes with little salt for 3 whistles or till soft and mushy. Peel and keep them aside.

Pressure cook the Bengal gram (black chana) with salt for 4-5 whistles or till they are soft. Mix together, the potatoes, chana, and green chilli paste. Check for salt and add more if required. Keep the filling aside.

For serving

Punch/crack a hole in the puri. Add the filling of your choice (appx 1 tsp in a puri). Fill it with the prepared water and eat it right away.