Dahi vada (bhalle)

Category: Snack/side dish, Starter/snack | Serves: 8

Prep time: 6 hours | Cooking time: 10-15 minutes


100g/4oz split mung dhal without husk

100g/4oz split urad dhal without husk

1 whole green chilli

2 tablespoons water

Oil for greasing

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

600g/21oz low-fat natural yoghurt

1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin


For the garnish

1 teaspoon roasted cumin, ground

3 tablespoons coriander, chopped

1 tablespoon tamarind chutney (optional)

  1. Wash and soak the dhals in cold water for 4 hours. Drain.
  2. Place the dhals, green chilli and 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor and process until it becomes a thick mixture.
  3. Leave this mixture in a warm place for 2 hours.

For steaming

  1. Grease the idli trays with oil. Bring the water in the steamer to the boil.
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the batter and mix thoroughly.
  3. Fill each section of the tray with a tablespoon of the mixture.
  4. Place in the steamer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Let the vadas cool for 5 minutes.

To serve

  1. Whisk together the yoghurt, chilli powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and the sugar, if using.
  2. Spread a few tablespoons of the yoghurt mixture over the base of a shallow serving dish.
  3. Arrange the vadas on top, and pour the rest of the yoghurt mixture on top of them.
  4. Garnish with roasted, ground cumin, chopped coriander and tamarind chutney.

Cook's tips

  • Idli trays are available from Indian hardware stores and online. They comprise a steamer pan with a stackable set of trays, each with hollows into which you pour the idli bater for streaming. If you don't have access to a set of idli trays, improvise with a conventional steamer and oiled metal dariole moulds, mall ramekins or individual silicone muffin cups.

Nutritional information

Dahivada Bhalle