Hello Vegetarian Carnivores!
Dahi vada, or thayir vada if you are Tamilian like me, is a refreshing snack and a popular dish around India. Now I know I don’t usually post about traditional Indian recipes much, but this recipe deserves a post of its own because it turned out really well. I also made this with my mom, which is super special because we love experimenting with recipes and adding our own little twists. We even took out the labor intensive step and it actually made the recipe healthier! So read on to learn more about this healthy dahi vada recipe.
Why you’ll love this recipe
My one true love when it comes to food is yogurt aka dahi aka thayir. To be quite honest, I’d be a certifiably bad Tamilian if I didn’t love yogurt. However, just to quantify my love for this magical food, let me put this into numbers. I make 64 ounces of my vegan yogurt at a time. That is a Costco sized family size tub of yogurt. And it takes me less than a week to go through it, pretty much alone. So yes, I eat A TON of yogurt. In fact, if you have been following me for a while you already know that I struggled to go vegan for literally YEARS because I was trying to find/make a convincing vegan yogurt that was worthy of being used in a 1:1 substitution with dairy yogurt. If you haven’t checked out my vegan yogurt yet, link is here so make sure you go and give that a read.
Anyway, the traditional dahi vada recipe calls for lentil patties, deep fried and soaked in a spiced yogurt. Super yummy, indeed. But my mom and I did not have the patience or the inclination to sit and deep fry anything over the weekend. So we added our own twist and decided to steam the patties instead. This makes it so much easier and also so much healthier than deep frying. So I call it a win win.
- Vegan Yogurt- I’ve already spoken at great length about my love for yogurt and how versatile it is, so I will spare you my ramblings here.
- Dal- For this recipe we are going to use two different kinds of dal. I know there are a ton of different kinds of dal, but stay with me for a second. Our two dals are moong dal (green gram dal in English) and urad dal (black gram dal in English). You’re going to use equal parts of these dals and soak them in water for at least 4 hours (overnight is fine too). This will make it easier to blitz (our next step) and also break down absorption blocking phytic acid. So the nutrition in the dal gets absorbed better in your body.
How to make vegan dahi vada
There’s nothing worse than being super motivated to cook something only to find out that the first step is “soak ingredients, YESTERDAY.” So please don’t forget to just throw your dals in water the morning of. It can just chill for up to 12 hours soaking.
Then we are going to blitz the soaked dals in a blender with some ginger, salt, and green chili (if you like spice) until the mixture completely smooth and silky. Add baking powder and let it sit. Whip it on high speed with a whisk or stand mixer until the mixture color lightens from dark yellow to light yellow, like shown below.
Separate into little patty shapes and steam until fully cooked through and spongey. Dip in warm water and squeeze out excess. Toss with the spiced dahi mixture and let it soak before enjoying.
- 1/2 cup moong dal, dry
- 1/2 cup urad dal, dry
- 1/2 in ginger, grated
- 1/2 green chili (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups vegan dahi
- 2 tsp grated coconut
- 1 green chili
- 1 tsp cumin
- Cilantro, to taste
- Soak dals in water for at least 4 hours.
- Blend dals, ginger, salt, and green chili until a completely smooth paste forms.
- Fold in baking powder and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Break out the hand or stand mixer and get on the whisk attachment. On high speed, whisk the dal mixture to introduce air until it become light and pillowy and the color significantly lightens to almost white.
- Wet your hands, to prevent sticking, and form mixture into patty shapes.
- Steam for 8-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Soak vadas in warm water for 3 minutes and squeeze. The vadas will have a spongey texture and squeeze out all the water if they have cooked properly.
- Combine all the dahi ingredients in a bowl and toss in the vadas. They will taste best if you let them sit and soak up all the dahi goodness. This recipe gets better with time- the longer the soaking time, the better it tastes. But you can get a pretty tasty result with 20 minutes of soaking.