But some years ago, I discovered an amazing recipe for dahi vadas - these are crisp and flavourful, and the yoghurt bursts with flavour too. They are really easy to make too, and have been a hit whenever I or any of my family or friends have served them. When I was studying in France, I was in the process of making these when the house agent came in with a couple to whom she was showing the apartment. The gentleman with her kept sniffing the aroma of these dahi vadas and finally couldn't resist asking me what I was cooking. I offered them to him and his wife, and they were absolutely bowled over - which I found really encouraging since I had just recently started cooking.
These taste great by themselves as a snack or party starter, or with any spiced rice dish. they go particularly well with Bisi bele Bhaath which i shall blog about some other day. One tip - always make more than you planned, because they always go faster than you anticipated!
As always, measurements are indicative, and you have to adjust it to your taste. This should make enough for 6 people. PS. I will put up pictures of the various stages and the finished dish when ever I next make it.
1/2 pound Besan ( Chick pea flour)
2 onions, chopped really fine, minced, rather
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
Bunch of coriander leaves, chopped very fine
1 1/2 cups yoghurt, beaten
6-7 pods garlic
1 bunch coriander leaves and stem chopped fine
salt to taste
Handful of curry leaves
1-2 garlic pods, cut into long, thin pieces
1-2 Dried red chillies
1 cup oil
- Mix the first six ingredients together with water to make a liquidy paste - about the consistency of chocolate syrup (thinner than pancake but thicker than juice).
- Whip the next four together and refrigerate.
- Put the oil on to heat in a frying pan. Use a tablespoon or rounded spoon to ladle the batter, spoon by spoon onto the frying pan. Make these mini-pancakes roughly 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches in size, and about 1/4 centimeter thick - they are like mini-blinis.
- Cook thoroughly on both sides, turning over. They should be crisp at the edges and somewhat crisp in the center too when done.
- Lay each pancake on absorbest tissue to cool.
- When they are fully cooled, take out a large, flat pan and set the pancakes on it, side by side, so they form a layer. After each such layer, pour some of the yoghurt you had set to refrigerate onto the layer, making sure the pancakes are covered in the yoghurt.
- Once you have layered all the pancakes with yoghurt, put the dish into the fridge for 2-3 hours.
- Make sure you keep some of the yoghurt mix aside to top the dish before serving.
- Make a tempering of 2 tsp oil, in which you add the thin garlic pieces, the dried red chillies and the curry leaves, in that order. Sometimes I add mustard seeds at the beginning of the tempering, but they are not necessary.
- Before serving, add the reserved yoghurt mix and garnish with the tempering.