Dahi Vada Recipe

Dahi Vada Recipe
Dahi Vadas are delicious savory lentil fritters that are soaked in a delicately spiced yogurt, similar to dumplings. These are usually served cold & eaten commonly throughout India as an appetizer, side dish or even a snack. In both Marathi & Hindi, “dahi” refers to the yogurt & “vadas” are the actual lentil fritters. The lentil fritters are very addictive on their own, so I always make a few extra just for snacking. This flavorful dish is a wonderful combination of both tastes & textures – it’s easily one of my all time favorites ☺.

DAHI VADAS (Lentil Fritters in a Spiced Yogurt Sauce)


1½ cups urad dal (skinned & split black gram dal, white variety)
2″ piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
3-4 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
pinch of asafetida (hing)
pinch of sugar, optional
salt, to taste
enough oil for deep frying (peanut, vegetable or canola oil)
2½ to 3 cups fresh thick yogurt (make sure the yogurt is not too sour)
1½ to 2 cups of water
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
½ tbsp ground cumin powder (freshly roasted & ground is best for this dish)
1 tbsp chaat masala for garnish, (optional)
pinch of red chili powder for garnish, (optional)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


Wash the urad dal & soak it in enough water to cover for about 3-4 hours. Then drain well, rinse & grind it into a smooth thick batter adding as little water as needed.

In large mixing bowl, combine the lentil batter with the ginger, green chilies, asafetida, sugar & salt. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.

Heat enough oil for shallow frying in a deep pot on medium high heat. Then using a large spoon, carefully drop spoonfuls (ping pong ball size) of the dal batter into the hot oil. Shallow fry the lentil fritters until they are golden brown on all sides. This can be done in batches. Drain well and set aside for a few minutes.

Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water & add the lentil fritters. Let them sit in the water for about 30 seconds or so and then remove them, using your palms to gently squeeze out any excess water. Set aside until needed.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt together with the water (adding a little at a time) until completely smooth. It should have the consistency of a thick sauce. Now add in the spices (red chili powder, ground cumin powder & salt). Mix well to combine. Now add the lentil fritters, making sure they are well immersed in the yogurt. Refrigerate & let chill for a few hours before serving.

To serve the dahi vadas, add a few of them to individual serving bowls (or fun martini glasses). Then sprinkle a little chaat masala & a pinch of red chili powder over the top. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves & serve with a drizzle of tamarind chutney.


Feel free to serve this with cilantro or mint chutney if you like, although tamarind chutney is more traditional. You can also sprinkle some fine sev/boondi (chickpea snacks) over the top as well for both texture & crunch.

This can also be made using various dals such as chana dal (split & skinned Bengal gram dal) & split yellow moong dal. Just combine 1 cup white urad dal with ¼ cup chana dal & ¼ split yellow moong dal – follow the directions as indicated above.

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