Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dahi vada or Peruggarelu

Vada or vade (as we call it in Kannada) was meant for specific occasions at home. Nammamma never deviated from this unwritten rule and never made urad dal vades on other days. So it was only when we went to restaurants which was so infrequent that we would get to taste this sinfully delicious stuff. As we grew up, she made concessions and when I started experimenting in the kitchen, I was allowed to make them but call them urad dal bondas instead and was not allowed to make the hole in the center which is so characteristic of vadas :-).

However at my in-laws place, there is no such restriction on making these vadas any time and I was completely blown over the first time amma prepared them after I got married. Her dahi vadas or peruggarilu (perugu~curd/yogurt and garelu~vadas) are to die for and she gets the same melt in the mouth consistency every single time she makes it. It is featured on birthdays, festivals and any occasion or no occasion at all :-).

When amma makes these at home, it takes center stage and she usually makes one rice item which kind of gets a typical step motherly treatment during lunch/dinner as all the attention is on the peruggarelu. And we in our family have different preferences when it comes to eating it. DD likes a sprinkle of boondi (a savory deep fried snack made with chick pea flour) for crunch while I like it with a dash of red chili powder and BH loves to top it with both :-).

As I love these peruggarelu, I have conveniently forgotten nammamma's rule and switched over to amma's practice. With both BH and DD having inherited the love for peruggarelu, we enjoy making and eating it. I made these dahi vadas 2 weeks back when we had guests home but couldn't get to posting it due to travel and work and everything else happening in life :-). When I started my post today, the pictures beckoned me and I didn't have to think about any other dish. My friends from North India like to eat it with a dollop of thick tamarind-date chutney on top.

Dahi vadas are made with Urad dal or black gram. Some people like to use a coarsely ground dough for making dahi vada while I prefer my completely smooth batter. A pre-requisite is to have good dahi or yogurt that is not sour.
What do you need to make Dahi-vada? 
For the Garelu/vadas - Makes about 20-24 vadas depending on the size:
1 cup urad dal/black gram dal
1/2 cup water for grinding
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
4-5 black pepper corns
oil to deep fry

For the Parugu/Dahi: 
2 cups of thick yogurt
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp sugar
1/2 cup water

For the perugu popu/Dahi seasoning:
1 Tsp cooking oil
1 Tsp mustard
1 Tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dry chilies

How do you make Dahi-vada? 
Prepare Dahi/perugu
  • Mix yogurt and water and whisk it till smooth.
  • Add salt and sugar and mix it well. 
  • Prepare seasoning by heating oil - add mustard, cumin and red chilies. Let the seeds crackle.
  • Pour it over the yougurt mixture, mix well and pour it into a wide basin that will hold your vadas when soaked. 
Prepare Vadas:
  • Soak urad dal for an hour, wash it in 2 changes of water, drain the water. 
  • Grind it to a smooth batter by using little amounts of water at intervals, take care to use as little water as needed to run your blender/mixer. 
  • Towards the end of grinding, add the pepper corn and let it blend with the batter. 
  • Take out the batter, mix salt in.
  • Heat oil in a wide frying pan on medium heat. 
  • Wet your fingers with water, scoop out a lemon sized batter, flatten it a little on your palms and gently ease it into the hot oil. 
  • After 2 minutes, turn the vadas over and let both sides turn golden brown. 
  • Drain the vadas, drop them slowly into a bowl of cold water and let it stand for 45secs to a minute. 
  • Lift the vadas one by one, squeeze them gently between palms taking care not to break them and drop them into the yogurt vessel. 
  • Spoon some yogurt on top of the vadas. 
  • Repeat for all of the batter. 
  • Let the vadas soak for atleast 20-30 minutes for them to become soft. 
  • Serve plumped up dahi vadas with a scoop of the yogurt mixture and any topping of your choice. 
  • Forget about deep frying, dieting and just binge on the bliss for a day, remember to hit the gym extra hard the next day :-)
  • Do not soak urad dal for more than an hour, your vadas tend to absorb more oil if you do. 
  • Use as little water as needed during grinding for a thick batter. 
  • Use cold water while grinding to help your mixer/blender motor.
  • Dropping the hot finished vadas into cold water helps remove the oil on top and eliminate the resulting bitterness when soaked in yogurt. 
  • Do not leave the vadas in cold water for more than a minute and do not squeeze them too hard. 
  • Use a wide pan for the yogurt as the vadas occupy space once they soak up the yogurt. 
Serving suggestions: 
  • Spoon out dahi vadas in to a serving bowl along with a scoop of the yogurt, top it with a variety of ingredients to enhance the taste from red chili powder to tamarind-date chutney to boondhi or let your imagination take over.


NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow mouth melting perruggarelu wonderfull. yes we can have as a main course and it is healthy as urad dal is rich in Protins and ofcourse Dahi is always good for our stomach. thanks for the NICE DISH dear Sattva! looking forward for more and more dishes.

Prathibha said...

All I want is that bowl now...yummy n deliciosu vada

Jay said...

looks awesome...cant wait to try your recipe
Tasty Appetite

Gayathri NG said...

simply exciting n yummy vadas...

Jyothi Vinod said...

Going to make it now. With such clear instructions, I'm confident of the outcome. :)