Dahi vada's are my mothers favorite. Mine too but I like to gobble up the vadas straight from the fryer. A very famous North Indian chaat, it is eaten almost all over the country now. This dish of crunchy-made-soft vada and tangy-made-sweet dahi when made correctly is a satiny morsel which melts in your mouth.
The urad daal used in the vada has to be soaked for atleast 4 hours, so it is not a spur of the moment dish. The beating of the batter also takes time but the vadas freeze beautifully, so you can make them beforehand for a dinner party and just thaw and serve on the day. They taste just as fresh as the day they were made. Traditionally there are no spices in the vada but I add a few for some extra pizzazz. Also if you want you can also add moong daal (skinned split green gram), one part to two parts urad daal. The portion below makes 50 mid size vadas.
2 cups urad daal (Skinned split black gram)3-4 green chilies
1/2 inch stick of ginger
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
Salt to taste
1.5 liters curd (for 50 vadas)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Bhuna jeera (roasted cumin seed powder)
Red chili powder
Salt to taste
Wash the urad daal thoroughly and soak in 4 cups of water. Let it soak for about 4-6 hours. The daal will almost double in size.
Add the sugar and about a teaspoon of salt into the curd and whisk it. It should be smooth and lumpfree. Refridgerate.
In a blender add the daal along with the chilies, ginger, salt and jeera. Depending on the size of blender, it will be done in 2-3 batches. Add as little water as possible (soaking water) and grind to a fine paste. After all the daal is ground to a fine paste, transfer it to a large bowl. Using a ladle / whisk beat the batter in a clockwise direction. Continue this for about 10 minutes. To test if it's aerated, take a small lump and put it in a cup of water. If it sinks, beat more and if it floats it is done. Whip in one direction only. This can be done with a blender also.
Heat oil in a deep vessel. Fry medium sized rounds using a spoon or fingers to drop the batter into the oil. Wet your hands to prevent batter from sticking to your hands. Fry on low heat on one side, just till the outside begins to cook and fluffs up. Then turn the vadas on the other side. Increase the flame to high. Cook the second side completely - it will turn a golden yellow and then flip to cook the first side. If you cook the first side completely and then flip, there is a chance of the vadas bursting. This can cause serious burns, so be careful. Whip the batter for about a minute every time you fry a new batch. This ensures all your batches are light, fluffy and soft.
To serve, soak the vadas in cool water for about 2 minutes. Squeeze slightly to drain all the water. Place vadas in a serving bowl, then pour the curd. Next add the tamarind chutney followed by the jeera powder and chili powder. Serve immediately. If you are making this for a party, add chutney and spices to the curd itself and mix well.