Dahi Bhalle

I remember once when she was around 7, my daughter said, “I can eat 100 dahi vadas.” We had laughed at her statement but secretly I’d murmured to myself, “Me too!” Made chaat style, this is a popular street food from North India & you’ll see vendors selling plates of pillowy soft dahi bhalla chaat, served in leaf bowls, topped with khatti meethi chutneys, pomegranate arils, chaat masala, fresh coriander & the works!
At home, everyone prefers them made the simple way, not the chaat style. So, I serve them dunked in chilled curd & top it with dry spices & chopped coriander. For me, this is a meal in itself but you could serve them as a side for a simple pulao or even serve them with chhole bhature for a lavish lunch! The trick is to get the batter aerated so the bhallas turn out soft & fluffy. Try out my recipe to get that right & make delicious, light dahi bhallas easily. Once you make them this way, you will realise how simple it is to get these beauties right, just a few tips & tricks here & there  😉 So, let’s get going!

Dahi Bhalle

Course: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

Soft lentil fritters dunked in chilled yoghurt & served as a side dish or chaat item, mostly in North India.

Ingredients

  • Urad dhuli dal: 2/3 cup

  • Moong dhuli dal: 1/3 cup

  • Ginger: 2 inch piece finely chopped

  • Green chillies: 2 finely chopped

  • Heeng: 1/2tsp

  • Curd: 5 cups, whisked smooth

  • Red chilli powder: 1/2tsp

  • Roasted jeera powder: 1tsp

  • Black pepper powder: 1/2tsp

  • Black salt: 2 pinches

  • Water: 2 litres, lukewarm

  • Oil to deep fry

  • Salt to taste

  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Directions

  • Soak the urad dal & moong dal separately, overnight or for 5 hours at least.
  • Drain both the dals in the morning & grind them in the mixer separately. Add as little water as possible while grinding.
  • Mix both the batters well. Add the chopped ginger & green chillies. Now comes the integral part. You have to aerate the batter very well. So we whisk it. Best would be to use your hand to do this. Remember to whisk in one direction only. This will take a good 10-15 minutes of whisking for the batter to get completely fluffy. The test is to invert the bowl & check. if you have whisked well, the batter won’t drop! You can also add a drop of the batter to a bowl of water to see if it floats & if so, it’s done.
  • Now heat oil in a kadhai & let it heat well on medium flame. Drop the batter in the hot oil one by one in the shape of small balls.
  • Once the bhallas turn slightly golden, take them out of the kadhai & fry the rest. When all are ready, put them all together in the kadhai once again for double frying.
  • They’ll soon get a nice full golden colour. Take them out & dunk them in a भगोना (vessel) with lukewarm water mixed with salt & heeng (asafoetida) . Let them soak for 30 minutes.
  • When you check 30 minutes later, the bhallas would have puffed up after soaking in the water. They’d feel nice & spongy too.
  • Time to assemble. Squeeze the bhallas slightly, arrange on a plate or bowl. Add the whisked, chilled curd. Top this with black salt, pepper, red chilli powder & freshly roasted jeera powder.
  • You can now garnish with fresh chopped coriander. If you wish to make a chaat out of it, add meethi & khatti chutneys, pomegranate arils, sev, julienned ginger at this point.
  • You can keep the assembled dahi bhallas in the fridge if you’d like to chill them further. Or simply, dig in!

Notes

  • The highlight of this dish is a well aerated batter. It’s some work but please do not skimp on whisking it for at least 10 mins. Hard bhallas are terrible to eat.
  • You can add some papdi to this & make it a Bhalla Papdi Chaat  😋
  • Some people use only urad dal for the bhallas. For me a mix of two dals works best.
  • The lukewarm water with salt & heeng adds a lot of flavour & softness to the bhallas. Pro tip!

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