Saturday, 8 February 2014

Dahi Vada Stuffed with Raisins

There are times when you long for something very dearly, yet you are not inspired enough to achieve it. This statement may sound a little philosophical for a food blog, but you will know what I am talking of in just a bit. It has been about 3-4 months since I have been having this craving for Dahi Vadas but was not able to find a proper joint to satisfy my soul. The ones which are sold in restaurants are usually quite hard and too sour to be enjoyed. I like my dahi vadas soft and spongy with a mix of sweet, tangy, and chilli flavor, not to forget the freshly roasted cumin seed powder. I have been cooking quite a lot ever since I started this blog, but somehow the idea of making dahi vadas at home wasn't exciting enough to me. The whole process seemed quite tedious and time consuming to me. And then there was this post on Chef at Large which served as the trigger. I was finally inspired enough to go through the process and enjoy the Dahi Vadas just the way I like them. The whole process of grinding, frying, assembling with the curd and chutney took me approximately 2 hours but was worth every minute of it. The Vadas were superbly soft, well soaked, and heavenly in taste. Now, next time I have some guests over for dinner this is surely going to be added in the menu!

For the Vada
1 cup white Urad dal (or split black gram)
1 inch piece ginger
2 green chillies
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins, soaked
Oil for frying

For the Tamarind Chutney
100 gms tamarind
Jaggery as per taste
2-3 aam papad (optional)
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chilli powder
1-1/2 cup water

For the Base
2-3 cups curd, whisked well
1-2 tsp sugar (depending how sour your curd is)
1 tsp salt
Red chilli powder for sprinkling
Freshly roasted cumin seed powder for sprinkling

Preparing the Vadas
Soak the daal overnight or 5-6 hours. Wash and drain the daal and grind in a blender to a fine paste with the ginger and green chilli. Add very little (about 1/4 cup) water to make the fine paste. Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan. Take a dollop of the batter on your palm. Add a few raisins and close it with your hands. It will be a loose ball of batter but ensure that the raisins are well inside the ball and closed from all sides. When the oil is very hot, slide down the ball and fry till golden brown on low flame. Meanwhile, boil some water in a pan and immediately immerse those fried vadas into the warm water. Continue with the same process with the rest of the vadas. When you are nearing the end of the frying process, start taking out the vadas from the soaked water (your memory needs to play a role here; follow the first in first out process). Hold the soaked vada in between your palms and gently squeeze out the excess water. Place the vadas on the dish you wish to serve the vadas. Repeat for the rest of the vadas. Your vadas are now ready for the next step.

Preparing the Tamarind Chutney
Boil the tamarind and the aam papad in water  for 10 minutes. Remove from flame and strain the tamarind. With the help of the back of a spoon or a potato masher, squeeze out the juice from the tamarind and return the pan on fire. Put back the aam papad as well. Now add all the other ingredients listed above. Check the sweetness and the spiciness of the chutney and adjust as per your liking.Do not   thicken  the chutney too much as it will thicken further once it cools down. Pour the chutney into a bowl and let it cool.

Preparing the Curd Base
Whisk the curd well with an egg beater till smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and salt as per your taste and mix well. 

The Assembling
Pour the whisked curd on top of the arranged vadas ensuring all the vadas are covered well. Now top it with a bit of the tamarind chutney and sprinkle the freshly roasted cumin seed powder and some chilli powder. Some people also like a bit of coriander leaves on top of their vadas or the green chutney . Garnish as desired and enjoy your vadas to your heart's content! 


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