Few years ago, I happen to attend a marriage ceremony of one of my cousins and there were few Foreigner Guests too. A scene at the Buffet counter is still fresh in my mind. A conversation between an American Lady (M)- fond of Indian food, and an Untrained staff(local people, unable to converse in proper English) at buffet went on something like this.....
Staff (S): "Hello Madam ji"
M: "Hello, I was looking for Dumplings in Yogurt sauce, but i cannot see those anywhere around the course".
S:" Sorry, but what did you said?"
M: "Dumplings...Those white coloured things, that are very famous in Indian Restaurants abroad".
S: "Oh ok ok, you mean Jeera Rice( goes , and return back with a plate of Jeera Rice)".
M: " No , No, those Dumplings, white colored, in yogurt, with brown sauce over it."
S (still confused as hell) went to call someone in escalation.
S2: "Yes Madam..."
M: "Lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce please, i have came here to eat those, i love them , but can't see any, here".
S2: "Sorry Madam, but such thing is not in our Menu Today".
M: "How come, I had been told that no Buffet goes without that in Menu".
Just then another person among the catering staff, brought a huge tray of Something, to replenish the Buffet.
M: Shouting and with shrieks , yelled....."This... this, I was talking about THIS..."
Poor staff... how on Earth would they know that Yogurt is the simple Dahi (at most they know that as CURD) and Lentil Dumplings were nothing else but bhalle, together that makes Dahi bhalle, the famous appetizer - cum Side dish- cum- Main course (for people like me who can eat it with some salt and peppery Roti as a maincourse)- and for some, even a sweet dish(the sweetened yogurt)
Now there is a long expected debate over Dahi wadas and Dahi bhalle, the two contradictory variations of almost similar dish. Dahi wada, is a Lentil (mostly Urad dal) donught sort of , which is made from really thick batter, and a portion of it is placed on wet palm or wet plastic sheet and a hole is made in center,then carefully dropped in frying pan and fried.While Dahibhalla is more like the regular fritter, where the batter,which is also thick(not as much as for dahi wada) , but creamy , and is directly scooped into frying pan and shallow fried. Confused. ??? Why to care for the perfect name and procedure when either ways it taste something straight from heaven.Better still, why not try out both the versions and let your family decide which way they prefer this delicious typical Indian delicacy.
So let's Jump over to the Recipe of LDIYS , aka Dahi Bhalla.
Prep Time: 5-7 hours of soaking time & total 10-20 (If frying needs to be done in two batches) minutes of grinding (depending on the grinder used)
Cooking Time:15-20 minutes (again varies with the size of frying pan used, since bigger the size, more number of bhalle in each batch and hence less the time required to finish the whole batter)
Makes: About 12-16 Dahi Bhalle depending upon the size
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy to Intermediary
Recipe/Post by: Alka
150 gms Urad Dal/Skinned Split Black Lentils
50 gms Yellow Moong Dal/Split Mung Benas
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-3 Green Chillies
A Small piece of Ginger (optional)
Water to aid grinding (just few spoons)
Salt as per taste
To Add to the mixture after grinding:
3-4 Black Peppers
10-15 Sultanas (Kishmish or dried Raisins)
2tsp Chopped Coriander leaves
And you will also need:
Oil for shallow frying
For Yogurt Sauce:
250 gms Curd/Yogurt (approx)
2 pinches of Black salt or Chaat masala
¼ tsp Jeera Powder (Cumin Seeds dry roasted and ground to fine powder)
3-4 tsp Tamarind Chutney
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt as per taste
Special Utensils needed :
A sturdy grinder to grind the lentils
A Flat bottomed shallow fry pan
- Wash several times and then Soak urad dal and moong dal for atleast 5-7 hours
- Grind it along with green chillies and ginger, adding little water.
- Remember the batter should be thick and not watery.
- Add salt, cumin seeds, coriander leaves, kishmish(optional), whole black peppers and mix it thoroughly in circular motion (strictly in circular motion).
- Beat the batter in circular motion for 3-4 minutes until the batter becomes soft, fluffy and also changes it color from yellowish to white.
- Now take a spoonful of this batter and shallow fry it in hot oil over medium to low flame till light golden brown , but remember the color of bhalle should not be dark.
- Repeat the procedure for remaining batter.
- Let the Bhalle cool and later soak them for 2-3 minutes in luke warm water.
- Squeeze out the water by pressing each bhalla between palms of your hands.
- Place them in a serving bowl or plate and cover them generously with beaten curd (it should be really smooth), to which salt is added.
- Sprinkle black salt , cumin powder, red chilli powder and/or chaat masala and garnish it with coriander leaves.
- Note that, some people prefer dahi bhalle with a dash of sweet tamarind chutney, some boiled potato chunks and salted boondi (soaked in water and later squeezed out), while others prefer them with sweet curd, in that case just add some sugar while beating the curd.
Shallow fried Bhalle
- Do not make the batter watery, or else bhalle would not be soft in texture.
- Do not fry these in lots of oil, just shallow fry in about 1/2 inch oil in a flat bottom pan.
- Fry these few at a time so as to provide enough space to expand.
- Always cool the Bhalle after frying, and then soak in some luke warm water for 2-3 minutes. Soaking hot bhalle will result into soggy mass.
- After soaking in water, always take bhalla in between your palms and squeeze slightly to remove excess of water (and oil too). Do this gently so as not to crumble the mass.
- Make sure to let the bhalle sit in yogurt base for at least half hour before serving (the more time, the better), so as to let bhalle absorb some curd and flavors.
- Always reserve some curd aside, because after some time, the bhalle tends to soak the curd and hence the extra curd set aside could be beaten, flavored and added while serving to adjust the consistency.