A hugely popular street food of Prayagraj and pretty much the whole of North India is the deliciously creamy dahi bhalla. Also known as dahi pakodi or dahi vada or dahi gujiya, this vada made from urad dal makes its appearance in almost all festivals and celebrations.
It is perhaps the excellent quality milk and curd of Prayagraj that really sets the dahi bhalla made here apart from the rest in North India. Every street vendor will offer you his or her version of this tasty snack and you will never get tired of sampling this delectable dish.
A certain measure of urad dal (sometimes moong dal) is rinsed and soaked overnight. It is washed again and ground into a fine paste. It is important to add very little water while grinding as the batter needs to be thick. Finely chopped ginger, green chillies, salt and curry leaves or coriander leaves are ground along with the batter.
Thick curd is gently whisked and rock salt and sugar are added to it and mixed well. It is then refrigerated for a few hours.
Oil is heated on medium flame in a large kadai and a bowl of lukewarm to hot water is kept next to it. A handful of the batter is scooped out and put into the hot oil. The vadas are cooked till they turn golden brown in colour.
They are taken out and after cooling, immersed in the bowl of lukewarm to hot water to remove the excess oil. They are gently squeezed after a few moments and soaked in the cold curd mixture.
While serving, a little more creamy curd is added along with cut dates, pomegranate seeds and a dash of imli chutney and hara chutney and garnished with coriander leaves. Red chilli powder, black pepper powder and roasted cumin powder is sprinkled on the top.
Every mouthful of the dahi bhalla is refreshingly spicy, tangy, sweet and comforting!
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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