Dahi bhalla with an overwhelming flavour of bada elaichi and adarak is a delightful innovation of Kashi. 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.
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 soft, thick and airy.
Black cardamom, ginger, green chillies, salt and curry leaves or coriander leaves are ground and gently mixed into the batter. Thick curd is 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 immersed in the bowl of lukewarm to hot water to remove the excess oil. They are gently squeezed after a few minutes and soaked in the cold curd mixture.
While serving, a little more creamy curd is added along with pomegranate seeds and a dash of imli chutney and hara chutney and garnished with coriander leaves and salad. Red chilli powder, black pepper powder and roasted cumin powder are sprinkled on the top. Some vendors will serve chole or aloo sabzi with the dahi bhalla to make it more spicy, tangy, sweet and comforting!
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian