Try these dahi vada – moon bhajia – as part of a special meal. Delicious alone, you can eat them fried as ‘bhajia’ dipped in sriracha or enjoy with yogurt
- Serves: 6 persons
- 180g split white urad dhal
- 2tsp green chillies, finely chopped
- 2tsp grated ginger
- 2tsp crushed garlic
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 750g thick Greek yogurt
- ½bunch of coriander, chopped
- seeds from 1 small pomegranate
- toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (or toasted sunflower seeds)
Step 1To make the vada, rinse the urad dhal in warm water a few times until the water runs clear. Put in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 30 mins. Drain and blitz the soaked dhal in a food processor until it becomes a thick, hummus-like consistency. You may need to add another 50-100ml water. Tip into a large bowl.
Step 2Add the chillies, ginger and garlic, if using, followed by the cumin seeds, bicarb and 1 tsp salt. Stir well.
Step 3Heat a 10cm depth of oil to 180C in a deep-fat fryer or deep saucepan. If you don’t have a thermometer, check the oil is ready by dropping in a pinch of the vada mixture – it should turn golden in about 30 seconds. While the oil is heating, fill a large bowl with tepid water and set aside.
Step 4When the oil is at temperature, slide in 5-6 spoonfuls of the mixture. (I use two teaspoons: scoop the mixture up with one, then use the other to push the mixture into the oil.) Fry for a minute or so , then turn the vada over to cook evenly until golden brown, about 1-2 mins. Remove to kitchen paper using a slotted spoon or spider to drain. Drop the vada into the water (you can skip this if you like; the vada will just be slightly crunchier). Repeat until all the mixture is used, drying the spoon each time you drop it into the water.
Step 5Whisk the yogurt with salt to taste and spoon half onto a serving platter. Drain the vadas from the water (if using). Take each one and gently squish it between the palms of your hands to remove the water. Tip them onto the platter in one layer, or double up if needed. Spoon over the rest of the yogurt so the vada are fully coated. To serve, drizzle over some sriracha, then sprinkle over the coriander, pomegranate and peanuts or sunflower seeds.