The soft vada soaked in creamy white dahi (curd) and topped with aromatic spices and chutney is a delight to the plate. I have given the recipe a healthy twist by using whole grain urad dal to make the vadas for added fiber. Furthermore, this is one of the most excellent low carb, no preservative recipes as I prefer to use unsweetened homemade yogurt. My favorite vegetarian, protein-packed, gluten-free snack. It is a snack in Indian cuisine, yet it fully qualifies as a light, healthy meal. Make a choice depending on your mood and how hungry you are for vadas. This is dahi vada is not only packed with protein, but it also has high calcium, fiber, vitamins, and active probiotics as well. Though vadas are fried, since they are dipped in water, some of the oil is separated. If you still want to make it an ultimate power nutrition meal, fry vadas in one of – coconut oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, vegetable oil. These oils have a high smoke point around 500f. Which means the oil doesn’t break down chemically and produce harmful radicals till it reaches that temperature.
I wonder many times that ancient Indian cooks have come up with such awesome homemade recipes without using any artificial flavors or stock. I feel responsible to preserve such recipes and pass on to next generations. If you agree with me, follow me, make as many recipes for our children and they will repeat.
Dahi Vada: Names & Nutrition
Dahi vada is known by various names across India such as- Dahi Vada (in Gujarati); Dahi Bhalla (in Punjabi); Doi Bora (in Bengali); Dahi bara (in Odiya); Dahi bada (in Rajasthan) and Thayir vadai (in South India).
Dahi vadas are packed with protein and calcium. They serve as a refreshingly savory energy booster during hot summer days. This is one of the low-fat Indian keto recipes which when had as an appetizer can save from over-eating. The recipe uses a lot of dahi, also called curd or yogurt. The curd is extremely beneficial for weight loss. Moreover, curd helps in digestion, enhances immunity, makes skin glow and aids in maintaining healthy bones & teeth. The vadas are made up of whole grains, and the dietary fiber present in whole grains help maintain good health.
Choose the Healthy Home-made Way
I always recommend buying fresh natural ingredients and preparing cuisines at home. Home-made dishes can be customized according to one’s preferences keeping in mind both health and taste. Often, Dahi Vadas sold in food-joints aren’t healthy! The oil used for frying the vadas is not of good quality, it tends to be high in bad fat content and the dal used isn’t whole grain. Furthermore, chemically colored store-bought packaged spices are used. The curd and chutneys which are the vital flavoring agents of this recipe are often several days old. All these lead to consumption of unhealthy, high-calorie and excessively sweet/salty/oily Dahi vadas. Your low carb Indian diet will go for a toss if you choose to have Dahi vadas outdoors.
How Dahi vada is cooked differently in different states/area in India
This keto Indian food is relished in different ways in diverse parts of India. The South Indian dahi vada (known as thayir vadai) has a donut-shaped vada dipped in yogurt and topped with tampering of mustards seed, chilies and curry leaves in oil. In other variants, the spices, chutney, and toppings keep changing. Some add roasted jeera powder while others use garam masala powder. At times, boondi and pomegranates are also used for garnishing dahi vadas. Often, the dal used to make the batter for vada is different in different Indian regions. In some recipes, the Vada is kept plain while others add onions, chilies, and spices to the vada batter before frying them.
The spicy, sour, creamy, sweet and tangy flavors all combine together in this vegan low carb Indian food called “Dahi Vada”. They are usually served in room temperate or cold. You can enjoy them with your own customized homemade chutney, sauce or spices. Commonly, a befitting keto diet, Indians serve it as starters or chilled appetizers! Yet, if you love snacking at odd hours or wish to enjoy a light Indian dinner recipe then Dahi vadas are the perfect pick.
- 2 cups - whole black gram dal (urad dal)
- 3 cups - homemade curd. you can use whole or 2%.
- Pink Himalayan salt
- 3-3½ tbsp healthy oils as coconut
- 2-3 Green Thai chilies or red chilies or chili powder
- ½ tsp - mustard seeds
- ½ tsp - jeera
- ½ tsp - dried ginger powder
- 5-8 curry leaves
- ¼th tsp - turmeric powder
- Chopped cilantro
- This is South Indian style dahi vada. There are a few variations depending on the region. Feel free to customize it as you want.
- Soak urad dal for 2-4 hours.
- Drain water into a bowl. Grind dal in a wet grinder or regular blender. Grind with at least amount of water.
- If you need water, add little by little at a time. Add salt. Grind again to mix. Remove into a bowl.
- Take curd into a flat bottomed bow. Flat bottom can hold more vadas in a row and don't break while serving. Whisk well. If the curd isn't in buttermilk consistency, add little by little water at a time. Make it buttermilk consistency.
- Add oil to a small kadai. Heat to medium.
- Add mustard seeds, wait till they splutter. Now add jeera. Cook till golden brown.
- Now add curry leaves, chilies (If using). After they stop spluttering, add turmeric powder, ginger powder, chili powder (if using).
- Turn off flame, add to curd. Mix well.
- Now add oil to another pot. Oil should be enough to dip the vadas completely. Heat to medium heat.
- Take vada batter, make flat rounds on a cotton cloth or zip loc. I make in hand. I wet my hands first. Water on your hands makes batter slip in oil easily. Take batter into the hand, flatten it and make a hole with thumb and drop in hot oil. I make with a single hand and use another hand to take out of oil. If you are not comfortable doing this, lay a wet cotton cloth, make few vadas and drop in oil in a single batch.
- Make sure oil is on medium heat. Fry vadas on medium heat to ensure they are fried inside too. Fry vadas on both sides till golden brown. Remove and drop in water. Dip them all the way in water for 30-45 seconds. Then place in prepared yogurt.
- Repeat with all vadas. Stack vadas carefully on top of each other so that they are easy to serve with a spoon without breaking. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Let vadas soak for at least 2 hours. Soaking them gives the moistest, juicy dahi vada.