Unity in Diversity
The traditional and cultural differences among the North and South Indian people has been going on since time immemorial. The North Indian stereotyping their other counterpart to be a highly religious , rice eating Madrasi community having a typical accent while the South Indians blaming their fellow countrymen to be spoiled brats busy showing off their wealth is quite a normal phenomenon for us. But one thing which unites us all are the varied options of Indian food. Idli-dosa and sambar-chawal of the Southern people have gained much popularity in the North while the butter chicken and naan from the North has been happily accepted by the people in the South.
Dahi - Vada is one such chaat preparation which is highly popular among both North and South Indians. My fondest memory of Doi - Bora (as we Bengalis call them) is of the street side vendor offering this delight in front of Sreeram Arcade at Esplanade, Kolkata. Shopping in this area would remain incomplete without having a taste of this flavoursome dish. So in whichever part of the world you are, its best to customise every dish according to your taste buds. The one recipe which I am sharing with you is my customised version of lentil fritters dipped in yoghurt sauce (its Dahi - Vada silly!!!)
- Urad dal - 1 cup soaked in water preferably overnight ( minimum 4 hours)
- Ginger - around 1 inch roughly chopped into small pieces
- Cumin seeds (zeera) - 1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida (hing) - 1/4 teaspoon
- Fennel seeds ( saunf / mouri) - 1/2 teaspoon
- Green chillies - 2
- Yoghurt - 250 gms (approx.)
- Salt and rock salt
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Tamarind chatni (I use a readymade one but you can of course make it at home)
- Chilly powder ( according to taste and completely optional)
- Roasted cumin powder ( dry roast some cumin seeds, cool them off and grind them. You can store the excess for future use)
- Plain bhujia / sev
|Soaked - Dal|
- Drain the soaked dal and along with the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, hing, chillies, ginger and salt (according to your taste but keep it a bit less since we will add rock salt to the yoghurt too) grind everything together into a thick paste. Add 1-2 teaspoon of water if required to make the paste. Refer to the picture below for the consistency. I prefer it to stay a bit grainy.
|Ready to be grinded|
- Take a heavy bottomed kadhai, heat it and add oil for deep frying the Vadas.
|Fried both sides|
You can enjoy some of these fritters right away just as I did (its difficult keeping your hands off them) with a cuppa of steaming hot tea. Having a crunchy skin and a spongy interior, popular in Kolkata as fuluri this snack does have a fan following.
|Fuluri with ada - chaa ( ginger - tea ) is immensely satisfying|
- Once deep fried transfer the Vadas into a large bowl having cold water and keep them soaked for around 10-15 minutes. This removes the excess oil and also keeps the Vadas soft.
- Meanwhile beat the yoghurt to a smooth paste by adding some rock salt, chilly powder and roasted cumin powder.
|Yoghurt Sauce ( as you may call it )|
- Take the vadas out of the water, sqeeze them to drain out the water, break them in halves and dip them in the yoghurt mix.
- Add in some tamarind chatni ( the more the merrier), some bhujia and you are good to go.
|The Absolute delight|
P.S. You can make the Vadas in advance, store them in fridge and serve them instantly by dipping them in yoghurt as soon as your friends come over. DOI - BORA is a relishing snack and works for all Indians.