There is one recipe that my husband and I love to make as soon as the weather starts to get warm, and that we make all the way up until the end of summer: dahi vade. We have taught this recipe in our Vegetarian Indian Cooking classes, served it to all our friends both Indian or American, and everyone just loves it. I promise that even though it seems complicated, it's really pretty easy. Dumplings made of lentils, fried then soaked in water and squeezed out, and served with yogurt, chutneys, and spices. It makes a good appetizer with dinner, or a light dinner by itself. It's cool and refreshing and delicious. In the waning days of summer, it's definitely something I want to have one more time before we move on to warmer/heartier fall dishes!
2 cups urad dal, soaked in water overnight
Salt to taste
Red chile powder to taste
1 tbs whole cumin seeds
Oil for frying
Plain yogurt, thinned out with some water and stirred until smooth
Black salt to taste
Red chile powder, to taste
Roasted and crushed cumin seeds
Minced green chiles, to taste
Take the soaked dal and grind it up as smooth as you can in a blender or food processor with a little bit of water and some salt, the cumin seeds, and red chile powder. It shouldn’t be too thick or too liquidy.
In a large skillet, drop the paste by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and fry until golden brown. After they are cooked and cooled a couple minutes, place them into a big bowl of cold water. You can let them soak for hours to get really soft, or you can serve them soon after.
When you are ready to serve, remove the vadas from the water and gently squeeze them to remove extra water/oil. Place maybe 5-6 vadas on each plate. Pour some of the liquidy yogurt over them. Then sprinkle the following on top: a pinch of black salt, some red chile to taste, minced green chiles, cilantro chutney, tamarind chutney, burnt cumin seeds, salt, and chopped cilantro.