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Recipe for :

Dahi Vada - Lentil Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce

This recipe comes from Monica Bhides's book The Spice is Right.

A new young voice in Indian cooking, Monica Bhide was probably born with a mixing spoon in her mouth! Since the age of ten, cooking has been a lifelong passion for this accomplished caterer and home chef. Monica specialises in Indian cuisine and has prepared everything from an intimate dinner for two to large parties of 40. A graduate of several formal cooking courses in her native India, she is also a voracious cookbook reader and counts hundreds of cookbooks in her collection.

Frustrated by the lack of straightforward Indian cookbooks, Monica became inspired several years ago to develop simplified and healthful versions of her favorite Indian dishes. The result is the collection of mouthwatering Indian recipes in her book The Spice is Right, where Monica, in her down-to-earth and lively writing style, guides Indian food lovers on a non-intimidating and flavourful foray into home-style Indian cooking.

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Spice is Right <click here>

"I know a number of people will shake their heads when they see a deep-fried dish in a healthy cookbook. But a small helping - which is the way Indians eat anyway - is not only delicious but only contains 200 calories".


Lentil Dumplings:
1 cup (250 ml) moong dal (yellow lentils), washed
1 green chile
1 inch (2.5 cm) piece peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of asafetida
Salt to taste
Oil for deep-frying
4 cups (1 L) warm water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) red chile powder
Garnish: 2 tablespoons (25 ml) tamarind chutney and 2 tablespoons (25 ml) coriander chutney (optional)

For the Yogurt Sauce:
2 cups (500 ml) fat-free plain yogurt
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) sugar

  • Soak the moong dal (lentils) in water for about 3 hours. Drain the dal. In a food processor, grind together the dal, green chile, ginger, asafetida, and salt. Add a tablespoon of water to make the blending easier, if necessary. Place the mixture in a bowl and whisk it to incorporate air into it. (This will make the dumplings softer and fluffier.)
  • Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Drop a teaspoon of the dal mixture into the oil; if it rises to the top immediately, the oil is ready. Working in batches and not crowding the dumplings, place a tablespoon (15 ml) of the dal mixture in the oil and fry, turning, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Drain the dumplings on paper towels. Repeat until all the dal mixture is used up.
  • Soak the dumplings in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, water, salt, and sugar until smooth.
  • Drain the dumplings. Squeeze each one between the palms of your hands to remove excess water.
  • In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds, stirring frequently, untl fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • In a serving dish, arrange the dumplings in rows. Pour the yogurt sauce over the dumplings. Garnish with the cumin seeds, chile powder, and the chutneys, if desired.


The dumplings can be fried ahead of time, then frozen for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use them, place them in a bowl of very hot water for 2 to 3 minutes to thaw them.

If you prefer a softer dumpling, add about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of fat-free plain yogurt to the dumpling mixture before frying.


If you are on a very strict diet that abolutely does not allow for deep-fried foods, use diced boiled potatoes instead of the dumplings. The dumplings in this dish are traditionally made with chickpea flour. To make chickpea flour dumplings, replace the moong dal with 1 cup (250 ml) of chickpea flour; add enough water to make a batter for dropping consistency. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and proceed as above.

Monica Bhide
The Spice is right

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Spice is Righ
t <click here>

© Monica Bhide, The Spice is Right