A healthier recipe for Dahi Bhalla chaat, one of THE most popular street foods in North-India. Creamy and delicious pan-fried lentil fritters are soaked in Indian spiced yogurt and garnished with zesty chutney and tangy chaat masala.
Dahi Bhalla, pronounced as Duh-ee Bhuh-laa, are also known as Dahi Vada. Dahi means yogurt and bhalla refers to the fried lentil fitters, so Dahi-Bhalla means lentil fritters soaked in yogurt.
Traditionally, the Bhalla, or lentil fritters, are deep fried and then added to yogurt. In this healthier recipe for Dahi-Bhalla, I use a non-stick stuffed-pancake pan/ Aebleskiver pan to pan-fry the fritters using very little oil, and get the same golden color and texture on these fritters.
Dahi Bhalla is served as a snack (chaat), appetizer, or as a side dish in an Indian meal. If is often part of the menu during celebrations and Indian festivities like Holi and Diwali.
What is Chaat
Chaat, pronounced as ‘ch-aa-t’, is a broad term used for street food snacks served across India. All dishes included under this umbrella are bursting with sweet, spicy, crispy, crunchy and tangy flavors that can make your taste buds dance, literally!
There are many theories about the origin of the word ‘Chaat’, but the most common one is that it could be a derivative of two Hindi words- Chaatna, and Chatpata. Chaatna, means ‘to lick/ devour’, and Chatpata means food that is sweet, spicy and tangy. So, if you’re in an Indian restaurant eating something finger-licking good that hits all your flavor senses, you are having Chaat my friends!
No Fry Dahi Bhalla Recipe – How to Make Dahi Bhalla without Frying
Step 1: Soak Dal
Rinse Urad dal and soak over night in 3 cups of water, or for 6-8 hours.
Step 2: Blend Dal
Rinse dal and drain. Add to blender with ginger, chili, spices and blend to a smooth paste. The batter should be similar to a cake batter consistency. I use Blentec blender and that works really well for this step.
Step 3: Pan-fry Bhalle
Heat a Stuffed Pancake Pan on medium heat. I add a few drops of oil. Using two spoons, or a cookie spoon, I pour batter in the greased cavities of the pan. Let the bhalle fry for 3-4 mins on the first side, covered. Flip them and cook for another 3-4 minutes covered. Remove them on a plate lined with paper towels. That soaks the extra grease.
Step 4: Soak Bhalle
Add warm water to a wide bowl and add the dahi bhalle. Don’t overcrowd the bowl, split the bhalle in a few batches if doing a large quantity. Let them soak for 20 minutes. Soaking Bhalle makes them softer and gives them a creamier texture.
Step 5: Add Bhalle in Seasoned Yogurt
Add salt, spices, sugar (optional) and water to yogurt and whisk till smooth. Gently squeeze out the water from the bhalle and add them to the yogurt. Coat them in yogurt and refrigerate them for 2-3 hours. This allows them to soak in the yogurt. Garnish with cilantro chutney, julienned ginger and cilantro before serving and Enjoy!
What is the Difference between Dahi-Bhalla and Dahi-Vada
Dahi Bhalla and Dahi Vada are two names of the same dish. It is commonly referred to as Dahi Bhalle in the northern part of India, particularly Delhi and Punjab. Down south, Vada is made in a donut shape in some places, but the ingredients and process are the same.
Can I freeze Bhalle
Yes you can! I always make extra and freeze them for later use. It is a great make-ahead item for parties and festivities. Here is how I do it:
After pan-frying them, I remove them on plate lined with paper towels. That soaks the extra grease. I cool them completely and transfer to a gallon size freezer bag. I gently press it while closing it to let out the air from the bag.
You can store them in the freezer for 2 months. To use them, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Soak them hot water and follow the remaining steps to serve them.
No Fry Dahi Bhalla Chaat
Bhalla (makes 30 medium-size bhalle)
- 1 cup urad dal soaked for 8 hours or overnight, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup + 2-3 tbsp water add as needed while grinding
- 3/4 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 2 tsp ginger, grated or chopped (about 1/2 inch piece or 1/4 tsp ginger powder)
- 2 green chilies, de-seeded (optional but recommended)
- 1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
Dahi (Yogurt) – For soaking 10 bhalle- multiply as needed
- 2 tbsp Chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp julienned ginger
- pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Soak lentils: Rinse and soak lentils in 3 times water, so for 1 cup of lentils, use 3 cups of water. Soak overnight or for 8 hours. After that, rinse and drain the lentils.
- Grind lentils: In a blender add lentils, water, ginger and spices. Grind the lentils into a smooth paste. Adjust the water quantity as needed. The end consistency should be like cake batter.
- Pan-Fry Bhalle: Heat the Stuffed Pancake Pan on medium heat. Add few drop of oil to the cavities. Using a medium cookie spoon, add batter into the cavities. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side. Flip using a fork or chopsticks and cook another 3-4 mins, or until the exterior looks golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Soak Bhalle in water: In a wide bowl add hot water. Add the cooked bhalle and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. This process makes them softer. After that, gently squeeze them to get rid of the water and keep aside.
- Add to yogurt: Whisk yogurt (dahi) with water, salt, cugar, cumin and chaat masala. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add bhalle to yogurt, coating them well with the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. This allows the bhalle to soak up some yogurt. Garnish with cilantro and julienned ginger before serving. You can also add a few teaspoons of Pomegranate seeds for garnish.