The earliest one is of Bhaiyu's birthday. It was a dark evening in November, there was a powercut & Ma was serving guests in the lantern light that was so typical of small towns in the India of the 80s. Boudi aapnar dahi vada khoob bhalo hoyechche, quipped Bhai Kakai. Ma beemed in the dim light. I understood the immense power of good food & of a genuine compliment.
Tanu di's mom made dahi vada sweet unlike the Bihari households we ate them in. That made mashi's dahi vada unique in my young mind. Mesho was a doctor, a reputed one, and this was a rich family. Sweet dahi vada became the mark of the rich for me. When I grew up, Haldiram's further strengthened my belief. As did Bikanerwala.
For five rupees a plate you got amazing dahi vadas in Mughalsarai, enroute to Banaras where I spent my scholarly years. The train stopped for 25 minutes there, enough for us hostelers to get off & buy the fare. No trip was complete without this ritual.
It is Holi & I have learnt to make rich Dahi Vadas :) Join me in, guys.
For the Vada:
1. Urad dal- 1 cup(soaked in water)
2. 1 small cube ginger
3. 2-3 green chillies
4. Salt- to taste
5. Refined oil- to deep fry vada
1. 2-3 cups creamy yogurt- whipped
2. 3-4 tsp sugar
3. 1/2 tsp salt
4. 1-2 tsp roasted cumin powder(bhuna zeera)
The Tamarind Chutney
1. 1/2 tsp concentrated tamarind
2. 1 1/2 cup sugar
3. 1 cup water
4. 1/2 tsp panch phoron/zeera
5. 1 dry red chilli
6. 1/2 tsp chilli powder
7. 1/5 tsp turmeric
8. 1/2 tsp salt
1. Soak urad dal for over three hours. Grind dal with ginger & green chillies to a paste. Add salt to taste.
2. Deep fry vadas in hot oil till both sides are golden brown.
3. Soak the vadas in lukewarm water till they soften.
1. In a tsp of oil, allow panch phoron/zeera & dry red chilli to crackle.
2. Add the turmeric & red chilli powder & mix well.
3. Add water, bring to boil & add the sugar, salt & tamarind concentrate to it.
4. Remove from flame when chutney is one string
1. Mix the salt & sugar and whisk dahi to a smooth texture.
The Dahi Vada: 1. Squeeze the vadas gently to remove excess water. Arrange them in a bowl.
2. Pour dahi over the vadas.
3. Top it up with tamarind chutney & bhuna zeera.
With or without a story, there is nothing like Dahi Vada to make you feel good about Holi.
Happy Holi, friends! Play responsibly. Go easy on the bhang :)