Dahi vada’s are a North Indian favourite and one of the dishes I missed a lot after going vegan. When I had it after 2 years, it was the old taste I remembered. Melt in mouth vadas and a sweet and sour taste from the dahi and chutney. It was made by my colleague and friend Millie Mitra at a SHARAN retreat. She learnt it from Samir Prasad who runs a vegan tiffin service, Vegan Bites in Mumbai.
We have a group of friends who meet every month to cook and eat clean food together. It’s called the Food Collective and was inspired after attending a wonderful workshop in Himachal at Sambhaavna Institute. The week long workshop was entitled “Thought for Food” and gave a holistic perspective of food from production to consumption and explored areas of food economics, politics, policy making etc. In the food collective, we explore non-conventional food and recipes. We cook with millets and lesser known seasonal vegetables and alternative, healthy, plant-based recipes. For this occasion, I made vegan dahi vada which was much liked so here is the recipe.
Vegan and Oil-free Dahi-Vada Recipe
- 1 cup raw and shelled peanuts, soaked for 5-6 hours
- 750 ml water
- 1 tbsp vegan or regular curd starter, whisked
- 1 cup black eyed beans (rongi or lobiya), soaked overnight
- 1 tsp ginger, chilly paste
- Salt to taste
Flavouring and garnish
- 2 tbsp tamarind chutney (sweetened with jaggery or dates)
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin, coarsely powdered
- Rock salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp red chilli (optional)
- 1 tsp chopped mint
- 1 tbsp pomegranate
Equipment: Idli steamer and stone grinder – I use the electric Ultra brand used in many south Indian homes for idli and dosa batter.
- Setting Curd – Drain and rinse the peanuts and blend with a little water to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining water and blend further.
- Sieve this milk through a muslin cloth and put it in a pan to boil. After the first boil, lower the heat and keep stirring to prevent burning at the bottom of pan. Simmer for 10-15 mins till you have a thick consistency.
- Allow to cool to lukewarm temp and mix in the curd starter evenly. Leave in a dark place without moving overnight. Put in the fridge once set.
- Making Vada – Grind the soaked and drained beans for 10 mins till fluffy. Add water to bring it to a pouring consistency to put in an idli steamer. Steam for 10-15 mins or as per instructions on your steamer for idlis. Remove when the vadas have cooked and are like an idli consistency. Set aside to cool.
- Assembling – Arrange the vadas in a single layer on a plate. Whisk the curd with cumin, salt and chilly if you using. Pour over the vadas and decorate with the remaining garnishes.
Enjoy your cruelty free, oil-free and dairy free North Indian delight!
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