Dahi Bhalla

Ingredients

for Bhalla (Dumplings)
1 cup of split black gram (urad dal)
teaspoon of cumin seeds (jeera)
½ inch of finely grated ginger (adrak)
1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped cashews (kaju)
½ tablespoon of golden raisins (kishmish)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
few sprigs of fresh coriander (hara dhaniya)
for Yogurt Topping
1 cup of homemade thick yogurt (dahi)
¼ cup of cream (malai)
salt (namak), red chili powder (lal mirch), cumin powder (bhuna jeera) to taste
tamarind and jaggery chutney (saunth)
coriander mint chutney

Preparation

1. for Bhalla (Dumplings)
2. Soak the urad dal overnight. Wash and drain the lentil. Grind it into a fine paste using very little water. Mix all the ingredients under Bhalla together except cashews and raisins.
3. In a wok, heat oil for frying. Meanwhile, wet a muslin cloth or an old handkerchief, squeeze it gently to remove excess water. Spread the wet muslin on the work counter.
4. Place a blob (1 tablespoon) of batter on the muslin. Press it down gently to form a thick disc. Sprinkle some chopped cashews and raisins. Press them gently so they get embedded into the batter. Now make the disc into a semicircle by placing one half over other using the muslin cloth. Hold one edge of the muslin and bring it on to the other side, this will automatically flip one side of batter disc onto the other. the resins and cashew get sandwiched in the batter post flipping. Now turn one side of the batter onto the other side of the blob by holding the muslin and turning it over with the blob. It essentially folds the blob into half using wet cloth.
5. Lightly wet your fingers. Uncover the bhalla from the muslin cloth. Gently turn the wet muslin further and transfer the filled and folded bhalla onto your fingers and quickly release it in the hot oil. Deep fry till golden brown. Repeat for as many bhallas you want to make.
6. Place the bhallas 1 hour prior to serving in water. Allow them to become soft by absorbing water and releasing extra oil. At the time of serving, remove them from water and gently squeeze them without breaking.
7. for Yogurt Topping
8. Prepare yogurt gravy by mixing cream and curd together in a bowl.
9. Add salt, and other spices. Dip the soaked bhallas in the curd bowl and allow to soak for another 10 minutes.
10. For serving, remove the curd-soaked bhallas onto a platter. Pour some more curd-cream mixture if required.
11. Sprinkle salt, pepper, roasted cumin seeds (bhuna jeera), coriander mint chutney and tamarind-jaggery chutney (saunth) to taste. Serve cool.

Notes

Recipe from the repertoire of family recipe.

Instead of turning the folded blob on your fingers, you can transfer it to the underside of the strainer as explained here and quickly release in the oil for frying. Fry on medium flame for the batter to get cooked completely.

You can also use a milk bag (plastic) in place of wet muslin. The process of removing the dumpling from plastic is much easier and convenient.

After deep-frying the bhallas you can store them upto 7 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and use as and when desired.

Repeated wetting of the hands along with the muslin cloth is necessary to take care the batter doesn’t stick as urad dal is sticky in nature.