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Steamed Dahi Vadas (lentil dumplings in spiced yoghurt)

Who doesn't like things fried, right? They are crispy and oh so yummy! But, but, but....they aren't good for your butt :) That's right. Now one of India's all time favourite snacks is Dahi Vada, translated in English it means - fried lentil dumplings dipped in ever-so-slightly spiced yoghurt. It's usually served with a tamarind chutney and so you have some amazing sweet and tangy flavours happening in your mouth with every bite.

With my recent healthy streak going on, I struggle with my celery sticks and kale all day. It's true! We all do. And so, I begin to look for healthy cooking alternatives to my favourite snacks. So you can only imagine when I learnt you can STEAM the vadas and not fry them, I had to shout this recipe loud and clear for everyone out there. Oh! and I also stuffed them with some sprouts for that extra healthy oomph factor. So here you go:

Ingredients for Dahi Vada

Thick curd 1 cup or more if you like

*Urad dal (split black gram lentils - the insides are white) 1/2 cup

Coriander leaves chopped, for garnish

Chilli powder a generous sprinkle

Cumin powder a generous sprinkle

Coriander powder a generous sprinkle

Salt to taste

*Soak the urad dal for around 6 hours in 1 cup of water. Then grind the dal along with the water and keep overnight to ferment. The result should be a thick fermented batter (see image).

Ingredients for stuffing

Mixed sprouts 50gms

Onion 1 small chopped

Salt a pinch

Ingredients for Tamarind & Ginger Chutney

Tamarind 50gms

Jaggery 10gms

Salt a pinch or two

Ginger 1/2 inch chopped

Method for Dahi Vada

1. In a bowl, mix the sprouts with the onion and salt. Set aside.

2. In a dumpling/idli steamer, add a tablespoon of the dal batter first into the dumpling mould followed with 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of the sprouts and top up with some more batter. Make sure you don't add too much stuffing or too much batter.

3. When you complete filling the mould, place it in a large pot with some water that's been already boiling. Remember, you only need to steam so don't fill the pot with too much water.

4. Close and wait till 15 to 20mins or till when the batter has turned into a soft sponge.

5. Let it cool and with the help of a knife, scoop the dumplings out of the mould. Set aside to cool down completely.

6. In the meanwhile whisk the yoghurt well till it's smooth. Add a little water if the yoghurt is too think (the consistency should be medium flowing because it will anyway thicken once again in the fridge).

7. When the dumplings have cooled down completely, place them into the yoghurt (like literally dip them).

8. Finish up with a generous sprinkle of chili, coriander (dhania) and cumin (jeera) powder, followed with some chopped coriander.

9. Just before serving, drizzle some sweet and tangy tamarind & ginger chutney.

Method for Tamarind & Ginger Chutney

1. Soak the tamarind in water for about 30mins to an hour. Extract the water and set aside.

2. Bring the tamarind water to boil along with the ginger and jaggery

3. Reduce the liquid till it gets to a thick/syrup-like consistency

4. Add salt to taste and set aside to cool down before adding to the dahi vada

Enjoy this recipe guilt-free people! Yay!

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