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RECIPE ALERT! Usher in Holi with these fantastic meals

Mar/09/2022 / by Richa Sharma & Nancy Amon

Heralding the onset of spring, the festival is an ideal time to catch up with friends and family at a meal. Here are some fantastic recipe s to make this Holi!

Dahi Vada

By Richa Sharma

Dahi vada is a delicious snack that combines all of your favorite flavors and textures in one bite. It is fluffy, delicate, tangy, and sweet. They are made up of handmade fried lentil dumpling fritters dipped in creamy whipped yogurt and topped with a variety of spicy and sweet chutneys. Try this famous recipe, which includes a step-by-step technique, for a Holi treat that everyone will remember.


For the vada batter

  • 1 cup (heaped) urad dal – 200 g
  • ½ tsp green chili, serrano, or Thai chili, diced or 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced or 1-inch ginger
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 asafoetida pinch (hing)
  • ¼ to ½ cups water, or as required
  • 1 tbsp chopped raisins
  • 12 to 15 chopped cashews
  • Salt to taste – or ⅔ tsps food-grade edible rock salt (sendha namak)

Other ingredients

  • 2.5 cups chilled curd (yogurt)
  • ½ tsp chaat masala, or to taste 
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder, toasted
  • black salt – may add as needed
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate arils (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped (cilantro)

For the tamarind chutney

  • ½ cup finely packed tamarind (seedless)
  • ½ tsp ginger powder (saunth)
  • 1.75 cups water
  • 1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or red chili powder
  • 7 to 8 tbsp sugar or jaggery, as needed – adjust to taste
  • As required, use rock salt (eatable and food grade), black salt, or normal salt.
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the coriander chutney

  • 2 cups fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • ½ to 1 tsp dry pomegranate seeds or 1 to 1.5 tsp dried mango powder
  • ½ tsp minced garlic or 1–2 small-medium garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp serrano pepper or green chillies
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds or powder
  • Salt as required
  • 2–3 tsp water, or as needed
dahi vada recipe
Here’s a recipe for some scrumptious Dahi Vada, a refreshing meal to have during Holi


Recipe for the tamarind chutney

1. Soak the tamarind in water for the full night or even for 4 to 5 hours in a small dish or pan.

2. In the same basin or pan, squeeze the tamarind pulp with your hands. Strain and put aside the pulp.

3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Lower the heat and add the cumin seeds, allowing them to crackle.

4. Combine ginger powder, red chili powder, and asafoetida in a small bowl.

5. Add the drained tamarind pulp and stir. Cook for 2–3 minutes.

6. Mix the jaggery and salt and continue to boil for an additional 4 to 5 minutes on low to moderate heat. The mixture would become more viscous. Allow the tamarind chutney to cool.

7. Once the tamarind chutney has cooled, put it in an airtight, dry jar or container.

Recipe for the coriander chutney

1. In a food processor, combine or ground all of the ingredients listed under green chutney.

2. Transfer to a small dish and put it aside.

Recipe for the dahi vada

1. Soak 1 cup heaping urad dal (7 oz of husked & split black lentils) overnight or at least four to five hours. Later, using a colander or strainer, drain all the water. If desired, rinse the soaked urad dal.

2. Combine the drained and soaked lentils in a blender or mixer-grinder,.

3. Stir in ½ tsp chopped green chillies or serrano/Thai chillies, 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and 1 pinch asafoetida (hing). Season with salt to taste.

Note: To make a gluten-free version, use gluten-free asafoetida or omit it altogether.

4. In the blender or food processor, gradually add ¼ cup to ½ cup of water to create a smooth, fluffy batter. Depending on the lentils’ quality, age, and soaking duration, the water volume could range from ½ to ¾ cup. Remember that the batter should be thick to medium-thick in consistency and flow freely.

5. Using a silicone spatula, transfer the ground batter to a bowl. Then, using a spoon, whisk, or spatula, beat the batter vigorously for two to three minutes.

Whipping the batter aerates and lightens it. As a consequence, the vada becomes softer and more porous.

6. Fold in 1 tbsp chopped raisins and 12 to 15 cashews (chopped roughly). These are optional items that you may omit if desired.

7. In a kadhai (Indian wok) or pan, heat oil as required for deep frying. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame. The oil should be heated to about 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Without a thermometer, test by adding a few drops of batter with a spoon. It should sizzle and eventually rise to the surface of the oil. If the batter droplets remain at the bottom of the pan, that suggests the oil is too cold. If it rises rapidly and gets excessively browned or scorched, the oil is too hot.

8. Once the oil has achieved the desired heat or temperature, gently drop the batter into the oil using a spoon or your fingertips (without touching the hot oil). It is best to fry the vada in batches until crisp and golden. If you use a spoon, you can wet it with a touch of water to make it easier to remove the batter.

Make the vadas about the same size. If the size is not consistent, the smaller vadas will fry fast while the bigger vadas take longer to cook. So keep an eye out, and first remove the smaller vadas, when they are golden and crisp throughout.

Avoid crowding the pan or kadhai. Overcrowding the pan reduces the temperature of the oil, letting the vadas soak in more oil. The vada also swells somewhat when frying.

9. Allow the bottom to develop a light golden color and crisp texture. Then flip them just once more, else they could break apart.

10. Continue flipping and cooking a couple of times more. This enables even cooking and consistent golden color throughout.

11. Put the vada on a plate lined with paper towels. If you want to utilize half of the batter, chill it for a couple of days or freeze it for up to a month. In this manner, the leftover vada may be fried in batches, using the whole batter.

12. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the vada to the water (at room temperature) and soak for 12-15 minutes. The vada will release part of the oil and absorb water, growing somewhat in size and changing color.

13. Squeeze each soaked vada to remove excess water using your palms. Gently press, or you risk breaking them.

14. Press all of the soaked vadas in this manner and set aside on a plate or place them in the bowl or tray that will be used to serve the Dahi vada.

Assembling the dahi vada’s add-ons

15. In a separate bowl, beat 2.5 cups cold curd (yogurt) until smooth. Before assembling, taste the curd. The curd should have no sour, bitter, or acidic flavor. It should be crisp with a little sweet-sour flavor.

Making dahi vada

16. Arrange the vada you left aside after squeezing the water in a big serving basin or platter.

17. Spread the beaten curd evenly over the vadas, covering them.

18. Adjust the amount of green coriander and sweet tamarind chutney to taste.


19. Sprinkle a few pinches of red chili powder or cayenne pepper, roasted cumin powder, pomegranate arils (optional), chaat masala, black salt over the dahi vada.

20. Serve immediately garnished with 2 tbsps coriander leaves. Alternatively, chill for a couple of hours before serving.


By Nancy Amon

When it comes to desserts it’s hard to refuse a malpua. It’s decadently fluffy with light crispy edges. It looks like a distant relative of the flapjack, as it’s called in South Africa, or pancakes in the U.K. and America. Unlike the flapjack or pancake, malpua has a delightful cardamom and fennel flavor. However, all these desserts share the use of syrup.

The recipe for malpua has many variations, and people often tweak foods to suit their dietary needs.

Juicy and light Malpuas await you this season. Here’s a quick recipe.


For the syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • Saffron
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the malpua

  • 1 cup of flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut powder
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cup warm milk
  • Oil/ghee to fry
  • Nuts for the topping


Recipe for the syrup

  1. You’ll start off with the syrup in a pan. Mix the water and the sugar to create a thick syrup.
  2. Crush the cardamom and saffron.
  3. Allow all the sugar to dissolve and once dissolved, add the lemon juice and let it sit for another 3 minutes.
  4. Set the syrup pan aside and off the heat.

Recipe for the malpua

  1. Mix the coconut, flour and milk powder in a bowl.
  2. Add fennel seeds, sugar, salt and the baking powder.
  3. Add the warm milk and whisk it in bit by bit to ensure a smooth consistency, one that is easy to pour.
  4. Rest the batter for 30 minutes
  5. Heat the oil and, once ready, pour a small ladle of batter into the oil. You’ll notice the heat will make the batter disk-shaped.
  6. Flip the malpua in the oil and fry it until it is golden brown. Remove and drain the malpua on a paper towel.
  7. Dunk the malpuas in the sugar syrup for about 30 seconds. 

Note: If the syrup is cold, re-heat it on low heat.

  1. Sprinkle the nuts or seeds over it.

Malpua should be served immediately while still warm.

Tips To Make a Great Malpua 

  • It’s important to let the batter rest for 30 minutes or so after mixing.
  • Choose medium to low heat to fry your malpua.
  • Malpua is tasty as is, but add some fennel and cardamom gives it a flavor kick.
  • The perfect malpua’s insides are fluffy and soft while the edges are crispy.
  • If you want even softer batter, add a little banana or yogurt.

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