Baked Dahi Vada Lentil Dumplings in Yoghurt & Tamarind

The Baked dahi vada
 Lentil Dumplings in yoghurt & tamarind

Serves 6–8

Underneath a beautiful blanket of yoghurt, chutney, coriander (cilantro) leaves and pomegranate seeds, lie little sponge dumplings made of two types of lentils, baked, then soaked in water and squeezed, making them moist and ready to absorb all that goodness from the pool of creamy yoghurt poured over them. Traditionally, these dumplings are fried, but Pratibha auntie, my sister’s mother-in-law, from whom I get a lot of my healthy Indian inspiration, taught me this seemingly simple (albeit with a few steps!) but a genius recipe. These will last for a few days, so make a large plate or two and leave in the fridge to snack on. Gloriously colourful for dinner parties!

 Mira Manek

Ingredients - Serves 6-8 
For the vada 
*100g urad dal
*50g yellow mung dal
*1 teaspoon eno fruit salts or bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
*1 teaspoon Garlic, Ginger & Chilli Paste, optional

*1 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

For the yoghurt sauce 
*250g yoghurt

*50ml water (or more if yoghurt is very thick)

*½ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt pinch of red chilli powder
*1½  tablespoons honey or agave nectar

*1 teaspoon ground cumin

To garnish 
*Ground cumin

*Ground cinnamon

*Red chilli powder
*Tamarind & Date Chutney
*Coriander leaves
*Pomegranate seeds
1. First rinse the urad dal and yellow mung dal together in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place the dals in a saucepan and add double the amount of water to dal so the water comes well above the level of the dal. Leave to soak for at least 
5–6 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a small-holed muffin tin or use paper muffin cases to line a muffin tin with 5 centimetre (2 inch) diameter holes.
3. Drain the water from the dal and discard. Pour the dal into a blender or food processor, then add an equal amount of water to dal (around 150ml (5 oz/2/3 cup)). Blend until smooth.
4. Pour the blended dal into a mixing bowl. Add the eno fruit salts, Garlic, Ginger & Chilli Paste, if using, and salt and stir thoroughly and quickly.
5. Place a scant tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin hole or paper case, filling each to just over half full, and place in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
6. While the vada are baking, make the yoghurt sauce by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl.
7. Once cooked, leave the vada to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from each paper case, if used. Fill a bowl with warm water. Soak each vada in the water for 2–3 minutes and then carefully squeeze out all the water, making sure you do not break the vada.
8. Place each vada next to each other in a deep serving dish. Cover all the vadas with the yoghurt sauce and garnish with a sprinkling of ground cumin, cinnamon and red chilli powder. Add a drizzle of the Tamarind & Date Chutney and garnish with coriander (cilantro) leaves and pomegranate seeds.
9. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow the vada to soak in the yoghurt and sauces.

Saffron Soul by [Manek, Mira]

Recipe extracted from Saffron Soul by Mira Manek, published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

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