Dahi Bhalla

Dahi Bhallay, Lentil dumplings in yogurt
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Dahi Bhalla (Dahi Vada) are lentil dumplings nestled in sweet yogurt and you need to try them

These fluffy and cooling Dahi Bhallay are such a great summer snack. You’d think they would be heavy and oily because the bhallas are deep fried, but that genius step of soaking them in water takes care of that. A bite of Dahi Bhalla can diminish all the scorching heat from the most intense summer day. It was a weekly ritual to have chai at my Mom’s sister’s house, and we always stopped on the way to get some “Jamal ke Dahi Bhallay”. We never made them at home, but forward a decade to a Chicago suburb with no “Jamal’s” in sight, and you have yourself a problem.

How to bypass the double frying dahi bhalla technique

I make these very often because I came up with such an easy and simple recipe. I added a little besan (chickpea flour) and it gives great depth of flavor. It not only helps with flavor, but the texture it gives to the dough helps bypass that double frying. it ensures that the bhallas will cook and hold their shape the first time around. They even hold their shape after being soaked in water to let the oil out.

The best chutney for the job.

I love serving these Dahi Bhallas with a tangy and sweet imlee ki chutney (tamarind chutney). It balances the sweet yogurt and the savory dumplings so well. You can find a simple and delicious Imlee ki Chutney here. There are quite a few flavors and textures layered in this dish, so I suggest using this simple recipe to ensure everything shines.

Some things you can do to make sure these turn out great.

One thing you have to do, at all costs, is soak your lentils over night. That’s one step I have never skipped, and make your life a whole lot easier when it’s time blend everything. Chilling your yogurt is also a step that may seem unimportant but really makes a difference. I’ve included tips in my recipe notes on how to get the best results so please look them over. Another tip, fry the bhalla low and slow. High heat will keep the centers raw and then there’s no saving them.

Dahi Bhallay, Lentil dumplings in yogurt

Dahi Bhalla

This is a classic summer time snack. Delicious bhallas are nestled in a sweet yogurt and topped with a sweet and tangy Imlee ki Chuntey (Tamarind Chutney).
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 5


  • blender
  • frying pan


  • 1 cup Urad Daal Mash ki Daal
  • 3 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup besan chickpea flour
  • oil for frying

For the yogurt

  • 2 cups yogurt chilled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

To Serve

  • 1/4 cup imlee chutney tamarind chutney
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tbsp onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 cup papar fried wonton strips


  • Soak your lentils over night. Drain and add to your blender/chopper along with the green chillies, salt, black pepper and cumin seeds. Blend into a fine paste. You may need to add 1-2 tsp of water. The paste should be thick, not liquidy.
  • Remove the paste into a small bowl and mix in the besan and baking soda. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before deep frying.
  • To fry, heat oil 2 inches deep in your frying pan. Once hot, lower the flame to medium low and fry tablespoon fulls of the lentil mixture. Flip once the bottoms are a golden brown. Remove onto kitchen towel to drain the excess oil. Cool completely.
  • At this point you can freeze the bhallas. To use once frozen, put in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Let them sit until they defrost and absorb water, about 10-15 minutes. Then gently squeeze out the excess water with your hands and place in your serving bowl.
  • If you want to use them right away, place the bhallas in a bowl and cover in warm water. Let them sit for 10 minutes, then gentlyl squeeze out the excess water using your hands and plavce them in your serving dish.

For the yogurt

  • Whisk the yogurt, water and icing sugar until combined. The yogurt should be the consistency of kefir.

To serve

  • Pour half the yogurt mix in your serving dish. Carefully place the bhallas around your dish. Pour over the remaining yogurt. Drizzle over the imlee chutney, sprinkle over the onions and cabbage, then finish off with a sprinkling of the chaat masala. Serve chilled.


Soak your lentil overnight for the best results. You can get 12-15 bhallas from this recipe.
Keep in mind that they expand while frying because of the baking soda, and they also expand once immersed in water. Double the batch and freeze some for later. 
Don’t crowd your frying pan when frying these. Do it small batches and you’ll be able to flip them easily, because they do expand while frying. 
I always thin out the yogurt because the bhallas absorb the yogurt over time. 
When you’re squeezing out the water with your hands be careful not to break the bhallas. 
You can make this a day before, it’ll stay great in the fridge. Just add your onions, cabbage and chaat masala right before serving. The onions and cabbage is completely optional and can be skipped. 
Papar is basically a simple flour and water dough that is deep fried. If you can’t find a premed one you can easy fry wonton wrappers. Another great alternative is fried flour tortillas. Just cut into squares and deep fry till light golden brown. 
Keyword Dahi Bhalla, dahi bhallay, lentil dumplings, tea time snacks

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