My intention of signing up for this month’s Blogging Marathon, which is in its edition #101 (wow!) was my usual thought – of pushing myself to cook some dishes and get some motivation to blog. Ramadan is actually a good time to try new recipes, since we have short working time and plenty of sunshine to ensure that we can click in daylight. But then whatever plans I had went totally derailed following the death of my elappa. Somehow, it disturbed my internal peace. It is expected, isn’t it? Somebody who you think is too young to depart from the world is not considered so by the Almighty. That makes me think how vulnerable life is. We plan days and years ahead, when we have no clue if we will even live to see that moment…
However, I didn’t want to withdraw. There was enough time to recover and recuperate. At times, my mind feels numb but then life tells us to move on. For this week, I had chosen the theme “Cooking with Besan”. Besan is something that is so much used in Indian cooking, though for us, it is synonymous with pakvadas. It is not used much in our cooking, so I wanted to explore this ingredient. I had decided in my mind that I would make a snack, a main course and a dessert with this ingredient. Hopefully, I have been able to stick to my thoughts for this theme…
I always thought that dahi bhallas were made with urad dal till I saw this post from a fellow blogger, regarding the snack she had made for her Iftar. I was very intrigued – it would have tasted like pakodas in a yogurt sauce. I immediately googled and went through a few recipes, which were very similar to each other, and got to making mine. I am so glad I found a replacement for my favorite dahi bhallas, which I am still scared to try. We totally loved it and the little leftovers that were there, I saved it in a airtight container and had it for dinner the next day night too.
The process start with frying the besan bhallas. Try to drop the batter into small rounds so that you have them just for a mouth. My bhallas were humongous, but I have no complaints. If you wish, you can directly top them with yogurt without soaking, but I love the flavor of the salted water so went ahead with it. I am someone who loves to be generous with the toppings. Lots of sweetened yogurt, all that crunch from the onions and tomatoes, and all that flavor from the chaat masala and the sauces – just adds layers to the snack. If you have some sev in your pantry, lavishly spread them too! Off to this simple recipe…
- FOR BHALLAS:
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour), sieved
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
- Salt to taste
- Water as required for batter
- Oil for deep frying
- FOR SOAKING:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- FOR TOPPING:
- 1½ cup yogurt (increase if you want more)
- 2 heaped tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ onion, minced
- ½ tomato, minced
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- Chaat masala and red chilli powder as required
- Green chutney and tamarind chutney as required (I used store bought)
- Whisk into the besan all the dry ingredients. Add water little by little and make a thick batter, that can be dropped by spoonfuls. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Drop a little of the batter to check if it is hot enough - if the batter sizzles and pushes up, it is ready to fry. Drop spoonfuls and fry the sides till golden brown. Set aside on a kitchen towel to drain the oil. I made around 18 bhallas with this mixture.
- Mix the salt into the warm water and soak the warm ballas. Keep for around 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and keep on a dish.
- Whisk the yogurt with the sugar and salt. Pour on top of the bhallas.
- Sprinkle all the other toppings over the yogurt. Serve immediately.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what the other Blogging Marathoners are doing this BM#101.