If you’re following a paleo diet and like Indian food, then you are in for a treat because I have come up with a recipe for grain-free and dairy-free dahi vada! These little paleo dough balls are smothered with creamy yogurt and topped with sweet and spicy chutneys, making for a super tasty Indian appetizer.
If you’ve never had dahi vada before – it is traditionally a fried lentil dumpling – but my recipe is lentil-free. I wanted to create a lentil free recipe for those who can’t tolerate legumes and/or for those following a paleo diet. Another big difference between the traditional version and mine is that I don’t fry the fritters. Rather than deep frying the dumplings, my recipe calls for baking them in an oven using a donut pan OR you can also use a donut maker if you have one.
This is an Indian street food and it goes by many different names – it’s also known as dahi baray, dahi bhalla and well, a lot of other names.
I actually came up with this paleo version several years ago when I wrote this Paleo Indian eCookbook – it has 100+ Paleo Indian recipes and this recipe for dahi vada one of them. Instead of lentils, my recipe calls for a combination of paleo friendly flours: almond flour, arrowroot flour and coconut flour. The coconut flour does a great job of soaking up the coconut yogurt.
I have this funny feeling that there isn’t a single person out there searching for this recipe. I mean, dahi vada is a naturally gluten free dish so is there anyone out there who really needs a grain-free and dairy-free version? Maybe this is a recipe that you didn’t know you needed in your life. Maybe you’re already following a paleo diet and you happen to like Indian food and will want to try this? Whatever your sitch – you’ll definitely love this if you make it.
You’ll also want to have some chutneys handy to top these dahi vadas – a few of my favorites: chaat sauce, tamarind chutney and green chutney. You can make these sauces and freeze them – that’s what I do – then just break off a frozen piece and thaw as needed.
I hope you love this appetizer! It’s perfect on a hot day – the cool and creamy dahi and chutneys will absolutely cool you down. Enjoy!
This popular Indian appetizer is made by soaking vadas in dahi, a thick yogurt and then topping them with sweet and spicy chutneys. The coconut flour in these vadas does a great job of soaking in the coconut yogurt. I’ve stuffed the vadas with chopped cashews and raisins, which adds great flavor and texture when serving them in creamy dahi.
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup arrowroot flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 inch ginger, minced
- ½ Serrano pepper, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons melted ghee
- Golden raisins, chopped
- Cashews, chopped
- Preheat a donut hole maker OR if using a donut pan, preheat oven to 350°F .
- Add the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, baking soda, ginger, Serrano pepper, salt and cumin in a bowl and mix well.
- Then, add the coconut milk and ghee to the bowl and mix until smooth.
- Scoop the batter into a ziplock bag, seal the top, and snip one of the bottom corners.
- Pipe the batter into the mold, filling it halfway. Add half a cashew and 1 raisin to the batter, then continue to pipe until the mold is completely full. It will need to be full in order to create a round shape. If it spills over, that’s okay, you can trim off the edges after they have cooled.
- Cook until the donut machine indicator light goes off OR For the oven, bake for 15 minutes. Then remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Add the vadas to a bowl and pour the dahi on top. Mix well to make sure all vadas are covered in dahi. Keep this in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (2-3 hours is ideal) to soak up the dahi.
- When serving, add more dahi if needed and top with chutney and Kashmiri chili powder.
- you can find dairy-free yogurt at grocery stores like whole foods or trader joes. If you’d like to see my homemade coconut yogurt recipe then check out my Paleo Indian eBook.
- If you are using a donut pan, the shape will obviously be different but both shapes work and taste delicious 🙂