Holi came and went, and my struggle to get this post up is still ongoing. Because my absolutely worthless broadband connection thinks it’s fun to disappear whenever it wants!!! Grrrr! Nevertheless, I’m only a day late and let me start by wishing everyone a Happy belated Holi, and hope that your lives are filled with the brightness and spark of these colours for eternity.
Here in West Bengal, Holi is known as ‘Dol’, or ‘Doljatra’, more commonly, and is celebrated pretty differently than how it’s done in Mumbai. It’s more cultural here; there are songs, music and dances from Rabindranath Tagore’s repertoire, people apply ‘Abir’ or the red-hued colour to one-another, cook and invite friends and family over. While in Mumbai, the use of coloured water is more predominant. But let’s not forget that no matter how different the festivities are, one thing never changes, and that’s the FOOD. There’s got to be some Holi-special feasting right? So I’ve brought you some of my Mom’s special ‘Bread Bhalla’… or Dahi Bhallas/Dahi Vadas, only these are made from bread 🙂
These bad boys were actually supposed to be my birthday breakfast, but with the load of dishes Mom had planned for lunch, I told her to push this ahead and make it for Holi. Trust me when I say this, it’s the perfect quick brekkie. With your traditional bhallas, you’d have to soak the lentils, crush them into a paste and then fry them, and so on. These bread vadas or bhallas take about 10 minutes, especially if you have your chutneys pre-made and ready.
The trick to get soft bhallas here (because fried bread will be crispy), is to soak it for a bit in the ‘dahi’ or yogurt itself, and then enjoy these, cold! But you can also soak them for a minute or two in water and pick them out….just don’t let them get soggy!!! I prefer these bhallas to be crisp on the outside while being soft enough to cut through. So I let them sit in the yogurt for about 15 minutes, and they turned out perfect!
Now, I must warn you…these are highly addictive!!! I mean it, you cannot stop at one 😉 So please don’t fry too many or you’ll end up gobbling these up and there’ll be no space for lunch or dinner 😛 Of course, that’s only for those mad fans of Dahi Bhallas like me. Know what? My Mom bribed me with Dahi Vadas just before my kindergarten interview…she said if I answered everything correctly, they’d treat me to Dahi Vadas 😀 I don’t remember the event, but considering I got my school admission, I must have answered everything correctly eh? 😛
You can find the recipes for my Tamarind chutney and Green chutney here… I haven’t used green chutney for this recipe because I added lots of red chili and some finely chopped green chilies, but you can. You may also garnish these with Sev if you so desire 🙂
- White bread slices – 15
- Refined oil/ghee – 3 to 4 tbsp approx
- Salt – a few pinches for tossing the bhallas in
- Fresh beaten curd or yogurt – 3 cups (you may thin it down slightly with some milk or water)
- Sugar – as per taste (I used 3 tsp)
- Tamarind chutney – as required
- Green chutney – as required (optional, I didn’t use any)
- Chopped green chilies – 3 to 4
- Roasted cumin & chili powder (bhaja moshla) – as required
- Red chili powder – a pinch or as required
- Black salt/Kala namak – a pinch
- Coriander – chopped, a handful
- Dip each slice of bread in a bowl of water (you may remove the sides if you wish), and squeeze out excess water with your hands, while giving the bread a nice round shape.
- Squeeze the bread slices well so no water remains, and when all the bread has been used up, heat oil or ghee in a pan.
- Quickly toss the bread bhallas in the oil/ghee, until they’re light and golden on the outside. (You may deep fry them for a min or two)
- Keep aside on a paper towel to let excess oil drain out.
- Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt well, add some milk or water if it’s too thick, and add sugar and black salt.
- Place the bhallas on a serving platter, and pour the seasoned yogurt on top liberally. (At this point, you can keep this in the fridge for 10-15 mins, or if you have already soaked them, serve straightaway.)
- Top with tamarind chutney, roasted cumin & chili powder, red chili powder, some black salt, green chilies and lots of chopped coriander.
- Serve immediately.
- For a variation and to spice things up, you can mash the bread with a tbsp of yogurt, and add salt, chopped ginger and some green chilies. Make bhallas/vadas and deep fry these.
- You can also stuff the bread with grated paneer and dry fruits.
- If you don’t want to fry the bread bhallas, then simply serve them with the seasoned yogurt and chutneys.