Monday, May 24, 2010

Paurutir Dohi Vada -- Bread Dahi Vada

A large chunk of my growing up years have been spent in small town India. Small towns, small buildings, narrow roads, greener trees, wider skies and smiling people. This town I am talking about was so small that it did not even have an air-conditioned restaurant or a public movie hall.

The township had a movie club and showed 4 showings of the same movie each week. Every family got two passes each week, 8 for the month and you went and saw whatever movie they played that week. By you, I mean only the adults, no one thought kids needed to watch movies and so there were no passes for the kids.

Did we feel we were missing something ? No, nothing that I can think of. I remember seeing "Mr.Natwarlal" after the final exams, sharing a seat with a friend when my Mother lend me her pass after the exams and I don't think it was a movie worth remembering if not for the rarity of the situation.

Though the town had no decent restaurant, it boasted of a very delicious sweet shop. The shop was nondescript with its thatched roof sitting limply on sturdy bamboo poles, rickety benches and tables where the flies made merry and grubby glass counters displaying the sweets. The owner and also the sweet maker aka pastry chef, however had a character. He was rotund, with white walrus seal mustache and sat stirring the milk down to khoa so happy and contented that he personified the sweet shop. And his products were to die for. If I close my eyes I can still imagine how good his lyangcha and cream chop was and it has been two decades since I have tasted them.

Now this post is not about the movie hall nor the sweet shop. I digress. It is about the small town though, where neighbors dropped in without making an appointment a month early and my Ma happily entertained them without thinking her time was being wasted. She enjoyed making a quick snack on such occasions and a very popular one was the Paurutir Dohi Vada or Bread Dahi Vada.

Made with soft white breads and thick yogurt, it was a quick snack, the ones that you can make while chatting with your guests. It is good that is quick, for it needs to be devoured as soon as you make it and does not stand well if served later. My Ma says, this recipe is from my Dida(my Mom's mom) who in turn had got it from a now defunct Bengali magazine called "Amrito". I am sure there must be other versions of it around but this is my Ma's or my Dida's or maybe the now defunct Amrito's or someone who raked her very creative brains to make her family eat bread long long time ago...

Though my Ma insists that I use ONLY WHITE BREAD for this dish, and that is how it tastes best, I have stuck to my guns and used WHOLE WHEAT BREAD. If you have white bread, do use that as the vadas are crispier that way.


Paurutir Dahi Vada/Bread Dahi Vada

Note: before you take the plunge there are two things to note (1) this tastes better with white bread though I liked it with wheat bread too (2) this is NO substitute for the real Dahi Vada

Take 6 slices of bread and remove the crusty edges. Do not throw away the edges, you can make croutons out of them.

Holding a bread slice in the palm of your hand, sprinkle water on it and then press between your palms squeezing out the water. The bread should become soft and pliable so that you can make a dough out of them but it should not be soggy and watery.

With your hands make a dough out of the softened bread slices. To the dough add
1/4 tsp of Roasted Corriander powder,
4 Green Chili chopped
1/2 tsp of chopped ginger
salt to taste
a drop of oil
and mix well

Make small rounds of ball from this dough. Ideally the balls should be flattened like the real vadas and not really rounds

Deep fry them in oil till they are crisp and deep brown.Alternately fry them in the appe pan till they are brown and crisp on the outside.

In a a bowl take 1 cup of thick yogurt and whip smooth. To the yogurt add
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of Kala Namak/salt/aamchur
1/4 tsp of Red Chili powder
and whisk till everything is mixed.

In a serving dish put the fried bread vadas, pour the beaten yogurt on them so that the vadas are completely covered in yogurt. Drizzle your favorite sweet tamarind chutney and serve immediately

Tip: I did not do it but garnishing with a fistful of sev would be a good idea.


  1. asadharoN......I have decided to give this a I have to look for a guinea-pig...

  2. Wow! Positively an innovative recipe. I can imagine the vadas tasting good by themselves as well, maybe with some onions thrown in the mix.

    My dad too would be posted in a lot of small town Indian villages and we would visit him over vacations. I loved visiting those one main street villages with fields of green around it and friendly villagers.

  3. Even I don't remember watching too many movies as a child, was busy playing, roaming the whole town and climbing the trees, etc. My mom did go to movies regularly though, sometimes dragged us kids. I grew up in a small town too until I was in 4th grade, then came moving to city to city every 3 yrs with my dad's new "Magistrate" job.
    Great looking Dahi Vada, so easy too and I think whole wheat bread gives even more flavor. Must try. I deep fried again last weekend. Hurray! :P

  4. Loved the recipe.... but the reason I am drawn towards your blog all the time is more for the stories you weave around each of them. I feel so associated to most, knowing every other person you come across, neighbours dropping in without info, the club, weekend movies - only we didnt have the pass limitation, growing up in a small town and all of it...nostalgia

  5. Bread acquires such a different flavour once fried or deep fried. Eta khub easy dekhacche ... no going thru the process of dealing with soaked dal etc. Ekbar banatei hobe. :-)

  6. you paint a v nice picture - i enjoy reading about small town life because i grew up in one too. don't think i could have lived there forever, though i look forward to going back. i'm happy about it, though, it's a more well-rounding experience. don't think i've ever eaten a bread dahivada!

  7. eto sahaje dahi vada banano jai???khub moja laglo ei quick recipe ta peye..ekhon jakhon khushi dahi vada khete dal bhejanor jhanjhat nei...thanks a lot for this

  8. True i don't thin we ever missed out on anything, and now if we see the kids having everything and still moaning. Have to say when i was home we went for movies atleast once a month ofcourse there was no TV then maybe it was because of that.

  9. We make bread rolls that seem to be close to your vadas. But the idea of making them like dahi vada is just too good! Nice spin! Cheers!

  10. You dadi knew a winner when she saw one. Did the deep fried or the appe pan fried pans win? Could you tell the difference?

  11. I grew up in city where all those stuffs were opposite that u described. If we just go upstairs , we can hear the movie dialogue of the night show by the near by theater. But now everything changed in city, all theater became a five star restaur, we never went much to movies, nor own a TV and that is why probably i hate the DTS sound system...
    Bread vada is a quick option to treat the guest without no grinding soaking deal!

  12. :) your life is like one of those R.K,Narayan stories, you know?

    My granny made these, but never dunked them in yogurt. We just ate them as bread pakoda while A ate them as bread bajji.

    I'd prefer pakoda anyday than just batter fried bread slices :P

  13. Loved reading your post. Bread dahi vada sounds like a yummy alternative to the normal one.

  14. loved you description of the small town sweet shop. Your moochwala pastry chef reminded me of the sweetmeat vendor in pather panchali who's follwed by the two kids and a dog all through the village!!!

    Like the recipe, its like an instant surprise addition to the dinner table when unannounced guests drop by.

  15. This seems to be very quick and easy...Yeah in those good old days going to movies is a rarity and I remember watching all children movies only. I simple love croutons and these vadas will be a very quick snack for unexpected guests!

  16. You seem to have grown up in townships like me. Tomar post gulo poday khoob nostalgic lagay. Was it NTPC township by any chance.

    Must try this! Looks pretty tempting.

  17. aree eyi idea ta toh darun..really quick and smart..m sure once in a while i can look at the white bread with love (and excuse) to have ..

  18. Learnt a lot of cooking from you,but must confess I read your blogs 'coz you write so well.Simply adore reading them!

  19. This is a wicked shortcut I have had growing up in Bihar. And your Ma is right - White bread rocks in bread'er dahi vada.

    My Mum makes cutlets of bread, egg, milk and chopped onions etc., tastes just like chicken! ;-)

  20. I tried it today with wheat bread .
    Its an excellent easy recipe.. and is so tasty

  21. Looks so delicious Sandeepa, nice and quick way to enjoy it.

    I was brought up in a city, but was lucky to have the greenery and blue skies. Much of that has changed now, the place is no longer what it used to be; times have changed it into a concrete jungle too :-(

  22. they look awesome..imagine the number of dishes you coulod make with plain bread other than just having them in toast and sandwiches..

  23. growing up in small towns has a very distinct charm of it's own, I liked what you wrote there..choto mishti'r dukaan, choto rsta ,khola akash and plus you don't need appoinment to visit your's friends home -"ke ji amra saturday te ashte pari..".loved your bread er dahi vada..lovely
    hugs and smiles

  24. nice twist to a classic dish!

  25. great alternative to the regular dahi vadas, saves a lot of time.

  26. hi..have been following ur blog on and off...interesting and innovative all the time!
    keep it up :-)

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  28. tried the recipe..they turned out really well..thanks Sandeepa..erakam recipe post korte thako..

  29. Bookmarked - definitely trying this one too, love it.


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