These are both a special way of serving yoghurt (as opposed to a raita) and also a typical Delhi Street food. The best one I have tried is probably in Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. I went with a British journalist who wasn’t really thinking about what treat he was getting next, took a bite and his face lit up. He said, he really didn’t expect this, it was delightful and he was right. It is sweet, savoury, soft and spongey and creamy all in one bite. Also, it is much lighter than it seems as the batter doesn’t absorb much oil and it is later squeezed out as well.
This is quite a traditional recipe but you can add other bits on top. I love adding some fresh pomegranate kernels. These freeze well so it makes sense to make extra and keep them for another day. Here, I make up half the quantity, but you can double this to make them all up or halve it further to make about 8 of them.
Drain off most of the water from the lentils leaving about 6-7 tbs. (if depends on how long they have soaked for and how much they have absorbed). Place in your grinder/blender. Add the ginger and green chillies and blend. The batter should be pretty smooth but there might be some very small granules in it. You can add more water if necessary but the less water you add the better. The finished batter should not be thin but should not be dry either. When you stir it, it should be fluffy and you should be able to scoop up little bits with wet hands and they have only a little form.
Heat about 3-4” oil in a medium- large karahi, wok or saucepan. It needs to be medium hot.
Add the salt, baking powder and coriander and give it few vigorous stirs to incorporate as much air as possible.
Place a bowl of water near the hob. Dunk your fingers in it and scoop up around a large walnut size amount of batter and using your thumb to help ease it off, let it slide off into the hot oil. You need to be really close to the oil for it not to splash up. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches depending on how big your pan is. You can crowd the pan a little. They should be light and float, fry for 5-6 minutes or until lightly golden.
Take out with a slotted metal spoon, draining off excess fat and place in a bowl. Repeat with the rest.
When you are ready to eat, place them in a large bowl of hot water for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the yoghurt, water, salt, sugar and roasted cumin powder until smooth. The yoghurt should be like single cream. Add some cold water to the bowl so you don’t burn yourself and gently squeeze out the water. A lot of oil comes out as well.
Place straight into the yoghurt. Spoon over the tamarind and coriander chutneys. Serve or you can refrigerate this to use later. This is served both room temperature and chilled.