Thayir Vadai / South Indian Dahi Vada / Dahi Vada in appe pan

A savoury Dahi Vada Recipe, Presenting South Indian Thayir Vadai that will simply knock your socks off and is completely guilt free, made with no fry vadas in an appe pan. Need any more reasons to indulge?

Thayir Vadai / South Indian Dahi Vada / Dahi Vada in appe pan

Do you know Dahi Vada or Thayir Vadai is one dish that makes me go weak in my knees (bengali sweets aside). I have no control on how much I gorge on these chilled beauties. The Thayir Vadai was a part of our wedding buffet menu too and I had specifically instructed the caterer to ensure the dahi doesn’t get tangy as the reception progresses. He kept his word!

Now you may be wondering what is different about the South Indian Dahi Vada or Thayir Vadai compared to the North Indian Dahi bhalla. Well, for starters, our Thayir Vadai is not sweet. It doesn’t have an array of chutneys or masala powder over it. It is simple with a good tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Although lately on my trips to South, I have noticed restaurants selling the sweet version of Thayir Vadai (perhaps some inspiration from its North Indian Cousin, Dahi Bhalla)

Delicious South Indian Thayir Vadai or Curd Vadai (no fry recipe)

My evening tiffin during South India trips is always thayir vadai. They add kara boondi and grated carrots on top while serving which makes it irresistible. Also, Curd is an excellent way to cool your system admist the South India heat and humidity.

My love for dahi vada or thayir vadai doesn’t mean I have to deep fry and indulge. With appe pan always to my rescue in such situations, I make them with less oil, patience and enjoy the end result with some extra pieces too. Eating healthy should be an enjoyable process. You need not avoid anything but limit your portions and exercise a bit extra the day you plan to cheat or enjoy such indulgences.

Curd Vadai Thayir Vadai Savoury Dahi Vada Recipe

This Dahi vada or Thayir Vadai is savoury, has no sweet or meetha chutney. It requires one essential ingredient, good quality thick curd. These vadas, though made in appe pan, are spongy and can be made ahead, stored in refrigerator to be turned into dahi vada or dunked into piping hot sambar or rasam and enjoyed as breakfast too the next day.

It is customary to make Dahi vada especially in the Northern Part of India during the Holi festival. Though I do not play Holi personally but that doesn’t mean I cannot throw a splash of colours on my plate and indulge a little with a bowl of chilled dahi vada, right? So, the Thayir Vadai here is generously garnished with red chilli powder (not the spicy kind), tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves, finely chopped coriander leaves. Sinful enough? Go make these healthy version of Thayir Vadai and enjoy with family and friends.

Dahi Vada made in appe pan with less oil

Check out the easy recipe below with step by step pics of the process to obtain spongy vadas inspite of not frying them.

Looking for more recipes for Holi – Check out Sugar Free Basundi, Holige (cousin of Maharashtrian Puran Poli), Malai Kofta, Semiya Pasayam.

Recipe for Thayir Vadai / South Indian Dahi Vada / Dahi Vada in appe pan with step by step pics

Prep Time 15 to 20 mins (does not include soaking time)

Passive Time 2 hours

Cook Time 30 to 40 mins

Yields around 25 vadas

Ingredients For the Vadai Batter

  • 1 1/2 cups of Urad Dal or Ulutham Paruppu
  • Green chillies as required
  • Ginger 1 inch x 2 pieces grated
  • 1 tsp asafoetida or hing
  • 2 tblsp rice powder or Arisi Maavu
  • Salt as required
  • 2-3 cups water to soak the vadas + extra water to grind as required

Ingredients for the Dahi Mixture

  • 3 cups of Fresh Thick Chilled Curd or Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water to adjust consistency
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients For Tempering

  • 2 tsps of Oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • few sprigs of curry leaves

Ingredients for Garnish / Serving

  • 1/2 cup Grated carrots
  • Red chilli powder as required
  • finely chopped coriander leaves as required


(1) Wash and soak the Urad Dal for 2 hours. Drain the water used for soaking. Grind the Urad Dal along with green chillies, ginger into a fine paste (with water as required). Check the picture below for consistency.

Soaked Urad dal for thayir vadai
Soaked Urad Dal
Urad dal with ginger and green chillies for dahi vada
Drained Urad Dal with green chilies and ginger
Urad Dal batter for dahi vada
Urad Dal ground into a smooth texture with water as required
Urad Dal batter for Dahi Vada
Addition of salt, hing and rice flour

(2) Heat an appe pan or paniyaram pan. Add oil and slowly pour the batter into the small shallow holes of the pan (as shown below). Cover and cook on low heat.

Urad dal vadai cooked in appe  pan
Cover and cook for spongy vadas in appe pan
Soft and Fluffy looking vadas due to covering and cooking procedure

(3) Flip, add few drops of oil, cover and cook again until the vadas have cooked in the centre.

Crunchy and soft Urad dal vadas in appe pan

(4) Take 2-3 cups of water in a bowl and add these piping hot vadas into them. The vadas will turn softer and larger in size. Gently squeeze the excess moisture and keep aside.

Urad dal vadas soaked in water for dahi vada
Squeeze the vadas to remove excess moisture
Squeeze the vadas and keep aside to be mixed or coated with dahi

(5) In the meanwhile, repeat the process of cooking the vadas in appe pan, adding them in water, squeezing and keeping aside until the batter has been used up.

(6) Whisk the curd well, add some water to get the desired consistency. Add some salt.

Thick Curd for Dahi Vada

(7) Soak the vadas in the dahi mixture and add grated carrots, coriander leaves. Prepare for tempering.

(8) Pour the tempering over the dahi vadas, sprinkle more coriander leaves, red chilli powder and enjoy it chilled.

Recipe Notes –

  • If you are serving thayir vadai for guests – Just keep the curd ready in the refrigerator along with the vadas soaked in water etc and assemble everything together, temper once guests arrive. That way the vadas look fresh, won’t drink up all the yogurt and be spongy too.
  • If you require the vadas for regular consumption. Cook them in appe pans and store them in a zip lock bag / steel or glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. Add it to simmering sambar or rasam and consume the next day or even the day after. Ensure you microwave for 30 seconds and then add it to the rasam or sambar so that it soaks the liquid and turns soft.
  • Planning to make dahi vada next day. Prepare the vadas and refrigerate them. The next day, microwave the vadas for 1 minute and add them immediately to water. Allow it to soften, squeeze and follow the rest of the procedure.
  • For best results, before serving, always chill your vadas and yogurt both. It tastes amazing especially during summers.
  • I have used Himalayan Pink salt here. You can use any salt variety.
  • I have used home made thick fresh curd made with cow milk. You can use store bought too but ensure that it is not khatta or sour. If you find the same khatta or a bit sour and your guests arrive – Add a bit of milk instead of water and adjust the consistency.
  • For fluffy soft wadas, always add salt just before frying or in this case appe pan. Adding salt while grinding makes the vadas drink up extra oil.
  • The rice flour is added for a bit of crispiness. I made half the batch into Rasam vada the next day.
  • These vadas stay good in your refrigerator for 2 days.

If you try this at home, please give me a shout out / Tag Me on any of my social media handles.

Vidya Narayan

Views: 870

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 17 Comments

    1. Thanks so much

  1. So well written! Superb click!
    That paniyaram pan is truly a saviour…. I too prefer using it!

    1. Thank you Pooja and I so agree about the ‘saviour’ part! Cheers!

  2. Vidya perfect for the occasion.

    1. Thank you so much Rita. Happy Holi to you and family!

  3. I like the idea of making them in the appe pan. South Indian style thayir vadai is my favourite. The carrot garnishing is giving an added beauty to the dish.

    1. Thank you so much

  4. so colorful and plate looks inviting and love that you used the paniyaram pan to make them!

    1. Thanks So much. Glad you stopped by.

  5. I like this non-fried version of Dahi Vada in Appe Pan.. still have to get one .. so perfect for summers , light and not too oily.Very well explained steps with images..

    1. Thank you Swaty. It does require patience but then all good things do!

  6. Dahi Vedas are my weakness too and thank God we can make them in the appe pan, without frying them. I love the carrot garnish on top. I’d probably make a mixture of the south and north to get the maximum of both.

    1. Thanks so much Mayuri. Appe Pans are a blessing indeed.

  7. Indeed one of my weakness too. I can just eat them unlimited. Making it in an appe pan makes it guilt free. Even I make Iit with urad Dal, but did not add rice powder anytime. love the addition of rice powder to this, will try with it next time.

    1. For deep frying i don’t add rice flour. This is only for appe pan to develop crispy outer layer of the vada. Glad you liked it Renu.thanks.

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