Soak the dal in warm water for several hours. Drain and grind in a hand mixer with just enough water to make a thick fine paste. Pour the porridge into a suitable bowl and add the cumin seeds, chili pieces, ginger, asafoetida and half a tsp. of salt. Heat the ghee in a karhai on medium flame. Moisten the left hand. Pour in about 50 g of the mixture and form a flat roll with the thumb of the left hand. With the little finger of the right hand, poke a bulge in the center and gently slide the vada into the ghee. Because the dal is not very firm, this process may take a tiny bit of practice, but don’t worry, you can also set the dal in small lumps in the hot ghee with a spoon. Fry the vadas in oil from both sides for 6-8 min each until they turn reddish brown. Now take them out and drain them in a sieve. Add the coconut flakes, coriander leaves, cayenne pepper and the remaining salt to the yogurt. Pour the sauce over the vadas 1 hour before serving. Garnish each vada in the bulge in the center with a blob of date-tamarind chutney.
Tip: The higher the fat content in the yogurt, the more aromatic and creamy the result!