Pakistani Food/ Snacks!/ vegetarian

Dahi Baray – Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Tangy Yogurt

You know how you just take some things for granted and don’t think about them very much?

Well, for me Dahi Baray are one of those things. They have been there at every ‘tea’ that I have been to for just about my entire life and my mother makes a variation (Dahi Phulki/Dahi Boondi) but I never thought about how to make them or what goes in and not because I don’t like them. I can certainly polish off an immense amount of dahi baray, especially the savoury and spicy kind. So much so that I am now grateful that I am pregnant and don’t have to justify how much I eat. I just never thought about how to make them because someone else always did.

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This summer I decided to be brave and make Dahi Baray for a potluck lunch and playdate a friend was hosting. Is it brave or foolish to try something a little tricky for the first time for a crowd? Let’s just pretend it is brave since that is the kind of thing I do with some regularity.

The good news is that all is well that ends well and to ensure that it was not some kind of fluke I made them again today for a friend who was visiting from out of town. The very empty dish speaks for itself 🙂

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Note Added June 3, 2016: I was recently trying to remember where it was that I learnt to make these and then I remembered that it was on a phone call to my feisty nani who is no longer in the best health. I write this here so that I never forget again that this is one of the many things I learnt from Nanna, the lady that once wore ghararas, carried a paan daan, always used talcum powder in the summer and made some of the best food I have ever eaten. 

Dahi Baray
Serves 8

Yogurt Mix
Yogurt 2 pounds or about 1 ½ times a 750g yogurt carton
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
1 to 1 ½ tsp cumin powder

 Baras or Fried Lentil Dumplings
1 cup ma’ash/urad daal – the white kind covered with water and soaked overnight
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp ginger (optional)

Garnish
Chaat Masala Powder
Red Chilli Powder
Tamarind Chutney
Finely Chopped Cilantro

For the yogurt mix: Combine the yogurt, sugar and spices along with  ½ cup of water and whisk. I suggest starting with half the amount of chilli powder and cumin powder unless like me you are a fan. Taste and check seasoning. Put it in the fridge while you work on the dumplings.

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For the dumplings:  As noted above you need to soak your lentils, I find overnight to be easiest but you can soak them for 6 hours to good effect. This recipe also makes a lot – 25 dumplings or more depending on their size – so if you want you can freeze the dumplings after they are fried (Do not soak them in water) and adjust the yogurt amounts accordingly.

Grind the lentils and the water they were soaking in to a thick paste, when you run a spoon through them they will leave pronounced tracks like those in the mediocre picture below – my camera/phone was just not cooperating today.

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Dump the ground paste into a bowl and add the salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder and baking soda. Now whisk. The whisking will create volume in the batter which will allow the dumpling to retain its characteristic denseness without becoming heavy. Don’t wuss out on me now and really work some air into it. This will take only a few minutes and then you are good to go.

Now these babies need oil and lots of it, so take your frying pan of choice, add 2 inches of oil and put on medium-high heat for the oil to heat through. Meanwhile get another pan or bowl – at least 10 inches in diameter and fill it 2/3 of the way with water. Now get a tray or platter and line it with paper towels to help drain the grease from the dumplings.

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Once the oil heats up – a small drop of the batter will land with an uplifting sizzle – then get out your spoon of choice. Gently place a dollop of the batter – I would say mine were a little over a tablespoon – into the hot oil. Suffice is to say it is best if the spoon is made of metal not plastic. When you add the dough to the oil then hold the spoon vertically so it lands in a more or less circular fashion. After a minute and a half the dumpling will turn a lovely golden color at which point you should turn them over and cook for another minute and a half.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

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Then let the dumplings have a nice little soak in the bath you prepared for them, this will help soften the dumplings.  While they are lazily floating away take out your dish of choice for serving the dumplings – I think you can fit all of them into a 13*9 sized dish, I used two smaller ones today. Pour a layer of the yogurt mix on the bottom, then remove the dumplings from the water one by one, gently squeezing them beneath your palms to drain the excess water and then lay them out in rows until your pan is filled.

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Then top with enough of the yogurt to adequately cover the dumplings and refrigerate. Leave it for atleast an hour so the flavours soak through the dumplings.

When you are ready to serve you can do so with a combination of the following – chaat masala powder which is available in all south asian stores and in the South Asian or Indian section of large supermarket chains, red chilli powder if you want it very spicy, tamarind chutney, chopped cilantro.

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Note: Even if you’re working off the printable please do a quick read through of the recipe as written above to make sure the little things are right!

 

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Dahi Baray
Author: Sarah - Flour & Spice
Ingredients
Yogurt Mix
  • Yogurt 2 pounds or about 1 ½ times a 750g yogurt carton
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 to 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
Baras or Fried Lentil Dumplings
  • 1 cup ma’ash/urad daal – the white kind covered with water and soaked overnight
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Garnish
  • Chaat Masala Powder
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Tamarind Chutney
  • Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • Coriander/Mint Chutney
Instructions
For the yogurt mix
  1. Combine the yogurt, sugar and spices along with ½ cup of water and whisk. I suggest starting with half the amount of chilli powder and cumin powder unless like me you are a fan.
  2. Taste and check seasoning. Put it in the fridge while you work on the dumplings.
For the dumplings
  1. Grind the lentils and the water they were soaking in to a thick paste, when you run a spoon through them they will leave pronounced tracks
  2. Take a spatula and transfer the ground paste into a bowl and add the salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder and baking soda.
  3. Whisk energetically to create volume in the batter, about 4-5 minutes with a large whisk.
  4. Heat add 2 inches of oil and put on medium-high heat for the oil to heat through.
  5. Meanwhile get another pan or bowl – at least 10 inches in diameter and fill it 2/3 of the way with water.
  6. Now get a tray or platter and line it with paper towels to help drain the grease from the dumplings.
  7. Once the oil heats up then gently place a dollop of the batter into the hot oil.
  8. After a minute and a half the dumpling will turn a lovely golden color at which point you should turn them over and cook for another minute and a half.
  9. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  10. Put the dumplings in the water bath for a few minutes
To Assemble
  1. Pour a layer of yogurt mix into your dish of choice.
  2. Remove the dumplings from the water one by one, gently squeezing them beneath your palms to drain the excess water and then lay them out in rows on top of the yogurt until your dish is filled.
  3. Top with enough of the yogurt to adequately cover the dumplings and refrigerate.
  4. Leave it for atleast an hour so the flavours soak through the dumplings.
  5. Top with your garnishes of choice
Recipe Notes

If there is too much water in the maash ki daal mix the baray will be mushy. If you have used a lot of soaking liquid then gently drain some until you have just enough left to submerge the daal.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Move Eat Create
    at

    Oooh, this sounds amazing.

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      They are! Like I said I am SO grateful that I am pregnany – don’t have to hold back on these babies anymore!

  • Reply
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    […] dinner this week I’m especially excited to try Flour and Spice’s Dahi Baray – Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Tangy Yogurt.  I’m also very happy to have been nominated for […]

  • Reply
    Gigi
    at

    I’m definitely making this for our next dinner party!

  • Reply
    myninjanaan
    at

    These look amazing! I make them similarly too, but I use Urud flour instead of the actual daal… with a toddler, I take as many shortcuts as I can lol 🙂

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      A.) I absolutely LOVE the name of your blog B.) I didn’t even know that Urud flour existed until someone told me about it a few days ago – would make the whole process much quicker and C.) Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Lemon Cake Break
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    This looks so delicious… like SO delicious. I want to eat one right now!

  • Reply
    Ambreen (Simply Sweet 'n Savory)
    at

    This looks absolutely delicious, my favorite!

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