Mash ki daal kay dahi baray or dahi bhallay are lentil fritters made from ground white lentils. The super soft baray are served in a yoghurt base with spices and chutneys on top. This traditional Pakistani / Indian recipe makes for a delicious snack, especially during Ramadan. This recipe is vegetarian, and gluten-free and suitable for batch freezing.
Dahi baray (or dahi bhallay) are a popular snack in India and Pakistan. Especially in the month for Ramadan where they are served for iftar (the sunset meal when Muslims break their fast) with other items such as fruit chaat, keema samosas, pakoras and chole chaat. They can also be served as a light snack with tea, or as a side with dinner, or as a component to make mix chaat or dahi baray chaat. It is also a common street food snack, with vendors coming up with their unique toppings, and spice mixes.
Dahi baray are made by grinding white lentils into a paste which is then fried to make lentil fritters. The fried lentils are then soaked in luke warm water till soft, and then added into a creamy yoghurt sauce. The soft and pillowy dahi baray are then topped with spices and sauces. The most common spices include roasted and ground cumin powder (bhuna zeera), red chili powder and salt along with a tamarind chutney and green chutney. Learn how to make the traditional Pakistani mash ki daal kay dahi baray / dahi bhallay at home.
This is a vegetarian and gluten free recipe. It can be made vegan by using vegan yoghurt.
What are dahi baray
Dahi baray are lentil fritters soaked in yoghurt. Dahi means yoghurt, and baray means deep fried lentil fritters. The fritters are made by grinding soaked lentils into a paste. The resulting batter is then fried to make what is known as baray. These lentil fritters are soaked in hot water till soft, and then added to a yoghurt base. They are then topped with a variety of toppings. The baray / fritters are soft and fluffy, the yoghurt is light and creamy, and all those spicy condiments and chutneys add a burst of flavour that is contracted with the lightness of the yoghurt.
In Punjab, dahi baray are called dahi bhalla or dahi bhallay. Dahi vada is also the same thing, except that vada is made in the shape of a doughnut whereas dahi baray are either flat and round, or circular and round depending on the way they are made.
Dahi baray also form the basis of dahi baray chaat or dahi bhalla chaat. To make the chaat, ingredients such as chole (chickpeas), onions, tomatoes, and potatoes, along with paapri to make the mixed style chaat.
Below are the ingredients required to make Pakistani style mash ki daal kay dahi baray / lentil fritters in yoghurt, along with the possible spices, chutneys and toppings that can be used.
- Mash Daal: Mash ki Daal or Daal Mash is the term used for these lentils in Pakistan. In India, they are called urad daal. They are white colored lentils, and are the split and dehusked version of black gram lentils. Easily available from Pakistani and Indian grocery stores, or in the international / ethnic aisle of big supermarkets or online. The lentils must be soaked for at least 6 hours, or overnight so that it grinds easily. Mash ki daal kay dahi baray are traditionally made with just mash daal, however, it can be difficult to process. That’s why moong daal (yellow lentils) are added to make it easier to grind into a paste.
- Moong Daal: Known as daal moong or yellow lentils. These are easily available at Pakistani and Indian grocery stores, in the international / ethnic aisle of large supermarkets or online.
- Baking Soda: Optional ingredient. However, helps in fluffing up the dahi baray. Only add a tiny amount.
- Yoghurt: Use full-fat yoghurt. Greek yoghurt can also be used but more water would be required to thin it. Vegan yoghurt can be used to make this recipe vegan friendly.
- Cumin Seeds: Adds an extra layer of flavour to the dahi baray.
- Spices: The spices that are usually served with dahi baray are roasted and ground cumin seeds (bhuna zeera) and red chili powder. People like to add chaat masala as well.
- Chutneys: The classic chutney with dahi baray is tamarind chutney (imli chutney). Other options include green chutney (coriander and mint chutney).
- Other: Other toppings and condiments that can be served with dahi baray include paapri, chopped coriander leaves / cilantro, sliced green chilies, diced onions, and diced tomatoes. Boiled and spiced potatoes, and boiled chickpeas can also be served to make a mix style dahi baray / dahi bhallay chaat.
Check out my guide on how to stock a Pakistani Kitchen + Pakistani Pantry List (with English translation and descriptions).
Here is how you can make mash ki daal kay dahi baray / dahi bhallay / white lentil fritters, including instructions on serving them individually and family style.
- Soaking the lentils: Start off with soaking the lentils. Mash daal / white lentils need to be soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight, whereas moong daal / yellow lentils needs only to be soaked for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
- Grind the lentils: Add the soaked lentils into a food processor with salt and cumin seeds. Add water little by little, and process into a thick and smooth paste. The batter should be on the thicker side, so don’t add too much water.
- Aerate the lentil batter: Place the blended batter into a shallow wide bowl. Add baking soda (if using), and then aerate the batter using a wire whisk, your hands or an electric hand whisk. Beat the batter for a few minutes until it is light and airy – this will help in making soft and fluffy dahi baray.
- Fry the dahi baray / lentil fritters: Use a spoon to drop spoonfuls of the batter in hot oil, and cook till golden brown on all sides. The oil should be medium temperature so that the batter can crisp up from the outside, and cook through on the inside. The fried lentil fritters can be used right away or frozen for later. Freezer instructions below.
- Soaking the baray: Soak the fried lentil fritters in lukewarm water with a pinch of asafetida (hing) for about 5 – 15 minutes. The asafetida is to help with potential gas issues that maybe a result of eating too many lentils. They will become soft, and double in size. Place the baray in the palm of your hand, and press lightly between your hands to squeeze out the excess water.
- Prepare the yoghurt mixture: Add milk, water and salt to yoghurt and whisk well.
- Serving the dahi baray – individually: The first method of serving dahi baray is to keep all the items separate so people can add items as per their taste.
- Serving the dahi baray – family style: This method is perfect for get-togethers and dawaats / parties as the dahi baray are served in one big bowl. For this method, season the yoghurt with roasted ground cumin and red chili powder. Add the dahi baray in the yoghurt mixture, and then top with tamarind chutney (imli chutney), green chutney (coriander and mint chutney), chaat masala and crisps. Keep the spice level mild to medium, and serve extra tamarind chutney, and chaat masala on the side so people can add more spice if they want.
The best part about this is recipe is that it’s freezer friendly. Once the baray / fritters are fried, wait for them to cool. Then store them in a zip lock bag, and freeze. Make sure to use a good quality zip lock bag, as these baray can absorb smells from the freezer. When you want to eat, put the required amount of baray in a bowl. Add boiling water and let them sit for about 10 – 15 minutes till they are soft. Squeeze out the water, and follow the rest of the recipe as is. I would usually make a big batch of dahi baray (double or triple this recipe) before Ramadan, and then keep in the freezer. Then I would take out as many as I needed, and have fresh dahi baray regularly for iftar without the hassle of frying daily.
Dahi baray can be served with all the components separate or everything mixed together. In our Pakistani household growing up, we would keep the baray / bhallay (fritters) and dahi (yoghurt) separately with spices and chutneys on the side. This way people could make their own plate, adding their condiments to taste. My preferred way of building a dahi baray bowl is to put the dahi baray first in a bowl, then add yoghurt on top, followed by the red chili powder, and roasted ground cumin (bhuna zeera). Then lots of tamarind chutney. Green chutney, chaat masala and paapri would be optional for me, .
However, dahi baray can also be served with the components mixed together. In this style the baray are added to the whisked yoghurt mixture, and then the chutneys added on top. Additional chutneys and chaat masala is kept on the side, so people can add more to taste. The benefit of this serving style is that everything is mixed together in one bowl, making it perfect for a dawaat / party.
Dahi baray can served as a side with dinner at a dawaat / party. They also make for a delicious snack with tea or at a tea party. They are also super popular during Ramadan for iftar and make for a light and filling meal after a long day of fasting. During Ramadan they are also usually served with items such as chickpeas, boiled potatoes, and paapri to make a custom chaat.
FAQ's and Expert Tips
Mash ki daal kay dahi baray or dahi bhallay taste best when made with just mash ki daal (white lentils). However, this particular lentil can be difficult to process into a paste, even after soaking. This can result in a coarse texture, and heating up of the machine. Having a good food processor or blender definitely helps. Or you can adjust the ratio of mash daal (white lentils) to moong daal (yellow lentils). This can be in a 1:1 ratio (½ cup mash daal and ½ cup moong daal), or in a 1:3 ratio (¼ cup moong daal and ¾ cup mash daal). My personal preference is the 1:3 ratio because that way you get the flavour and texture of mash ki daal, but you also get a little bit of the softness and ease of grinding from the moong daal.
There are two types of dahi baray – one is the salty version called namkeen dahi baray which is the way that I grew up eating them in my house. It’s also the recipe that I have shared today. However, they can also be served sweet called meethay dahi baray. Both recipes are equally popular in Pakistan. The method for both is pretty much the same. The difference is in the yoghurt preparation. To make the sweet or meethay dahi baray, you need to add sugar to the yoghurt mixture. About 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar to 2 cups of yoghurt, with a pinch of salt. Skip the red chili powder, and ground cumin. However, the remaining toppings remain the same – tamarind chutney, chaat masala and green chutney.
Use a mix of lentils: To make soft dahi baray, use both mash daal / urad daal / white lentils and moong daal / yellow lentils.
Grind the lentils properly: To create soft dahi baray, it’s important to have a smooth thick batter. The batter shouldn’t be coarse and grainy. To ensure a soft batter, make sure to soak the lentils properly, and use a good blender that will grind the lentils properly.
Aerate the batter: Make sure to aerate the batter after the lentils are turned into paste – this can be done with a wire whisk, your hands, or an electric hand whisk.
Cook at the right temperature: The oil should be medium heat, so that the baray can cook through and are golden brown on the outside.
Soak the baray in warm water till soft: The baray need to be soaked till they are soft and increase in size. If the baray are still hard, add more hot water and/or let them soak for a few minutes longer.
Soak in yoghurt: Once you have squeezed out the water from the dahi baray, let them sit in the yoghurt mixture for a few minutes. They will absorb the yoghurt and become even more soft.
Pakistani / Indian snack recipes to try
Here are some more Pakistani / Indian snacks that you can try out.
- Chana Chaat or Chole Chaat
- Aloo Chana Chaat
- Keema Samosa
- Paneer Samosa
- Aloo Pakoras
- Pyaz / Onion Pakoras
- Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)
- Green Chutney (Coriander and Mint Chutney)
There are lots of Ramadan resources and recipes on the blog. Check them out below:
- Ramadan meal planner and sample menu guideline for iftar, sehri and dinner.
- How to prepare for Ramadan and eat healthy in the month.
- Check out my Ramadan recipe collection here. Keep checking back regularly as I plan to add more recipes soon.
- Recipe collection of 19 make ahead recipes for Ramadan
Have you ever made dahi baray / lentil fritters in yoghurt? What's your favourite topping?
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Mash ki daal kay dahi baray or Lentil fritters in yoghurt | Dahi bhallay
For dahi baray / lentil fritters:
- ¾ cup mash daal / urad daal / white lentils see note 1
- ¼ cup moong daal / yellow lentils see note 1
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- water for blending
- 1 pinch baking soda optional
- oil for frying
- asafoetida / hing optional
- 1 kg yoghurt adjust as required
- ½ - 1 cup milk
- salt to taste
- water as required
Condiments / Garnish:
- Roasted cumin seeds / bhuna zeera
- Red chili powder
- Tamarind chutney
- Green chutney
- Chaat masala
For dahi baray / lentil fritters:
- Clean and wash the mash daal / urad daal / white lentils. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Clean and wash the moong daal / yellow lentils. Soak for at least 1 ½ - 2 hours.
- Drain the water and place the two types of lentil / daal in a food processor. Add salt and cumin seeds. Add water little by little, and process till a smooth yet thick paste has formed. Be careful that the machine does not overheat.
- Place the ground daal paste into a bowl, add baking soda (if using) and mix. Aerate the mixture by using a wire whisk, an electric hand beater, or your hands. This will make the batter light and fluffy and help make soft dahi baray.
- Heat oil in a karahi or a large frying pan on medium heat. I prefer to use a frying pan as it is far more stable and gives me more surface area. Use a spoon to drop spoonfuls of the batter in the oil, and cook till golden brown on all sides. The oil should be on medium temperature so that the batter can crisp up from the outside, and cook through on the inside. If the batter is too thin, that maybe a case of adding too much baking soda or water. In that case, add a bit of besan (chickpea flour) to adjust the consistency.
- Remove the fried baray from the oil, and let drain on a kitchen towel or strainer. The baray can be cooled, put in a ziploc bag and kept in the freezer at this stage.
- Take a large bowl and fill it with warm water along with a few pinches of asafoetida / hing (optional). Put the fried baray in the water and let them soak (15 - 30 minutes) till they become soft and fluffed up. If running short on time, the baray can be added in boiling water but they may become too soft, so keep an eye on them and adjust accordingly.
- Remove the baray / fritters from the water one by one, gently squeezing them between your palms to remove the excess water. Place the baray in a plate or platter if serving them separately, otherwise add them in the prepared yoghurt mixture.
- Add the yoghurt, milk and salt in a bowl or rectangle dish. Whisk till smooth, and then add water as required to thin the mixture. The yoghurt should be a thick pouring consistency but shouldn't be super runny.
- The first method of serving dahi baray is to keep all the items separate so people can add items as per their taste.
- The second method of serving dahi baray is in a large bowl, family style. Add the soaked and water removed dahi baray in the yoghurt mixture. Top with your preferred spices and chutney. This can include red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, and chaat masala along with tamarind chutney, green chutney and paapri.
- You can adjust the ratio of mash daal (white lentils) to moong daal (yellow lentils) based on personal preference, or even make dahi baray from just mash ki daal / urad daal / white lentils. This can be in a 1:1 ratio (½ cup mash daal and ½ cup moong daal), or in a 1:3 ratio (¼ cup moong daal and ¾ cup mash daal). My personal preference is the 1:3 ratio because that way you get the flavour and texture of mash ki daal, but you also get a little bit of the softness and ease of grinding from the moong daal.
- How to make meethay dahi baray / sweet dahi baray: To make the sweet or meethay dahi baray, you need to add sugar to the yoghurt mixture. About 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar to 2 cups of yoghurt, with a pinch of salt. Skip the red chili powder, and ground cumin. However, the remaining toppings remain the same – tamarind chutney, chaat masala and green chutney.