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RECIPE: Delhi-style lentil dumplings in yoghurt

Food & Drink

This is quite a traditional recipe but you can add other bits on top, like pomegranate seeds. Here, I cook up 25 so I can freeze half for another occasion, but make up only half the quantity if you prefer; people normally eat one or two each maximum.

For the dumplings (makes 25)
​210g (1 cup) urad dal (split and skinned black lentils), soaked overnight
10g (2 tsp) finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
½-1 Indian green chilli, stalk removed, or to taste
Vegetable oil

tsp baking powder
Small handful of chopped coriander
¾ tsp salt

To make up half of them (for 12 dahi bhalla)

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​450g plain yoghurt
90-110ml
water
Salt
3tsp sugar, plus more if needed
¾ tsp roast and ground cumin seeds
Tangy herb chutney (see below), to serve

Drain off most of the water from the lentils, leaving 2-3tbsps, and place in a blender. Add the ginger and green chilli and grind until the batter is pretty smooth (though it might have some tiny granules in it). You can add water if necessary to help the blades turn, but the less water you add the better. The batter should feel light and fluffy.

Heat about 7.5cm (3in) oil in a medium-large karahi, wok or saucepan. It needs to be medium hot. Add the baking powder, coriander and salt to the batter and give it few extra whisks to incorporate as much air as possible. Place a bowl of water near the hob. Dunk your fingers in it and scoop up a large walnut-sized amount of batter. Using your thumb to help ease it off, let it slide into the hot oil. You need to be really close to the oil for it not to splash up, but do be careful. Don’t overcrowd the pan; you may need to fry the dumplings in 3 batches.

Fry for 6-7 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining off excess fat and place on kitchen paper. Repeat to cook the rest. When you are ready to eat, place the dumplings in a large bowl of recently boiled hot water for about 3-4 minutes, so they absorb all the water. Meanwhile, whisk together the yoghurt, measured water, salt, sugar and roast cumin until smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of single (light) cream. Add some cold water to the dumpling bowl so you don’t burn your fingers, and gently squeeze out the water. A lot of oil comes out as well.

Place straight into a serving bowl or plate. Spoon over the yoghurt so the dumplings are covered, then spoon or drizzle over first the tamarind chutney and then the coriander chutney, so each dumpling has some of both. Serve or refrigerate to use later. It is served both at room temperature and chilled.

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