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 Baras 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.

This summer I decided to be brave and make them 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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Tomato Cut – a perfectly tangy side dish

I think I really like tomatoes. As in really. Yesterday I slow roasted a pint of cherry tomatoes with salt, pepper and thyme at 330 for about 40 minutes and then ate them like candy. The intent was to make a ‘tart’ with puff pastry, goat cheese and oven roasted tomatoes, but then my love for tomatoes clearly got in the way. There is a lesson to be learnt here folks – next time, I will roast two pints of cherry tomatoes.

One of my husband’s close friends is currently in town and when Ali asked him what he would like to eat all he asked for was Pakistani food because he has not had any since he was here back in November. With a free rein and my tomato obsession in mind I decided to make a simple pea pilaf ( cumin seeds, whole red chillies sautéed in minimal oil, equal amounts of peas and rice, half a chicken stock cube for every cup of rice) and with it my favourite Pakistani tomato dish, the oddly named Tomato Cut. This is my mother’s recipe and although I have tried several variations on it, I love it best as is. By which I mean I have made only minor changes. Sometimes that Mama Jafri is not so accurate in how she writes recipes down. Additionally, for the blog I try and keep the recipes in measuring spoon measurements and when my mother says a teaspoon she means the kind you would stir sugar into your tea with. Very different you see.

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Tomato Cut is a Hyderabadi dish and since I am pretty sure neither my mother nor her mother are from Hyderabad I cannot make any claims as to the authenticity of the dish. All I can say is this: it is tangily satisfying, equally good warm or cold (great do-ahead), and one of those dishes which somehow never makes it way to the realm of leftovers.

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