Food by Bal Krishna Shrestha: Bara, savoury black lentil pancakes from Nepal
2018-12-01 13:54:19 -
Food & Drink


By Bal Krishna Shrestha


Bara: savoury black lentil pancakes from Nepal


Bara is a classic food among Newari families in Nepal, often prepared or festive times such as weddings, birthdays and rice-feeding ceremonies.

While the preparation is similar to that of American pancake, bara is made from black lentil paste and spices.

Bara and a fried egg is commonly given as ‘sagun’, which is believed to bring good luck. They can be eaten separately or enjoyed with a meal.


Serves five

500g split black urad dal

1/2 tbsp ginger paste

1/2 tbsp garlic paste

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 tsp ground cumin

150ml oil

Salt to taste

Soak the urad dal/lentils overnight in cold water. Wash and rub the soaked lentils in cold water a couple of time, using your hand to remove the outer black shell from the lentils. Cover the washed lentils with water, then slowly drain it off. Repeat this step a few times; this will help to separate the shell from lentils. There is no need to remove all the shell from the lentils, just try your best to remove as much as possible.

Add the washed lentils and a little bit of water to a food processor or blender, and pulse to make a smooth, thick paste.

Place the lentil paste in a wide bowl and add the ginger and garlic paste, ground cumin, salt and asafoetida, then mix well. Leave the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes. When chilled, use the mixture to make small round balls — you could be able to make 10 to 15 of these.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Place a lentil ball in the pan and, using your finger, slowly press from the top to flatten it.

Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes being sure to flip it, until golden brown on each side. You can also add a little bit of oil around side of the pancake; this will prevent it from sticking and help it cook faster.

Serve with any type of curry and pickle, or enjoy with spiced meat and vegetables of your choice.


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