Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Maas ko Baara, Woh (Lentil Patties)

Maas ko Baara, Woh - (मास को बारा, वोह)
(Celebrating the spring with savory Newari Woh or Baara)

Maas ko Baara or Woh is made from ground split Urad Beans (kaalo maas ko daal).  They are light and spongy daal patties that resemble small flat pancakes.  Traditionally, the batter is ground on a stone slab and roller (silouto), giving a smooth and fluffy consistency, but grinding in a food processor or blender produces similar results.  Maas ko Baara is best served fresh, but can be stored overnight.

The following savory recipe is from Deepa Pradhan's kitchen, who is sharing her Newari culinary passion by showing me how to create Woh.  This version is cooked with soaked and ground split black Urad beans (kaalo Maas ko daal) and ground meat, along with ginger, garlic and other spices. 
Ground meat adds a unique flavor to this lentil patties.  Woh is made similar to Baara, the difference is Baara is deep-fried, whereas Woh is pan-fried with only small amounts of oil, making it a relatively healthier version.  The lentil patties is delicious on its own, but serving with other dishes makes a wonderful lunch or snack. 

Baaras are also associated with religious and ceremonial occasions.  During the ten days of the Vijaya Dashami festival, meatless Baaras are prepared each morning, and are offered to the deities as sacred offerings (navedya).  They are also distributed among friends and families and consumed as a blessed food (prashad).


Above right, a plate full of Newari Woh with Nepal's signature dish,  "Saandheko ko Alu"  a bold flavored potato salad blended with vibrant seasonings including fresh ginger-garlic, green chilies, cilantro, red onion, szechwan pepper, mustard oil and tempered with fenugreek seeds (methi le jhaaneko). Another favorite side dish (front) is pork chowela, which is grilled meat, cut into bite-sized pieces, and combined with several fresh herbs and spices and tempered with whole spices and oil.   
 Deepa prefers to make her Woh with Split Green Moong Beans (khoste mung ko daal) and ground chicken breast for lighter version.  Let me share her version of the classic lentil patties. Let's get started!
To make lentil patties, you will need the following ingredients: 2 cups split black urad beans, 3/4 pound ground chicken or turkey, salt to taste, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, a small pinch of asafetida, 2 finely chopped fresh mild green chilies, 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro and 1 cup oil. You know that this will be easy to make recipe by seeing the ingredient lists.
In a large bowl, wash and soak beans for at least 6 hours or overnight, until doubled in volume.
Rub the beans between your hands vigorously to loosen the outer black skins.  The coating will come off easily and float in the water.  Drain. Add fresh water, and rub again until most of the coatings are removed.  Place the drained beans in the blender or food processor, adding just enough water to make a semi-thick smooth puree.



Place the batter in a bowl and add all the above ingredients and whisk until it is light and spongy.  Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
When ready, heat a non-stick skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  Pour 1/2 cup daal mixture slowly.  Moving with the back of the spoon in a gentle circular motion, lightly spread the batter evenly into circles.  Place 2-3 patties at a time, without crowding.  
Cook until the edges start to crisp and the underside starts to brown.  Turn the Woh over and drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil around the edges and top.  Cook until browned both sides. 
Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm until served. Here is more protein to your diet......enjoy delicious, hearty Woh patties - स्वादिष्ट खाना  Bon appétit!

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