When you think of kebabs your mind is mostly associating it with meats and you would hardly think of their vegetarian cousins.
Dahi kebabs are the most delicious vegetarian kebabs which are soft, creamy, and delicate in flavor that simply melt in your mouth. The prime ingredient of this kebab is yogurt...Yes, you heard it right it’s made with yogurt.
Basically the yogurt is hung in muslin cloth to remove the whey, and the cream left is called hung yogurt, which is used for making these kebabs. Crumbled paneer and bread crumbs are added along with some condiments to enhance the flavors of this delicate kebab, shaped in discs and deep fried.
I like serving these kebabs with tamarind chutney and the green chilli coriander chutney which was made with freshly plucked green chillies growing in my garden.
It’s a typical North Indian starter perfect to serve in dinner parties as an appetizer. Plan ahead if you want to serve this dish, as it takes time to prepare the hung yogurt.
And don’t forget to read the cook’s notes for some alternatives!
YIELDS: 16-18 pieces
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
PASSIVE TIME: 8 hours or overnight
350g hung yogurt (made from 1kg yogurt)
6-8 slices white bread, fresh
175g fresh paneer, finely grated
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1.5” piece ginger, finely chopped
3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
To make hung yogurt, in a deep bowl, place a sieve, spread muslin cloth on top and drop 1 kilo yogurt into it. Knot the muslin cloth loosely and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. Squeeze out any more excess whey and remove ready hung yogurt in a separate bowl.
Remove crust from bread slices and save it for later. Blitz the slices in food processor and make fine bread crumbs.
In a bowl of hung yogurt, add 1 cup (50g) bread crumbs, grated paneer, ginger, green chillies, coriander, cumin powder and salt, mix them well together. With the help of two spoons make 16 dollops.
Blitz the reserved bread crusts in a blender and mix it with remaining breadcrumbs. Drop a dollop into crumbs, roll it gently with your fingers to coat well from all sides. Shape it into flat round discs (about 1.5cm thick). Repeat with the rest of the mix. Refrigerate the prepared discs for 30 minutes or until ready to be fried.
Heat oil in a deep pan, drop 3 to 4 kebabs at a time and fry on medium high heat until its golden brown. Remove on absorbent paper and serve with tamarind and coriander chutney.
You can also prepare the hung yogurt in muslin cloth (cheese cloth) tied to the sink tap and letting the water drain in your sink.
I have added bread crumbs based on the consistency of the hung yogurt, but if you hung it too long and yogurt has become too dry, add less quantity of bread crumbs and paneer. On the contrary, if the yogurt is still bit soft, add more bread crumbs and paneer and adjust the seasoning.
Deep fry only at medium high temperature of oil, because on slow heat these will break.
Do not fry all kebabs at once as the temperature of oil will drop and your kebabs will break.
Kebabs can also be shallow fried or air fried.
Do not keep tossing the kebabs in oil as they are delicate and can easily break.
If you are in a hurry, you can also use labneh instead of hung yogurt to prepare the kebabs. Labneh is a typical middle eastern condiment which is like a cream cheese made with hung yogurt cream. It is used to eat with lavash, khubz or pita breads or as a spread on any bread with olive oil, za’taar etc.