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close up shot of Steamed Lentil Bafauri with tomato chutney on the side
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4.67 from 12 votes

Steamed Bafauri - A Healthy Snack

Bafauri is an easy-to-make chana dal dish. Cooking lentils in a steamer makes it a healthy Indian evening snack. Try this vegan Indian snack recipe from the Bhojpuri cuisine today! It's a healthy alternative to fried pakoras, low in calories, high in protein, vegan & very delicious!
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Bhojpuri, Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking time 4 hours
Servings 6 people
Calories 198.43kcal



  • 1.5 cups chana dal/split chickpeas
  • 1 onion
  • 5-6 bulbs garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 tbsp ajwain/carom seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pea leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • water as required
  • salt as required


  • Soak chana dal/split chickpeas for 3-4 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind it to a smooth paste.
  • Add little water while grinding if required.
  • Transfer this paste to a mixing bowl.
  • It should resemble a thick lumpy paste.
  • Then add finely chopped green chillies.
  • Next, add sweet pea leaves and cilantro.
  • Add chopped onions, ginger and garlic.
  • Followed by baking soda, turmeric powder, chilly powder, ajwain/carom seeds, and salt.
  • Then add oil and water, mix and prepare a thick batter.
  • Grease your steamer plate with some cooking spray if you want. I used an Idli cooker for this recipe.
  • Pour a spoonful of the batter into each mold and steam these cakes for 20-30 minutes on medium flame.
  • Once done, open the steamer and de-mold the bafauri carefully.
  • Serve it with some spicy green chutney or ketchup along with your evening tea/coffee.


  • Chana dal is the lentil to be used here. The English name of which is Indian split yellow chickpea lentils. You can find this daal in any grocery store. It's available on Amazon as well. You can experiment with other lentils too. 
  • You can substitute Indian green chillies to jalapenos. Remove the seeds from inside to reduce the spice level.
  • The traditional recipe does not call for any other greens other than cilantro. But I like to add greens to make it even more nourishing. You can add any greens you have like spinach or kale. You can even skip adding any greens but cilantro. 
  • Carom seeds or ajwain have a distinct taste and is a good spice to have in your pantry. It's an excellent digestive with a rich aroma. You can find it on Amazon or in an Indian grocery store. Add it to savory fritters, crepes, waffles, paratha, Chickpeas stir fry, etc. 
  • Why add baking soda to batter - Baking powder and baking soda are both leavening agents. They lighten the batter by adding tiny bubbles of gas. 
  • Add only enough water to make it resemble a very thick batter. 
  • You can use any steamer available to you. I use an Idli cooker. But you can also steam bafauri in an Instant pot. The timings may vary depending upon the steamer and temperature. But approximately, it could take from 20 - 30 minutes for it to cook completely.
  • You can give it any shape you want. 
  • You can enjoy this veggie snack once they are steamed or go a step further and turn it into a fried snack. Remove them on a serving plate. Cut them into medium size chunks. Fry or shallow-fry them in hot oil. Temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, and roasted peanuts in a teaspoon of oil and add the fried bafauri to it.  Lightly toss it all together and serve. 
  • Steamed and fried Bafauri stays good for 4-5 days when stored in the fridge. You can also make the batter a day before and store it. If you notice the batter becomes a bit watery, add some chickpea flour to thicken it. 


Calories: 198.43kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.76g | Protein: 7.83g | Fat: 4.59g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 268.96mg | Potassium: 55.63mg | Fiber: 13.01g | Sugar: 2.36g | Vitamin A: 393.24IU | Vitamin C: 4.36mg | Calcium: 86.7mg | Iron: 2.1mg