Bengali lentil pakoras.
Everybody has their own take on Daler bora.
Little savoury lentil pakoras.
One of the most popular snack foods that every Bengali will rave about. I don’t have any personal preferences for recipes. It’s such a shame that I never spent any time in my family home observing how my family made them when they were popping out all these delicious daler bora.
I do wish that I had paid more attention and noted the recipe, I was too busy eating them!
So the recipe/method that I am using is how I make them. With daler bora there is no fast method that’s right or wrong. These snacks are so popular and all tend to be familial recipes passed down.
I think what one needs to remember is to adjust the recipe as you see fit according to your palate in relation to the heat and the salt and any other seasonings.
I go by my set ratios and method which always help me make things easier and give maximum flavour.
As you already know I always look for shortcuts and for me daler bora is no different.
Many soak the lentils first to soften then grind/blend. I find it quicker and easier to grind my lentils dry into a powder form leaving some texture. This gives a crispy surface bite I like.
I like to mix all my ingredients dry together to make sure they are fully incorporated and then add the water.
I prefer to let the mixture soak/sit after all my ingredients are added into the lentils thereby absorbing all the flavours and the oils released from the ingredients that you add,
Your onions, chilies and your coriander will release water into the mix, this I think allows for a much flavoursome and aromatic daler bora. Ironically lentil pakoras do have a lot of onions! If you want you can use mixed lentils, I prefer just red Masoor Lentils.
As I have said there’s so many familial recipes and there is no right or wrong method this is just how I make them and how I taught myself to make them to suit me.
Give them a go, make a smaller quantity I’ve made a large quantity here because of a family of five and they are so moreish, they do go very quickly.
All measurements using level measuring cup and spoons.
2 cup ground red Masoor Lentils (ground at home with coffee grinder)
3 large onions (very finely sliced)
5 green chillies, minced as this releases oils and aroma
1 tbsp dried Kasuri methi
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp chilli flakes as I like them spicy!
Half cup of self raising flour
1.5 cup of water
Cup of fresh coriander chopped
I reserve 2 sliced onion and half of the coriander to add just before I am about to make them.
Add all the remaining dry ingredients into a bowl.
Mix this well bruising and breaking the onions. Ensure its evenly coated.
Now add half cup of water and mix well.
Slowly add the rest of the water mixing as you go as you want a glistening firm mix, not loose.
The fresh ingredients will release some water as it sits and the lentils will absorb any residue.
Let this sit now for a few hours, at least 4hrs as we want the lentil to soften and absorb all the flavours, just stir the mix occasionally.
Once your mix has rested we will stir in the remaining onion and fresh coriander and check consistency and flavour.
To be sure it’s ok, we need to sample one. This is the best way to check.
Heat veg oil in a large frying to shallow fry. This way you can do alot together. You want the oil to be just enough to at least emerse the sides of your pakoras.
So first we try one. If the seasoning is fine, continue. If not, you may want more onions or chillies, add now.
Get a big spoonful with your fingers. Make into a scruffy round and place in the oil. Then gently with the back of the spoon slightly press it to slightly flatten. When you get used to it you won’t need a spoon, just press with finger tips. Don’t try this yet!
You want the temp on low to medium once heated and little bubbles coming out of the sides. Cook them on low.
This will ensure they cook well inside and out.
The boras should be crispy on outside and cooked through in the middle, fragrant and tasty.
Wear gloves when mixing in case your hand burns from fresh chillies.
If you want to make a smaller batch use:
1 cup ground lentil
2 large onions
3/4 cup of water
1 tsp chilli flakes
All other ingredients and quantities remain same.
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