Bori is actually a lentil dumpling that has been usually air dried in the elements and used in curries. It adds a lovely textural element when cooked as it rehydrates.
Its also a good source of protein and very popular in Bengali cuisine. Its made with pretty much whatever lentils you like but commercially its Moong or Urad Dal. You can get them with turmeric or plain.
Going back a couple of decades, bori were scarce in England. We bought them back from India during visits, friends and family would share these little nuggets.
I was curious how these were made. They seemed so coveted. I thought I’d try and funnily enough…they worked in the oven. I gave my mum some. She thought they were shop bought. When she came up next, we made loads. There started our stock up ritual. We made them with all sorts of lentils. I added seasonings, flavourings and we never looked back. Then my mum got her wings. I never made them again. That was 11 yrs ago. Until today.
I was asked how do I make Bori by a family friend. I said I’d write it up for her but there is no better way than with pictures. They need a little prep and a little effort. Not too much but a little perseverance. A little labour intensive. But worth every minute when you bite into those golden nuggets!
It was good to make them again. I thought of my mum the whole time. I could imagine her saying “make more, it’ll last longer and I’ll share a few out”. I didn’t. I just soaked a cup full of lentils. I reckoned I’d slowly stock up using variety of flavourings and different lentils. It was cathartic. On some level it reminded me why I used to make them. The aroma as they oven dried, it was beautiful. The nigella seeds, infused the air. I’m defo making them regularly again. A labour of love.
You will need baking tray, greaseproof paper or oven greaseproof sheet. Electric whisk or hand held whisk and food processor or Nutri Bullet.
1 cup lentils (I used Toor dal) Pidgeon Peas.
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp Nigella seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp Ginger paste (optional, I did half my mix with ginger).
Soak your lentils the night before.
Next day rinse the lentils out and let them drain on a seive. Move them around to dry them a little.
Put your oven on to 150 deg C or gas mark 2.
Next use a food processor to blend the lentils but try keep it a thick paste.
Just add a tsp of water at a time as we want the mix as firm as possible.
When you have blended it all. Transfer into a large bowl and add all the seasonings.
Now is the hard bit. You have to whisk this mix for a good 5 to 10 minutes with hand or electric whisk. This will help to aerate the mix so that the bori will be light and not dense.
You will know when its at right stage as a tiny ball will stay intact if dropped in water.
At this stage you place them on greaseproof paper or an oven sheet and drop little mounds on the baking tray. You can use a well greased tray but you may still find a few break or stick so oven sheet is the best.
When you’ve done these, place the trays in the oven. You need to cook these now for a god few hours to dry out.
Check often. They will automatically come away when dry. Turn them over and make sure you dry the undersurface too.
When they feel totally dry, snap and crack when pressed switch of your oven and leave them till oven is cold.
Store them in a air tight container.
Ensure they are thoroughly dry otherwise you may get mould on them when stored.
If you dont want to soak overnight then grind your lentils and soak the ground mix with water checking frequently to adjust until you feel the mix is smooth and soft before you add seasoning and follow process.
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