Close to where we were staying in Kolkata there was a guy who set up a food stall in the late afternoon to make daler bora – Bengali lentil fritters. He would fry them upon request and serve them piping hot in little paper bags. They were so addictively good that one bag was never enough. We would munch them as we strolled back to our hotel, pausing often at the tea wallah for our last masala chai of the day.
It became a habit and one that the whole family enjoyed. Upon arriving back in London I decided that life without daler bora was incomplete, so after a bit of tweaking I came up with the perfect recipe to cook them in the home. They are light, crisp and not at all oily. They must be eaten hot and freshly made. Try them and let me know how you get on.
Daler Bora – Bengali Lentil Fritters
350g red spit lentils (masoor), soaked for 2 hours
Handful of fresh coriander
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger, skin removed and finely grated, optional
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1tsp turmeric powder
Sunflower or Vegetable oil for frying
sprinkling of chaat masala
- Once the red split lentils have soaked, drain them and then place in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Use a small deep pan and place enough oil in the pan so that the daler bora will float.
- Wait for the oil to be at the right heat – drop a little of the batter in the pan and if it fizzles and rises to the top then the oil is ready.
- Use two teaspoons and heap one teaspoon with the blended dal and use the other to gently push the blended dal into the oil. I usually fry one first and then try it to check for the right chilli and salt levels. If it needs any more of either of these then this is the time to add a little more.
- Place around 10 in the pan and then allow them to bronze. If the oil is at the right heat they should be done in 1-2 minutes. Turn them over half way with a slotted spoon.
- Once bronzed remove with the slotted spoon and place on kitchen roll and sprinkle a little chaat masala on top. This will give the lentil fritters a pleasing tang.
- Eat whilst still hot.
They are great dipped into an Indian chutney. My tamarind and date chutney works a treat.
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