There is nothing special about Daler Bora or Lentil fritters. Every state in India has its own version. There are international versions of it as well (think falafel). Different types of dal (lentils ) are used in different proportions along with a varied combination of spices. They are often ground to a rough batter and then there is deep fried goodness; food heaven, food coma call it whatever you want.
In Bengal Daler Bora is traditionally had with rice and dal (lentil) a vegetable i.e stir fry or curry and fish curry. this is often followed by a bhaat ghoom (afternoon siesta) on a hot summer day. If you are in rural Bengal or if the health conscious bug hasn’t bitten you then lentil fritters would be a part of a bowl of muri (puffed rice) and tele bhaja (deep-fried goodies) and a cup of steaming hot chai (tea). Then there is, of course, the rainy season or Borsha kaal when deep fried goodies are all you can think off.
Fritters are much loved in my home. I live in a place where it snows almost half the year. The winter here can be relentless and often depressing and in those times the lentil fritters are very comforting. Of late it has been raining incessantly here in Wisconsin and sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee (sorry I am not a chai drinker) all I can think of are those delicious golden fried goodies and those beautiful rainy evenings at my didimas (maternal grandma) house , those beautiful days long gone by , yet fondly remembered.
When you are in dur bidesh (foreign land / across the 7 seas) you make every attempt to hold on to your memories and preserve those associations that come with them. Daler bora is one of them. I make batches of daler bora and use them in lieu of falafel in my wraps, sometimes make a thin curry and dunk those bora ( another Bengali creation; borar jhol) but mostly as munchies.
In my home, we use a combination of dals
Daler Bora ( Lentil Fritters)
- Red Lentils (masoor dal )-1/2 cup
- Split green gram (moong dal) 1/4 cup
- Split Bengal gram (chana dal) 1/4 cup
- green chilies- 2
- Ginger 1 inch
- onions chopped- 1/2 cup
- carom seed (ajwain) – 1 teaspoon.
- Coriander leave (cilantro) -chopped – 2 table spoons
- Oil for frying.
- Soak the lentils separately for about couple of hours. Actually, 1 hour is good enough the red and the split green gram. The Bengal gram might need an hour or so.
- Next, drain the water and was the lentils. In a blender (a mixer grinder is a better option) except for the carom seeds, onion, oil and coriander leaves and grind them to a coarse paste with very little water. I just sprinkled some. Otherwise, the batter becomes runny and the fritters cannot hold the shape when poured into the oil.
- Now set a wok or a kadhai with enough oil for heating to fry the fritters. As the oil heats, mix the onion, carom seeds and coriander leaves to the batter.
- Scoop a small amount of batter and hand pour it into the hot oil. If you are scared to use your hands, you can use a spoon. Fry them in batches, about 6-7 fritters at a time and make sure you do not over crowd the wok.
- Fry them in medium to high heat for about 8-10 minutes and then drain them on a paper towel.
- Serve them with your meal or with a cup of hot chai.
- The fritters can be made with red lentils (masoor da) only. In that case, use a cup or red lentils and omit the other lentils.
- Also, they are a good substitution to falafels 🙂
- They can be served as vegan appetizers as well