Wednesday 4 April 2018

Dali Bora - Bengali Lentil Pakoras.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Today, I have another recipe for your vegan snack repertoire.
I first discovered these Bengali lentil pakoras on Instagram.
I follow a number of Bengali home cooks there and I noticed that one recipe that came up time and time again on their feeds were Dali Bora.
They always looked amazing - crispy and golden brown. I made a mental note of them but somehow never got round to giving them a go for myself. Finally, a few months back when my cousins were over, I whipped up a batch.

The spicy morsels disappeared almost immediately and proved an instant hit. These bite size pakoras are binded together with red lentils instead of the usual gram flour (besan). The lentils are soaked until soft before being blended to form a thick paste.

This paste is what binds the vegetables together. I kept things very simple using only onion, green chillies and fresh coriander. Ground spices can be added but as the original recipe suggested, I kept mine plain. The batter is dropped by the teaspoon full into hot oil and the little morsels are fried until crispy and golden brown. This recipe is Bengali home cooking at its best - packing the biggest flavour punch with very few ingredients. These pakoras are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. They are a real Bengali favourite in Ramadan but I couldn't wait that long to share them with you all.

Pakoras, previously: vegetable pakoras // crispy onion bhajis // cauliflower pakoras with moong daal batter // fresh methi pakoras // spicy fish pakoras

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Red Lentils
2. Green Chillies
3. Onion
4. Fresh Coriander
5. Salt
6. Water

Bismillah, let's begin!

These pakoras are bound together by lentils. I've done this before with moong daal but today, we'll use masoor daal (red lentils).

Place 170g Red Lentils in a medium bowl. The lentils need to soak in water so that they soften up enough to blend.

Cover the lentils with plenty of water. Leave to soak for 2-3 hours until the lentils are soft.

When the lentils soak time is nearly up, we can slice the fresh ingredients.

Peel and thinly slice 1 Onion.

To spice up the pakoras, we'll use green chillies. I finely minced up 4 Green Chillies. You may use more or less as you prefer.

Finally, the third in our holy trinity of Bengali cooking is fresh coriander. Finely chop up a handful of Fresh Coriander.

Once the 2-3 hours are up and the lentils have softened up, we can prepare and fry up the batter.

Drain out the water from the lentils.

Let the lentils drain well for 5 minutes.

Now, we blend the lentils. I used my Magic Bullet blender but the strongest blender you have will do.

The trick here is to blend the lentils with as less water as possible. I like to try them as they are then add a few drops of water, if needed.

Blend the lentils until they're as smooth as you can get them.

I blended mine in batches since this Magic Bullet is on the smaller side.

You can also blend the lentils a little more coarsely if you prefer that texture.

Now, to make the batter. Pop the lentils into a bowl. They'll be the ones binding our vegetables together - no need for any flour!

Add the chopped onion, green chillies and coriander to the bowl.

Along with 1 teaspoon Salt. 

You can add other ground spices too but I chose not to.

Give the batter a good stir.

Then, let it sit for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, heat up enough Vegetable Oil to deep fry.

Check the batter too. If it's released too much extra water, spoon the water out.

Mine just had a tiny bit so I left it. Time to fry!

To make the sure the oil temperature is right, I like to fry one or two pakoras until they're done. 

Once the oil is hot, drop in teaspoonfuls of the batter. Fry the pakoras until they're golden brown and crispy - about 5 minutes per batch.

Drain the pakoras on paper towels and carry on frying the rest.

Serve the dali bora immediately with your favourite cold drink and chutney

Dali Bora.

bengali lentil pakoras - vegan, spicy and highly addictive!

Prep Time: About 30 minutes + 2-3 hours, for soaking.
Cook Time: About 5 minutes per batch.
Serves: Makes about 35 bitesize pakoras.


170g Red Lentils (Masoor Daal)
4 Green Chillies, very finely minced
1 Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Handful of Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
Water, as needed
Vegetable Oil, to deep fry

Soak and wash the lentils:
Put the lentils into a medium bowl and cover with plenty of water. Leave to soak for 2-3 hours until the lentils soften and expand. Drain the lentils then wash in a few changes of water until the cloudy water runs clear from the lentils.

Blend the lentils:
Drain the lentils of any extra water for 5 minutes. Blend in a grinder or processor until the lentils are as smooth as you can get them. Add a little water to help the blending, as needed.

Mix up the batter:
In a mixing bowl, mix together the blended lentils, green chillies, onion, fresh coriander and salt. Let the batter sit for 20 minutes. If the batter releases too much water, spoon it out.

Heat enough vegetable oil to deep fry in a deep pan over medium heat. Once hot, drop in teaspoons of the batter. Fry the pakoras until they're golden brown and crispy - about 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and continue frying the rest.

Serve immediately with tomato ketchup and your favourite drink on ice.

{adapted from afelia's kitchen}

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your dali bora!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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