Lentil Fritters are one of the most-loved fried-snacks in most parts of India and many other parts of the world. However, the Indian spices make them so different in taste that you keep on asking for more.
In a previous post I talked of relishing Masoor Dal with steaming white rice and crispy “daler bora” – or red lentil soup with crispy Lentil fritters. Let’s talk about preparing these little taste-bombs!
There are many types of lentils which could be used to cook lentil fritters – Red Lentils, Yellow/tan Lentils, Brown/Spanish pardina, green lentils, etc. However the tastiest and most appetizing of all for a Bengali household is the “Chholar Daler Bora” or the “Bengal Gram Fritters”. Further, if you mix a generous proportion of Bengal gram with another Lentil, it will definitely give you a different taste altogether!
- 1 cup chholar/chana dal (Bengal Gram)
- 1 grated onion
- Salt as per taste.
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp of turmeric
- 2-3 green chillies finely chopped into tiny pieces.
- 1 cup Mustard Oil – depends on the depth of your frying pan.
- Soak the Chholar Dal overnight to make them soft, and then make a thick paste of this the next day.
- To ensure an enhanced metallic taste, use the traditional way of hand-grinding by using the traditional “sil batta” or “Shil Nora” made of stone. This restricts the dal getting too-finely grinded, contributing greatly to keep its taste intact.
- Now mix the dal paste with the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl. Initially you’ll find it difficult to mix the paste together due to its dryness. So add little amount (1 TBSP) of water to mix them finely by hand. Even after adding water and mixing it’s bound to dry up a little; Add little more water again to mix, and repeat the process for a while. This will make your bora fluffy, soak less oil and make them taste better
- Add the chopped green chillies and grated onion.
- Once ready with the finely-mixed paste (judged by finding the paste dry but full of moisture) prepare for frying.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan till you see fine smoke coming out of the oil
- Next, instantly drop small dumplings of this paste into the pan. Deep fry first in low to medium heat and then adjust the flame from medium to high.
- You will see that “daler bora” are changing colors slowly to fully brown. Once you see a reddish brown color, take them off from the pan and keep them aside.
- Your Chholar daler bora is now ready to serve
Very simple yet very tasty and easy to cook, enjoy your “chholar daler bora” hot with tomato ketchup or any other forms of chutney on any fine evening – or with hot steaming rice and masoor dal during lunch or dinner.
The crispy chholar daler bora tastes better compared to the various kinds of potato chips, on any rainy day and even as snacks.
So try this recipe at your home. Am confident that it will be a hit with your spouse, children and friends in equal measure.
We have talked about oil-free cooking or cooking in less oil before on this blog. It’s generally seen that we rarely observe this religiously in our daily lives. Choice and consumption of oily food deteriorates our health very much, during our busy schedules. With the ever-growing number of diseases it is a sacrilegious to even think of our daily staple made of fried / oily stuff. As a result, we need to consciously avoid the oil-rich junk-food, to cut calories and keep cholesterol under check.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve to eat only boiled-food and can’t munch on our favorite chicken and mutton recipes. With careful choice and innovations, we can still enjoy our chicken or mutton with very little oil! This single-most factor inspired me to take an initiative to cook my first-ever home-made chicken dish – with just 2 tea-spoons of oil!
I wanted to give the dish an all-new innovative taste, by adding poppy-seeds – popularly known as “Posto” in Bengal – while making sure that the measure of oil is almost ‘nil’. This recipe is my ingenious version of “Posto-Chicken”, especially since I did not use ginger; but trust me it doesn’t compromise on the taste of this preparation.
Ingredients for preparing “Posto-Chicken” or Chicken with Poppy seeds”
- 2 TBLSP mustard oil
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 piece capsicum – finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 25 gms Posto (poppy seeds)
- 1/4 cup water
- 800gms chicken (+/- 200gms if required)
- 2 pc cardamom, cloves and 1 small piece cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 medium pieces green chillies
- 1 TSP chilli powder
- Salt as per taste
- 25gms butter
- 100gms curd (non-sweetened – preferably fat-free)
- Marinate chicken with turmeric, chilli powder and a little salt and keep aside in a cool place.
- Grind the poppy seeds and garlic together in a grinder and keep aside.
- Now heat 1 TSP oil in a ‘kadai’/ wok in low-flame for 2 minutes.
- Add the cardamom, cloves & the single piece of cinnamon to the oil and sauté for 3 minutes till you get the beautiful appetizing aroma from it.
- Fry onions & chopped capsicum until golden brown.
- Now add the marinated chicken, 1TSP oil, the garlic and poppy-seeds paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the curd to it and stir well till it forms nice thick gravy.
- Add a little water and keep the kadai / wok covered for some time, to get the taste and aroma of slow, covered cooking. It will keep the juice of the chicken and boil it properly too.
- Add the butter when the curry is dry to develop the rich aroma of butter, and stir very lightly, to evenly mix, while not breaking the chicken pieces
- Once you get the rich essence of the “posto” and the butter, empty the wok carefully into a large bowl, making sure none of the chicken pieces are broken / mutilated
- Garnish with the green chillies and bit of curd.
Your “posto chicken” is now ready to serve. It’s best enjoyed with “Tandoori-Roti” – i.e. oven fresh hand-made flat-bread.
“Posto” or poppy seeds are mainly used for vegetarian preparations – hence my preparation experience was quite different. This favored Bengali ingredient not only adds a unique flavor to your chicken, but the aromatic taste of capsicum and green chillies, makes the chicken taste quite different from your everyday chicken dishes.
Once this recipe was given its test run at my home the “posto-chicken” has become the most important Indian recipe across all my extended family members. This beautiful recipe with a touch of Bengal was next shared with a few of my friends too, and gave the same “different” and “unique” kind of responses from them.
So try this out and leave your experiences in the comments section below. If you keep on experimenting like me, you’d be able to come up with more different recipes in due course of time.
Stay tuned to this page for more recipes from my hobby kitchen!
- Mum’s Amazing Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Marinated smoked salmon with poppy seeds
- Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake Doughnuts
- Poppy Seed Ham Rolls Appetizers
Every Indian develops the taste of traditional herbs and spices very early in life. I too started developing this taste and love for Indian food early, through the wonderful dishes my mother cooked at home. The characteristic flavors stayed on my tastebuds and started developing some sense of curiosity within me.
That’s when I initiated my journey to the kitchen & started taking short lessons on cooking from my mother. I slowly realized how the spices & other major ingredients give the typical flavors, which make these recipes “Indian”. So, on taking lessons, and on understanding the various spices and herbs, ignited the zeal within me for Indian food.
The flavor and the aroma take the Indian food to greater heights compared to the western food. Regardless of being vegetarian or non-vegetarian, every Indian food has its unique richness and spice, which is difficult to find in western food items. And not to forget about Indian desserts. You have the sweets like Rasagolla, Laddoo and Barfi which are the winners – not only in India, but also recognized all over the world.
Most common ingredients of Indian food
Many Indian recipe is incomplete without Turmeric – which is the most commonly used spice for Indian foods. It adds the yellow color, flavor and aroma to Indian food. Turmeric has been associated with many health related benefits since time immemorial!. The turmeric helps detoxify the liver, stimulate digestion, boost your immune system and helps fight allergic reactions. It also helps to counter problems such as arthritis to some extent.
Coriander is another commonly used herb in Indian cuisine. Coriander powder adds the green color to Indian food, and fresh green coriander leaves are mostly used as a garnishing agent to decorate your recipes. However, it also contributes largely to your health in many ways. This herb contains anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic benefits. It also helps in decreasing levels of cholesterol in the blood
Red Chillies – popularly known as Lal Mirch – is another “must have” and regularly used ingredient in Indian cuisine. Red chili adds the red color and a hot and acidic flavor, enriching the taste in your food. Chilies have high levels of vitamins A and C which boosts the immune system.
Thus we see that the 3 most important ingredients of Indian cuisine not only add taste and flavor to the food, but also have great health benefits attached to them. One more reason for my love of (and perhaps all lovers of) Indian food. As a result, our love of Indian food is even stronger than ever and our culture has continues to embellish the fantastic recipes of Indian cuisine more than any other!
No wonder then, that the rich taste and aroma, and use of exotic spices have made Indian cuisine a popular choice for individuals and families all over the world!