Red Lentil Fritters
Without lentils, the Indian kitchen is incomplete. Lentils are the crowning glory that improves everything. Lentils, or ‘Dal’ as its most known throughout the Indian subcontinent, are a protein-rich staple crop in the region. Most recipes call for a soup made with lentils. However, Indians are creative when it comes to making new things out of the same ingredients. This recipe for Red Lentil Fritters or “Daler Bora” is one of those instances where a healthy dinner item has been turned into a comfortable snack suitable for tea time.
What are Red Lentil Fritters?
Red Lentil Fritters are small lentil fritters that Bengalis frequently eat with rice and dal(lentil soup) or as part of a completely vegetarian meal. A common characteristic of a Bengali meal is to serve something fried alongside the dal. This can be crisply fried fish or lentil fritters, a vegetarian option. You might have noticed that there are two lentil-based ingredients in one meal for a common Bengali man. That is how prevalent lentils are in middle-class Bengali cuisine. We are going to use the same recipe, but instead of eating it alongside a meal, we can eat it as finger food for tea-time snacks or just binging on Netflix. It’s the perfect comfort food to bring back all childhood memories without loading up on carbs while you’re at it.
Notable Ingredients at a Glance
Red Lentil – Also known as Masoor Daal. We are going to need 1 ½ cups of these lentils.
Green Chilis – This will add the fresh Aroma typically associated with Indian street food. Six of these chilies would be my recommendation, though you can add more or less according to your spice tolerance.
Salt – 1 ½ tsp or to taste. Normal table salt can be used in this recipe. If you have rock salt on hand, then you can sprinkle some on the fritters.
Turmeric – ½ tsp of turmeric would help the filling take on a very appealing color.
Sugar – 1 tsp of sugar adds to the depth of flavor when it comes to lentils.
Oil – Any neutral oil can be used for this recipe. Since we are deep-frying the fritters, you might want to use oil that’s suitable for frying.
How to prepare Red Lentil Fritters?
Soak the lentils for 4hrs. This step is essential for our process because we depend on the lentils’ moisture to help as a binder in the next step.
Blend the soaked lentils with the chilis and salt in a high-powered blender. The dal will have retained some moisture, so you don’t need to add water. Only a high-powered blender will help achieve these results. Or you can use a mortar and pestle or Seel Batta(an Indian variation of the mortar and pestle).
If you need to add water to blend, then later, you will have to add some chickpea flour(aka Besan) to bind the mixture and bring it to the right consistency.
To this blend, we’ll add salt, turmeric, and sugar. Mix well until the batter has all the ingredients evenly dispersed.
Shape the dough into small balls and flatten slightly.
Add oil to a pan and fry in low heat till golden brown on both sides. The insides should be cooked through and not raw.
Test one and if they are cooked through. The raw smell of lentils should not be there in the finished fritters. Sprinkle some rock salt on the fritters fresh out of the oil. Pair with a dipping sauce, or just have it alongside a bowl of dal. It tastes great either way.
For me, these brought back a ton of childhood memories and used to be my father’s favorite thing to eat with daal.
Some expert tips for preparing Red Lentil Fritters
- The batter can be fortified with many other ingredients. You can add onions, garlic, or any other aromatic spices that you want to it.
- Masoor dal is not the only kind of lentils that you can use for this recipe. Experiment with other types of lentils and see if you like them better.
Sometimes all you need is some comfort food. For me it is some daal and masoor dal fritters. It brings back childhood memories and makes me feel very connected to the country I was born in. It is also very easy to make and low carb, gluten-free and vegan.
- 1 ½ cup Masoor Daal ( Red Lentil )
- 6 Green Chilis ( you can add or reduce )
- 1½ tsp or to taste Salt
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Oil ( Any neutral oil)
- Soak the daal for 4hrs.
- Blend it with the chilis and salt in in a high powered blender. The daal will have retained some moisture so you don’t need to add water. Note, only a high powered blender will help achieve these results. Or you can use a Seel Batta. If you need to add water to blend then later you will have to add some besan (chickpea flour to bind it)
- Add salt, Turmeric and sugar. Mix well.
- Make small balls and flatten slightly.
- Add oil in a pan and fry in low heat till golden brown on both sides. The insides should be cooked through and not raw. Test one and see.
- These are a childhood memory and used to be my father’s favorite thing to eat with daal.
Keywords: red lentil fritters dal bora