Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Snackie That Almost Wasn't

So my darling friend R has an amazing recipe for Daal er Bora or what she calls Lentil Puffs. The recipe looks fairly simple: soak lentils, mush lentils with onion, chili and seasoning, shape into balls, and fry. Sounds amazing, eh?

So I soak the lentils for 30 mins at first, as I'm on a schedule.

Prior to draining the lentils, I chop a couple of small red onions.

However, when R recommends the food processor (which I don't have), I figure I'll just mush it by hand. A fork, a wooden spoon, and a potato masher later, I figure I'll toss it in my mortar. This is even more of a pain in the ass, although it slowly does the trick.

I throw my hands up, and decide to nap instead of snack before work.

Before heading to work however, I throw the lentils and onion back into water (I know, I'm not supposed to soak the onions, but they were mixed by this point). Coming back from work, I try to mash again -- to no avail.

Fully frustrated by now, I decide to cook the damn lentils, and make the paste from fully cooked and mashed lentils. I cook the lentils with a smidge of water (as I don't want it thinned out at all!), stirring constantly.

After about 30 mins, I turn the heat off, and add some spices (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and paprika), and let it cool and solidify.

When the lentils cooled, I heated some oil, and put the lentils in by teaspoonful. However, this also failed, as the lentils merely became oil colored brown by the addition of lentils.

As I am determined to eat this snack by the gods, I added a copious amount of potato starch, and put by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet which was popped in the freezer.

I also took this opportunity to have a tea break.

When cleaning up the mess on the stove, please feel free to spill half of the oil mixture ON the stove, making a larger mess to clean.

Stove cleaned, I heated more oil and removed the fully frozen lentil balls from the freezer. Hesitant, I dropped one into the oil.

It fried, it fried, and it kept its shape! Victory! I happily fried the rest of them.

Verdict: WAY less potato starch. As Mister pointed out: starch thickens when cooked. These had so much starch that you could taste it. Not fun. But, still fried and fairly tasty.


  1. This is absolutely, hands-down, *totally* the funniest thing I've read all week, counting from last Sunday. You poor food-processor-less darling. Get a small one? I'm all for going green, but the only true alternative to a food processor (for Indian recipes anyway) is what Bengalis call a sheel-nora. I can't find a single picture online, so I think I'll have to take a picture and upload, for the good of eco-friendly men and women everywhere ;-)

    For now, it's a flat piece of stone (sheel) with a roughened top, and a cylindrical pestle, also roughened (nora). You lay the lentils on the flat surface and roll the nora rhythmically back and forth till you get a lovely grainy paste.

  2. I thought it was something like that. I was thinking of theoretically how to process it, and something flat and rolling was what I came up with. :-\