My entry for RCI Bengal hosted by Sandeepa
I know next to nothing about Bengali food, the cooking that is :). The eating, well now that is a long list, from mishti doi and sandesh to the egg cutlet and puchkas of Chittaranjan park in delhi. This stomach has seen them all. I first tried a Bengali Recipe for Brinjal from Ajanta, but it had a strong, pungent mustardy flavor that caught me by surprise.
This time around, I had just finished Chitrita Banerjis book, Eating India. Although I was not impressed by the whole of the book, parts were lyrical and insightful. She had a delightful description of Boris, little pellets of urad dal that are some times added to vegetable dishes, also called saak in Bengal. She goes on to describe that many villages in Bengal and Bangladesh specialize in producing the lightest of Boris. They are similiar to Punjabi Wadis, in a very broad sense.
I wanted to try these delighful protein packed dumplings, so I decided to make them for RCI Bengal hosted by Sandeepa. Now, I did find a recipe for Boris here but no real information on how to make them.
THE WADI ER.. BORI STORY
My first attempt at making Boris was an entire and complete FLOP. Exhibit A on the right hand side of the above picture. Flat, disk shaped and no airy goodness. Gloom Doom. Too much water in the dough.
In my second attempt, I was careful to not add any water during grinding the urad dal and Eureka! Success was mine. Note the successful conical bori on the left with the huge airpocket.
The final recipe is deceptively simple.
1/2 cup of Urad dal
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Ginger powder
1/2 Aniseed powder
1/2 tsp Asofoetida powder
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp baking soda
Soak the urad dal for an hour. Drain completely. Grind finely with the other seasonings and leavening, adding a maximum of 1 tbsp of water. Put in a zip lock bag.
Meanwhile, take a baking sheet and line with aluminium foil. Spray with pam or similiar non stick oil spray. Cut the zip lock bag. Squeeze out hershey kisses shaped piece of bori. Bake at 200 F for about two hours making sure to turn the Boris at the 1 hour mark. Think meringue and you will instinctively do it right.
Saak Er Ghanto Recipe from Hare Krsna here
I then made a saak or sabji with the boris according to the recipe from the Hare Krsna site. Keeping in mind my earlier brush with the Bengali love of mustard, I decided to tone it down this time. I skipped the mustard powder the recipe calls for, although I did use a combination of mustard oil and canola instead of the ghee. Also I made the panchphoran using 1/2 tsp. of each of the spices. Seemed quite right for the amount of vegetables specified in the recipe.
The verdict: The pumpkin was utterly delightful and next time im going to up it to 2 cups. The overall flavor of the saak was very different and very delicious. And what of the sweat of my brow Boris? Well- They were deep fried for this recipe. Once they soak up the juices of the vegetable, they offer some textural contrast. But next time I will try them without deep frying them.
It was real fun participating in this RCI Bengal, because I learned something about Bengal. Perhaps I should call this post, Eating Bengal? :)