Bengali Dal Pakoras

Yesterday’s live cookery class was a lot of fun. We headed over to the East of India and cooked up delicious Bengali style lentil pakoras.

Lentil pakoras are made all over India in a variety of ways. The types of lentil, spices and texture profiles are tweaked from region to region and they’re all absolutely delicious.

I made a couple of tweaks to the classic Bengali “Daler Bora” (sorry Bengalis – it’s the North Indian in me!) and hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are deep frying for the first time, have a look back at the live class as I broke down how to fry without fear! I also shared plenty of tips on how to ensure your pakoras are perfectly cooked on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

Do let me know how you get on with making these and how they turn out for you. Dipped into your favourite chutney or dipping sauce, they’re a hit with children and oldies alike!

Also, I am working on something *incredibly exciting*. I can’t say anything yet, however if you’re a spice lover and like the idea of mastering Indian cuisine you WILL want to sign up to my new exclusive mailing list. That way, you’ll be the first to know when I do make the grand reveal!

In the mean time, happy cooking! The next live is on 10th July! x

Bengali Lentil Pakoras

Servings 20 pakoras (approx)

Equipment

  • small wok or wide sauce pan
  • slotted spoon
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup approx 165g masoor/split red lentils washed 3-4 times & soaked for 2 hours in water
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 large clove garlic grated
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar (you can also use coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp amchur mango powder optional
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes according to taste
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oils work well

Instructions
 

  • Soak the lentils in water for a couple of hours. Then rinse well and drain.
  • Measure 1/4 cup or 40-50mls of water and keep aside. Add the lentils to a blender along with half the amount of the water. Blend together. Then scrape down the sides of the blender jug and a little more water and blend again .You may need to repeat this once again.
  • Aim for the dal paste to be the consistency of a thick hummus. It can be a little grainy but should hold its form.You may need to adjust the water amount to achieve this so judge accordingly.
  • Heat oil in your pan (small wok work best) on low/medium heat.
  • Using a spatula, remove the lentil paste from the processor and add to a mixing bowl. Then add the ginger, chilli, salt, dry spices, fresh coriander and using your hand mix well. Finally, add the onions and mix again.
  • When the oil is hot, place 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil. The pakora should come up to the top of the oil. Carefully shape and add more pakoras to the oil. Cook in small batched being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Use your slotted spoon to gently turn them over every 10 seconds or so. When you see them turn light golden in colour, increase your heat setting to high and cook until fully golden. (It should take about 5 minutes in total).
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Allow the oil to drain off the pakoras fully. Then place on kitchen paper. Lower the heat and allow the oil to cool sightly before you do the next batch. Repeat and enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!

Notes

Tip!
When making the dal paste, if you do find you have added too much water in error and it is too wet, you can add a little gram flour and a pinch of salt to help thicken. You should be able to spoon the mixture into a roundel.
 
 

Channa Dal Keema Mattar

Keema Mattar is one of my favourites. This recipe is cooked with channa dal (optional) which add delicious nuttiness and a lovely bite. I love to mop it up with hot buttery chapatis and sometimes with a fried egg on the side when I feel like I need an extra hug in the stomach department!

When I fancy something lighter I sometimes make keema lettuce wraps and sometime swap out the lamb for quorn (which also works a treat!).

There was no live cookery class this week but I shall be back next Friday, 15th May cooking up another delicious storm on my Facebook page so I hope to see you then. Until then, enjoy the below recipe!

Keema Mattar with Channa Dal

monicasawhney
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6-7 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2 green cardamoms coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2" β€œ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion (150g) cut into small rough chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 tsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 birds eye green chillies sliced vertically in half
  • 400g lamb/mutton/quorn mince
  • 5 tbsp peas defrosted
  • 2 small potatoes cooked, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 150 g channa dal lentils soaked & boiled with salt for 45 minutes or until tender** – optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Large handful coriander
  • Juice of ΒΌ lime optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic, together in a food processor until coarsely ground together. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, crushed cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to the pan.
  • Now add the ground paste to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Once you see the paste has turned golden in colour add 3-4 tbsp water and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes on a low/medium heat. If it ever catches, add a splash of water or a little more oil.
  • Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook for a minute and then add the pasata and tomato puree as well as the chillies. When you see the oil separate from the masala, add the lamb/mutton/quorn mince and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you see the colour change. Then add the peas, potato, channa dal as well as the remaining spices and sugar. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water then place a lid on top and cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  • Finish with the coriander as well as the lime juice. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.

Notes

*I cooked the dal exactly as I did for the lentils in my tadka recipe which can be found here. You can soak the channa lentils for 3-4 hours for warm water to help soften but it’s not essential. 

Bombay Masala Sandwich

I decided to transport my students to the roadsides of Mumbai for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery class“. There are so many mouth watering Indian street food dishes and it’s hard to pick a favourite but this definitely ranks in the “top 10” shortlist.

Crunchy, spicy, cheesy, crispy – it’s got it all! It’s also a sandwich that yields 3 recipes in one.

1) The coriander & chilli chutney – this makes for a delicious dipping sauce with any of your favourite snacks.

2) The spicy poatato filling – you can use this as a stuffing for samosas, puff pastry snacks, parathas – whatever your heart desires!

3) Obviously when you put everything together, you get the Bombay sandwich in all it’s glory!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. I will not be hosting a live class next Friday, but worry not, I will be back on Friday 15th May at 4pm. Until then, if you have any dish suggestions for the next live class, let me know. Also stay connected on my  Instagram or Facebook pages!

Bombay Masala Sandwich

Servings 2 sandwiches

Equipment

  • A blender such as a nutribullet or blend tech to make a smooth chutney
  • 2 x Frying pans, ideally non stick (or 1 x non stick crepe pan & 1 frying pan)

Ingredients
  

For the coriander chutney:

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander 40g or so
  • 20 mint leaves optional
  • 4 chillies or to taste
  • 1 apple granny smith is ideal
  • 1 small onion peeled
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 1/4 tsp Salt or according to taste
  • 4 tbsp desicated coconut optional
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) plus 2tbsp Water

For the sandwich:

  • 4 slices white bread you can also use brown
  • Butter left out at room temp so spreadable
  • 100 g cheese grated (I like to use a mix of cheddar & mozzarella)
  • 1 red onion cut into thinly sliced rounds
  • 1 tomato cut into thinly sliced rounds (optional)
  • Chaat Masala optional

For the spicy potatoes:

  • 400 g potatoes, cooked, peeled & mashed with a fork (You can boil. I cook mine in the microwave . To do this wash potatoes and place in a small clean plastic bag. Tie up and pierce a hole in it then cook on high for 8-10 minutes or until cooked).
  • Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Fresh coriander roughly choped
  • 1 clove garlic optional
  • 1 cm ginger grated (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli powder or flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Mango Powder (amchur) or 1/2 tsp Lime

Instructions
 

  • To make the chutney, add all of the “chutney ingredients” to a blender and blitz into a smooth sauce. Empty into a bowl and keep aside.
  • Now mash the potatoes and spread them on a plate. Sprinkle over the salt, turmeric, chilli powder & mango powder and mix well. Now heat 2tbsp of oil in a non stick pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they sizzle and pop, add the coriander, ginger & garlic. Mix and cook for a a minute, then add the potatoes. Cook on a low heat for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
  • To assemble the sandwich, butter one side of both slices of bread. Flip over. Now spread the mint chutney on the other side of both pieces.
  • Spread the spiced potato mixture on one slice (chutney side up). Add half the amount of cheese and a sprinkle of chaat masala all over. Now top with onion slices, tomato slices, the remaining cheese and another sprinkle of chaat masala.
  • Place the second piece of bread on top (butter side up). Heat a frying pan greased with a little oil/butter. Once hot, place the sandwich onto the pan and fry on a low heat for 4 minutes. You can add a weight on top (like another frying pan) to help cook and crisp. Flip and repeat on the other side for a further 4 minutes until golden and crispy all over. Enjoy!