Bori (Bengali Sun dried dumplings)...while the Sun shines11:55 AM
Do you remember the story of Moses? The Egyptian prince who later became the most important prophet of Judaism. According to the Hebrew Bible God chose and sent him to Egypt to release Israelites from slavery. He led the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red sea in search of the promised land. They suffered many difficulties in this log journey but God guided them through out. During their travel in the dessert when they did not find any food God gave them 'Manna' a fine flake like substance that appeared on the ground in night with dew. It tasted like wafers made with honey and was to be collected before the sun Came up. Moses instructed them not to store Manna more than they need for each day. Some did not listen to his advice and wanted to store it, in anticipation of no food in future. But 'Leftovers of manna stored up for the following day "bred worms and stank"...
Its a beautiful narration which I love to go back and read. But today I wanted to share this piece because its a natural instinct of human being to preserve food for future. Though am not sure whether this reference holds any ground for what I say but if we look closely there are many historical evidences of preserving food. Drying and storing seasonal items is a very important part of that. With technology providing us comfort and spoiling us for choices it migght not be that important to preserve food now a days but think of times some 100 years or more back. This had been very very useful for times when people could not go out.
This Bori or sundried lentil drops or dumpling is something very useful for your pantry, especially for those days when you run out of fresh ingredients and need to pull up a meal. Or to bring in texture in dishes that turns into a mush when cooked. Or just to add one more dish to a special meal being served to some special someone...if nothing else, deep fried boris are really nice when served with a sprinkle of chili pepper and lime juice with piping hot tea. Am sure you can think of more options once you see how easy this is to make.
Yes the procedure is very very easy and contrary to the usual mindset it hardly takes any time unless you want to cover your whole buildings open space with trays of these. The only pre requisite would be Sun shine. Not any sun shine but soft and mellow sun rays that will babysit these dumplings and slowly dry them out over a course of a couple of days. You put them under harsh sun and will end up with hard or cracked dumplings. Best time to make them in India is winter. Well now you might wonder why am I posting them now, that too in the middle of monsoons. Mainly for my friends in the west, who gets plenty of sunshine only during Summer.
I belong to a family that greatly believe in keeping their tradition intact and still my mother, aunts and I indulge our family with these homemade luxuries. It not only is immensely gratifying ot make something on your own but is also makes you in charge of what you are feeding your kids. Unlike the store bought ones here at least you know whats inside. So yes I make my own bori and not only these tiny tear drop shaped ones, I take great pride in saying that I make my own Noksha bori (Lentis paste designs) too.
The recipe could be made out of both musur (red lentil) and Mug (Mung bean) dal. In both the cases use skinned dal.
Masoor dal (red lentil): 2 cups
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Oil to grease the trays
Wash Masoor dal by changing the water 4-5 times or till the water runs clear. Soak the dal for 5-6 hours or over night during winter months.
Once the dal is soaked drain the water and grind it either using a mortar and pestle or your mixer grinder. If using a miser grinder be sure not to use much water. First pour the drained lentils in your jar and whizz it. Open the lid and scrape the sides and whizz again. If needed add 1 tsp water at a time. Not in any case make a loose paste. The paste should be thick and when dropped should fall in big clusters, not in a steady stream or so.
Now comes the difficult part but if you have a hand mixer it would be very very easy. Add the salt and nigella seeds. Rub the nigella seeds between your palms to release the aroma and add and then start whipping it. Whip whip whip either with your hand or with a metal whisk or hand mixer. The batter should be light and airy. If you are whipping with a whisk or just using your hand to incorporate air then be ready to do it for at least 10 minutes.
Grease flat metal trays or plan plates with little oil. Any oil will do, this is just to ensure that the dried drops are not stuck to the plates. so go easy on oil.
Now take little bit of batter in your hand and using your fingers try to drop little drops with a small peak peeking up. The shape is almost like Harshey's kisses. So just keep doing that, drop and pull your hand up to make the shape. Or just use a zip lock bag, fill it and cut one corner to pipe small drops. You can also use a piping bag with a round nozzle if you want to make it looks fancy...well our ancestors never did it but there's no harm in doing so. Right.
While shaping make sure to drop them little apart as they slightly flattens as they dry. Once done place them under direct sunlight. You might like to check the weather forecast before even you think of soaking your lentils. Dry them for the whole day and take them inside in the evening. Check if they have dried or put them out again the next day. Once dried they should come off very easily leaving behind of beautiful round mark on the plate and stays for a few days even after washing. I used to love those marks and made sure that Maa serves my meal on those plates only.
Store them in dry clean air tight containers. They keep well for a year or two if stored in a cool dry place.
For mung bean please follow the same procedure.