From last year and so I have been making a conscious effort to know more about the food that we consume regularly. Not only it's nutritional and food values but also the history behind it, it's origination and evolving process to the current time. For me its more about going back to my roots, to know who I am, where I belong. When I write about my family recipes I try to dig deep, to find out how it was if I stretch back in time generations after generations, what was the story behind it, where it all started and made this incredible journey till date.
I believe every one has such stories in their family that speak volume about their back ground, which has so much to do to who they are today. There is nothing better than being proud of your own background and your own tradition. That is the very reason I started blogging and still love doing it.
So as a conscious effort I look into food in a different light these days. For example take the instance of Gokul Pithe. Those soft and pillowy coconut dumplings, coated in a thick flour batter, deep fried and soaked in cardamom or nolen gur laced syrup. I love this sweet so much, make it quite often but never paid attention to its name. In my mind I always categorised it as part of Pithe, those rice-coconut-jagery based speciality sweets that Bengalis make during Sankranti. But recently when I read that this actually is a special dish prepared for Lord Krishna during his birthday (Janmashtami), it made sense. Gokul being the village of Lord Krishna it definitely could refer to such facts.
similarly rosh boura or Rosher bora is categorised as a monsoon speciality. The book said that monsoon is the time when a family is stranded at home and gets more time too cook and enjoy more elaborate dishes. Dont know if that is true but would love to know more about it.
I often make Rosh bora or rosh bouda as its completely gluten free vegan recipe. Once you know which ingredients give you the best result, making these is a breeze. Rosh bora literally means Rosh'er boura or dumplings soaked in sweet syrup and that's exactly what rosh bora is. You fry soft and pillowy dumplings out of husked black lentil (urad dal/ kolai dal) and fry it till golden and the dunk it in a thin sugar syrup. Let it soak for sometime and enjoy your rosh bora chilled or at room temperature.
Before you try please read the recipe properly and also the notes. Its easy to make but needs you to choose your ingredinets carefully for better results.
Husked whole Urad dal (black lentil): 1 cup
Fennel seeds: 1/2 tsp
pinch of salt
White oil for deep frying
For the syrup
Sugar: 11/4 cup
Date palm jaggery (nolen gur): 3/4 cup (or sugar 1/2 cup)
water: 13/4 cups
wash the Lentil under running water by changing the water 3-4 times. Rub with your hand to loosen any dirt or impurities. The water should run clear. Soak this in clean drinking water at least for 4-5 hours or till it swells up and becomes soft.
Drain the water and start grinding thsi to a smooth paste either in a mixer grinder or a mortar and pestle. DO NOT add excess water. Start grinding the dal in itself first then gradually incorporate a spoonful of water at a time. I generally use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to grind this amount of lentil. Make a very smooth paste.
Crush or pound the fennel seeds roughly and add to the batter along with the salt. Add 2 tbsp of water if you find it very tight. Now using a whisk, fork or hand mixer start beating this batter to make it light and airy. continue doiing this for 7-10 minutes and watch the batter fluff up and increase in volume.
To make the one string consistency of the syrup start boiling the Jaggery, sugar and water together. Stir to prevent the sugar to stick to the bottom. Once the sugar melts, bring it to a rapid simmer and continue boiling it for 10-12 minutes. switxh off and keep it warm.
Heat enough oil in a heavy bottom pan with high sides. test the oil by dropping a pinch of batter in it, if it sizzles immediately that means its right. Take a small spoonfull of the batter in your hand and drop in the oil. Try to make it as round and smooth as possible. they invariable end up with a small tail though, but nonetheless tastes equally good.
Keep dropping few more boras rill the surface of your pan can take no more. Let them fry and turn golden on moderately high heat. The idea is to cook them from inside to make it soft and pillowy.
Turn them once to make it golden on all sides. With a slotted spoon take them out, drain the oil well and drop in warm syrup. Let them soak this sugary goodness for a couple of hours and then serve warm, at room temperature or chilled with a spoonfull of syrup.
A homemaker's Notes:
Use whole urad dal for better result. The split lentil somehow do not result in very fluffy spongy texture.
If you are using all sugar for the syrup then flavour the syrup with 2 crushed green cardamom.
Use the soaking liquid to grind the batter, The slightly fermented water definitely makes more airy and soft fritters.
The heat of the oil is very crucial, try to maintain the same level of heat, if its more it will result in under cooked raw center and if the heat is too low the fritters will soak much oil than needed.
Do not over crowd the pan with too many fritters or they will stick to each other and will fall apart later.