Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Bori, Dry Fermented Bengali Lentil Dumplings
Another wonderful culinary contribution from West Bengal and Bangladesh are biuli daler bori, delicious, tangy, fermented lentil dumplings. Traditionally, bori are sun-dried which preserves them for about a year. Classically made with creamy, white urad dal (skinned matpe beans, aka black gram), bori variations use masoor, moong, and matar dals. Versions abound: Some bori are made with urad dal alone, some add grated winter melon. Some are flavored with asafoetida (hing), seeds, and seasonings, but bori are also enjoyable with no additions at all.
Tossed in curries and enjoyed as a snack, bori are phenomenal because they are nutrient-dense, low in fat, a great source of protein, and a healthy probiotic food. Light and crispy with a little tang, bori make phenomenal croûtons for salads and soups.
To preserve bori as a live probiotic food, bake them in the sun if your climate is sufficiently hot and dry, or in a humidifier at 108°F or 100°F oven for about 4 days. If you can’t wait, however, bake them at 150°F for about 6 hours with the understanding, however, that the higher heat will destroy the wild probiotic microbes and darken the color of the bori.
Hint: Urad dal paste is best made using a wet grinder, a common appliance in India but less so in the West. If you don’t have one, use a high-speed blender, followed by a hand-held or stand mixer to aerate the mixture.
Prep time Overnight soak + 30 minutes to grind + about 5 hours to ferment + about 4 days to sundry or about 6 hours to bake
Makes about 100 1-inch bori
1 cup urad dal, rinsed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground asafoetida (hing) (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons water only to facilitate blending/grinding
1 to 2 teaspoons shiro (mild, white) miso paste (optional)
3/4 teaspoon panch phoron spice blend, or individual seeds (optional)
Wash the urad dal well and soak in plenty of water overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. Drain, reserving the soaking water. Blend in a high-speed blender on high, adding a minimal amount of the soaking liquid as required to create a smooth, soft, fairly dense paste.
Transfer to a bowl and use a mixer to aerate the dal paste for about 15 to 20 minutes. The bori paste should be very smooth and hold a soft peak. You know the bori paste is ready when a spoonful can float in a bowl of water. If you opt to use any seasonings, mix them in now.
Set aside for 5-6 hours to ferment and rise. The amount of rise you will see will depend on how smooth, fermented, and aerated your paste is. The mix is ready when it has risen, is airier, and lightly tangy in taste.
Transfer the bori paste to a pastry piping bag with a large round tip. Use silicon sheets for a dehydrator or line rimless baking sheets with wax or parchment paper for oven baking. Pipe 1 to 1 ½ inch wide bori dumplings. Dehydrate at 108°F or bake at 100°F for 3 to 5 days, depending on the ambient humidity. When they are almost ready, turn them over to dry their bottoms and interiors completely. Alternatively, bake in a 150°F oven for 5 to 7 hours.
The bori are ready when they have thoroughly dried, inside and out, and break with a snap into crispy halves. Store in an airtight container, protected from humidity, for about a year. (They’re so tasty, you’ll be lucky if they last a week.)
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