The covid situation here has come a full circle. We are back to where we started, a year back. Actually its way more worse than we could have imagined. The exponential rise in positive cases is alarming and to say that it is scary would be an understatement. The lockdown in Maharashtra was put in place from the night of 14th April for fifteen days. Everything is a replay of what we went through a year back. Thankfully this year I am at my own house during the lock down unlike last year, when I got stuck in Delhi.
Since I relieved my domestic helper two weeks before the lockdown, it has been a bit tough managing all the chores by myself. Clubbed with that, the heat is making me contemplate if I should take a break from blogging for a while (although I really want to keep sharing new posts).
The kitchen seems like a furnace. Sapped of energy, even shooting pictures for each and every post seems so taxing these days. And it is pretty evident from this post. I really hurried through the whole photo shoot (not much thought went into the styling or in choosing the backdrop) and I am not at all satisfied with the end result but this is all that I had energy for.
Lentil fritters sitting in chilled yogurt are one way to beat the heat. Hara Bhara Bhalla is a healthier version of Dahi Bhalle. It comprises a comforting bowl of softened mung bean fritters (rather than ivory lentils fritters) sitting in a bowl of chilled yogurt, drizzled with the quintessential green and tamarind chutney, sprinkled with the earthy cumin power and tangy chaat masala…BLISS! I had, in fact, wanted to share this post for Holi but I could not fit it into my planner.
½ C Sabut Moong Dal (Green Mung Beans)
½ C packed fresh Coriander
3 – 4 Green Chillies (adjust amount according to taste)
½ tsp grated Ginger
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Coriander Powder
Oil for deep frying
1 tsp Salt (for soaking)
¼ tsp Hing / Asafoetida (for soaking)
3 to 4 Cups chilled Yogurt
Salt to taste (I use ¼ tsp of kala namak/ black salt)
1 tsp Chaat Masala
1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
½ tsp Red Chili Powder
½ tsp Dry Mint Powder
You will need extra spices to sprinkle on top of the chaat
¼ C Pomegranate Arils
3 tbsp Boondi (Chickpea Fritters), optional
¼ C finely chopped fresh Coriander
Wash the mung beans two to three times and soak, overnight, in plenty of water. Discard water and transfer the moong dal to a grinder. Add fresh coriander, green chilies and ginger.
Grind the contents using minimum amount of water. I used only two tablespoon of water (More the soaking time of mung beans, the lesser you will need to add the water) Remove the contents in a bowl and add salt, garam masala and coriander powder. Ensure that the batter is not too thick or thin, else the fritters won’t turn out soft and spongy.
Whisk the contents for ten to fifteen minutes, ensuring that you whisk in a single direction so as to incorporate maximum air in the batter, thereby making it lighter and fluffy in consistency.
Place a frying pan or karahi over stove and add oil. Keep the oil at medium heat. Once the oil is ready, start adding tablespoons full of the batter into the oil. The batter will rise and float on the oil. Dredge the top of the fritters with oil. Do not over-crowd the pan. Flip the fritters and cook the other side as well. Fry till the fritters turn golden brown in colour and are cooked through. Remove on an absorbent sheet. Finish the whole batch of the batter in this manner.
For soaking the fritters, heat approximately one and a half to two litres of water in a saucepan or wide pot and add a teaspoon of salt along with asafoetida. Stir well and switch off the heat. Add the fritters to the hot water and allow them to sit in the water till they soak the water and soften. Gently squeeze some water from the fritters and remove them in a bowl (Do not squeeze hard. You need to leave some water in the fritters)
Whisk yogurt in a mixing bowl and add all spices and salt. Keep aside.
To serve, add fritters in the serving bowl or individual bowls (it is best to serve individual portions) and press them slightly to break them (breaking is optional but I always do that coz it helps the yogurt reach inside and makes the fritters melt in the mouth). Pour yogurt over the fritters and drizzle green chutney and tamarind chutney. Sprinkle some extra chaat masala, cumin powder and red chili powder. Finish off by adding some pomegranate arils, boondi and garnish with coriander. Dig in!
Yield – 20 Fritters
(Please check Notes at the end of the post, below the picture)
Note – Test your batter by putting one fourth teaspoon of it in water. If it floats, it is ready for frying. OR you can make one or two fritters and see how they turn out. So, if the batter is not light and the fritters are not turning out spongy, use half a teaspoon of fruit salt (Eno). Add it to the batter and top it with half a teaspoon of water. The fruit salt will immediately turn frothy. Gently mix it into the batter and then proceed to make fritters.
Note – The soaking time will depend on how soft and spongy your fritters have turned out to be. It can take anytime, from forty five minutes to three hours. You may have to reheat the water if the fritters haven’t yet turned soft and require more soaking time. Therefore, whisking the batter is an important step that helps the batter turn airy and the fritters turn out soft and spongy.
Note – You can serve the fritters on their own, with chutney, or serve them as a chaat, just as I did here.
Thank you so much for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!