Piyaju, a classic Bengali snack, is a symphony of flavors and textures, perfect for accompanying a relaxing evening tea. This delightful treat begins with the earthy base of dal split lentils, soaked to tender perfection and coarsely blended to retain a rustic texture. The lentils are then lovingly combined with thinly sliced onions, creating a sweet and savory fusion.
The heat in Piyaju is skillfully balanced - green chilies offer a fresh, bright heat, while a touch of red chili powder adds depth. Garlic and ginger pastes meld into the mix, infusing the fritters with their aromatic magic. The fresh coriander, with its citrusy undertones, weaves through the batter, leaving hints of green freshness in every bite.
As the batter takes shape with the addition of gram flour, it transforms into a malleable mixture, ready to be shaped into inviting patties. These patties are then fried to perfection, achieving a golden, crispy exterior that yields to a soft, flavorful interior. The key to their irresistible texture lies in patient frying; a slow dance in hot oil until they reach the pinnacle of crispiness.
¾ cup of dal split lentils
1 large onion (about 200g), thinly sliced
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
3 green chilies, finely chopped
1¼ tsp garlic paste
1¼ tsp ginger paste
1 tsp red chili powder
3½ tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
3 tbsp gram flour (besan)
Preparation of Lentils:
Soak the dal split lentils in water for at least 4 hours.
After soaking, drain the water completely.
Blend the lentils coarsely using a food processor or blender.
Making the Batter:
In a large bowl, combine the coarsely blended lentils and thinly sliced onions.
Add salt, finely chopped green chilies, garlic paste, ginger paste, and red chili powder.
Mix in the chopped coriander.
Once the mixture is well combined, fold in the gram flour (besan) to form a consistent batter.
Frying the Piyaju:
Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, take a small portion of the batter and shape it into a patty.
Gently place the patty in the hot oil.
Reduce the heat to medium and fry the patties.
Fry until they turn crispy and attain a golden brown color. This might take some time, so be patient. The longer they fry, the crispier they will become.
Once cooked, carefully remove the Piyaju from the oil and drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
Serve the crispy Piyaju hot, ideally with a cup of evening tea.
This recipe embraces the traditional flavors of Bengali cuisine and is perfect for a savory snack. The crispy texture and rich flavors are sure to be a hit! Enjoy your cooking and the delightful taste of your Piyaju!