When Janmashtami or the annual celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna is in full swing, these fried mini Taler Boras make their entry… sweet – bitter – crunchy entry!
My attempt at another futile translation… Taler Bora. Palm Fruit Nuggets? The last time when I translated Phulko Luchi to Bengali puffed-up flour flatbread, I was sure that some of Luchi’s crispiness and fluffiness got lost in translation. So this time, can I simply say how I love these fried balls of deliciousness? Or how they might just become extinct, washed away by the more popular fritters and branded nuggets? Or shall I add to the already existing confusion – how will you categorise Taler Bora… under snack or sweet?
All I know for now, these are fried mini balls filled with love. Love from grandmothers and mothers belonging to the previous generation. Probably not my Ma though, who’s got other kind of cooking skills to her credit! During the monsoons around Bhadra maash (the Bengali month of Bhadra coincides with mid August onwards), when Janmashtami or the annual celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna is in full swing, these fried mini Taler Boras make their entry… sweet – bitter – crunchy – delicious – entry. We resort to Purnimadi, the wonderful lady who’s been cooking and looking after my parents for more than fifteen years. Purnimadi prepares Taler Bora, Taler Shaash and many other edible knick knacks that are typically associated with Janmashtami. She prepares all of these at her home and shares them affectionately with us.
Every year around July and August, we are in Kolkata. An indulgence that I have been referring to as my summer hibernation. The Z-Sisters and I stay on for a longer period, while the Bearded Biker is headed back to Dubai to join back work. The 10ft x 6ft balcony in my parents’ house overlook a lot of greenery that fools one into believing that there can be no cacophony on the road below the lush green foliage cover. One couldn’t be more fooled. All day long, the chayer dokan or the roadside tea stall across the road, are frequented by the locals, mainly parar chokras or the young men from the neighbourhood. Their day jobs seem to be just hanging around the tea stall and drink tea, accompanied by tea biscuits and rusks, which are very typical of these roadside tea stalls. It seems to me sometimes, that these never ending tea-refills must be coming for free!
For both my patents, the balcony has almost the window to the world. I may be sounding over-dramatic but believe me, it really has become so. In the mornings, my Baba, a retired bureaucrat, enters the world of somebody else’s reality, by flipping through the pages of the several newspapers that he’s subscribed to. This is my Baba’s version of scrolling through his social media feed while a nondescript radio tuned into the local FM channel unceremoniously cuts into the birds chirping in the nearby Kadam tree (wiki describes it as Leichhardt pine, and coincidentally Lord Krishna’s favourite tree!). The branches of the Kadam tree seem to forcefully barge into the balcony, which is where we all converge during our tea times… and the candid photo shoots of Bengali food cooked at Ma’s kitchen.
An early morning walking tour with Calcutta Walks last year at this time, along with my photographer buddy
My annual summer hibernations in Kolkata are powered by addas – hanging out with family and friends. They are stirred by a whirlwind of emotions… kaleidoscopic journeys through Kolkata’s alleys and a whole lot of food stimulation. I am curious to know… are you at this hour, living in the city where you have grown up in? Or are you making a home in a different city altogether… far away from home? Wherever you are… keep safe and stay happy.
Don’t ever give up on any festive spirit or traditional recipes that connect you to your roots, no matter how hard it can be at times and how hard times are!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
I would love you to see Kolkata through my eyes. Here's a rewind on some of my favourite Kolkata memories: Introducing Kolkata's street food in BBC Travel Show at Dacker's Lane; immersing myself in a surreal Ramadan Walk with Calcutta Walks; indulging myself in the colonial hangover at Flurys; diving into ice creams at my childhood ice cream parlour by the Ganges - Scoop; there's Dilipda's Phuchka, which is 'world famous in Kolkata' and last but not the least... hoping that unique bazars like Tiretti Bazar continue to thrive, where you can still find the last remnants of Chinese culture... but maybe not for long.
Taler Bora or Palm Fruit NuggetsCategory=snack/dessert; Cuisine=Bengali
Ingredients1 ripe tal/palm fruit with 3 medium size kernels4 bananas1 cup suji/semolina1 ½ cup maida/flour1 cup sugar½ cup grated coconutwhite oil for deep frying or ghee (if you are generous!)
- Scrape off the skin of the palm fruit and squeeze out the fibrous pulp from inside. Use a sieve so that the pulp is smooth
- Squeeze the kernels in water before throwing them off, so that all the juice isn’t wasted
- Add the semolina, flour, sugar, grated coconut into the pulpy juice and mix them thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Add mashed bananas and mix them into the smooth batter
- Heat oil in a deep bottomed frying pan. Or ghee (oh yes, generously if you using ghee!)
- Make small balls (1 inch in diameter) and drop them slowly in the hot oil and fry them till they are crispy and golden brown.*
*Where will you get Palm fruit in Dubai? A few Indian/Asian stores like Lulu Supermarket, Adil and in the Fruits and Vegetable market in Deira or Backet in Sharjah. A few of the Spinneys outlets hold Market Days on Mondays and stock many Srilankan vegetables. My guess is, you might get palm fruits there as they are also used widely in Srilankan cuisine.
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