Lentil fritters in tomato sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

This recipe comes from Assam, the land of rich natural resources and world-renowned tea. You can make the fritters, Borar Anjar, in advance and store them in the refrigerator, then simply reheat them in the sauce when you are ready to serve them.


For the fritters

  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup red split lentils (masoor dhal)
  • 125 g/ oz/½ cup yellow split lentils (mung or moong dhal)
  • 5 ml/1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 fresh green chillies, roughly chopped (deseeded if preferred)
  • 15 g/½ oz/¼ cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves and stalks
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the sauce

  • 30 ml/2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • 6-8 fenugreek seeds
  • 2 fresh green chillies, sliced lengthways (deseeded if preferred)
  • 2 small potatoes, finely chopped or grated
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 400 g/14 oz canned chopped tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp lime juice
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • Plain Boiled Rice, to serve


  1. To make the fritters, wash the lentils and soak them together with the mung beans for 3-4 hours. Drain and put them in a food processor. Add the remaining fritter ingredients except the oil. Add 45 ml/3 tbsp water and blend the mixture until smooth.

  2. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the fritter mixture, 5 ml/1 tsp at a time and fry for 2-3 minutes, until they are golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

  3. To make the sauce, heat the oil over a medium heat until smoking. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mustard, cumin, fennel, nigella and fenugreek seeds and the green chillies.

  4. Add the potatoes to the hot oil and return the pan to the heat. Stir-fry the potatoes for about 5 minutes, until they are well browned all over.

  5. Stir in the turmeric, followed by the tomatoes and salt. Pour in 300 ml/10 fl oz/1 ¼ cups warm water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

  6. Add the fritters to the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice and coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Serve with Plain Boiled Rice.

Per portion Energy 360kcal/1,510kJ; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 51.3g, of which sugars 8.3g; Fat 12.3g, of which saturates 1.4g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 119.2mg; Fibre 5.3g; Sodium 25.8mg.