“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
How beautifully written by the legend William Shakespeare and so practically too. No I’m not stepping into poetry; I’m much more comfortable in my own ‘techie turns food blogger’ zone. This famous quote was wandering in my mind when yesterday I was detangling a bunch of coriander leaves. Naïve! I know! The reason behind this is the different regional names (again, the name). These beautiful tiny leaves are known as coriander or in USA, UK & Europe; as cilantro in North America; as Chinese parsley in south east Asian countries and in India and in other central Asian countries it is known as dhania; and in west Bengal the same leaf is known as Dhonepata. Isn’t it amazing! It becomes more interesting when it turns into Dhone Patar Bora aka Hara Dhania Bhajis which is also known as Coriander leaves fritters or Cilantro Fritters.
This coriander leaves are extremely popular in different countries for its bold punchy flavor. It is widely used in different cuisines like Indian, Mexican, Malaysian, Chinese, Thai, Mediterranean, Moroccan cuisine. Coriander leaves along with their small green tiny stems are mostly used as raw in salads or freshly prepared food after cooking to add the freshness to the dish and they are added just right before serving to ensure the freshness. Sometimes it is used in Coriander Chutneys and relishes too. Even I had experimented by making Cilantro Pesto with Chili Lime and Spicy Green Mole Sauce out of and they were finger licking good!
As you already know that we Bengalis love to dunk almost everything in hot oil and turn it into a lip smacking snack. Though we have such a huge usage of coriander in our daily meals, we can’t keep our hands off from frying. You will be amazed to see oops, taste how a small bunch of coriander can do with red onion & touch of green chili. I actually have grown up with it; it was part of the staple food in my mother’s home. Right now we are experiencing roller coaster ride of weather; we are seeing sunshine-cloud-thunder-lightening-little rain-and-back to the sunshine in a single day only! And such mood swing of weather can be fixed only over an excellent snack with few cups of hot tea. So I played my last card yesterday by placing a plateful of Dhone patar Bora or Coriander leave fritters and enjoyed the evening with my Indian Masala tea.
Here you go with my step by recipe of Dhone Patar Bora aka Hara Dhania Bhajis (for my Indian readers) or Coriander leaves fritters or Cilantro Fritters (for my international readers).
Preparation Time: 05 mins
Cooking/Active Time: 15 mins
Resting/Inactive time: 00 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 4 servings (16 to 18 fritters)
Read the entire recipe and tips carefully before you start cooking.
Do make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (unless mentioned) and weighted or measured correctly in appropriate weighing machine or measuring instruments such as cups or spoons. Remember these are not your regular cups or spoons which you use in your daily life.
Fresh Coriander leaves, chopped: 2 cups (See Tips)
Red onion, chopped: ¼ cup (See Tips)
Fresh green chili, chopped: 2-3 tbsp, optional (See Tips)
Rice flour: 2 tbsp (See Tips)
Salt: ½ tsp or to taste
Oil: ¼ cup (I use canola oil or rice bran oil for this recipe)
Tomato ketchup or Chili Salsa Dip
A hot cup of coffee/tea (or whatever you feel like)
Nonstick frying pan
Large glass bowl
Paper towels (actually, loads of it)
First, chop the veggies finely.
Next, prepare the mixture.
Take a large clean and dry glass bowls. Toss all the veggies in it. Sprinkle rice flour with salt and start coating the veggies in flour with help of spatula. In the beginning it will be bit touch but gradually the mixture will become sticky and will form big dough. Leaves contain some water so any excess water won’t be necessary. (See Tips)
Now, make patties.
Take out small portions (say, 1 tbsp) of the dough and form little patties or cakes with help of your palms. Line them up in a tray while working with rest of the dough. (See Tips)
Lastly, fry the fritters.
Heat oil in the pan over medium flame and when the oil is hot turns down the flame to medium low. Add the raw patties in the hot oil and cook over medium low flame for 4-5 mins. Flip once and continue cooking for another 3-4 mins.(See Tips)
Remove the fritters with a tong and line them up on paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
Once done, serve these hot Coriander leaves fritters aka Cilantro fritters with ketchup. I adore my beloved Dhone Patar Bora aka Hara Dhania Bhaji with spicy Indian Masala Tea on any kind of evening. These Cilantro fritters taste best when served hot, right after frying.
If you are preparing large batch for big group of people, I’ll suggest you to make the patties before and refrigerate (refrigerate; not freeze) them. Once you are ready to eat, just remove them from refrigerator (again, not freezer) and fry immediately just right before serving and enjoy your Coriander leaves fritters or Cilantro Fritters. (See Tips)
1. Some people use garam masala powder to the batter, but I feel that way coriander leaves lose their own punch.
2. Use ½ tsp of coriander powder and ½ tsp of cumin powder to the batter. But again I avoid so for the above mentioned reason.
3. Sprinkle some red chili powder to make hotter.
4. Use ½ tsp of lime juice in the batter to add citrus touch.
5. Add any other finely chopped veggies which cook easily or require no cooking at all (like olives, jalapenos).
6. Use mustard oil for frying.
7. Substitute the rice flour with all-purpose flour aka maidaor whole wheat flour aka atta or Bengal gram flour aka besan. Or you can do mmix-n-match too. Bengal gram flour or besanturns the fritters fluffy while all-purpose flour aka maida turns the fritters crispier.
1. Don’t discard the tiny green stems while selecting coriander leaves; in fact these stems add more flavors to the dish.
2. Red onion has stronger taste and flavor than other onion; if you are not lover of that bold taste, free feel to use yellow or white onion.
3. If you not a heat lover, skip green chili
4. Rice flour is used to keep the dough together. I prefer this over regular flour because its gluten free. You can use all-purpose flour or even Bengal gram flour which is also known as besan.
5. If you find your dough is bit dry, Sprinkle some water to achieve the stickiness and if you find your dough as too sticky to handle, sprinkle some rice flour and mix again.
6. There is no need to cover the dough patties as the air will absorb the excess moisture from the patties which will make them crispier even.
7. The total cooking process will take 10-12 mins max; don’t be impatient. The key of making crispier crust on the outside and keeping soft chewy inside of a fritter is keeping the flame low and turning the fritters once or twice. A second of distraction can turn your delicious fritters into nasty burnt cakes. So keep your eyes on it while frying.
8. The raw patties will lose the moisture from outer skin while in the refrigerator which will result crispier and better fritters.
Eat, Love & Enjoy! Repeat!!!