Thekera tengar joolot dailor bor ( lentil fritters ina light sour curry)

by Sunita on June 9, 2008

Come summer, and what we Assamese look forward to in a meal is the tengar jool (tenga-sour; jool-light, soup like curry). This is usually made with a variety of ingredients like lemon, tomatoes, bottle gourd etc, but the best has to be the one with thekera tenga. ( no clues as to it’s English version). The thekera fruit is green at the beginning, gets deep purple when ripe and turns deeper purple or almost black when dried.

It is a souring agent. It is soaked for a while in water,and used along with the sour water.

Blog hopping, and a little research has led me to believe that it must be a very close relative of kokum , so probably it can be used too in the recipe that follows( I have neither seen or tasted kokum, except, of course, virtually).

Most of the tenga jools have fish in them. But with thekera, we also add small dalir bor/bora (pan fried lentil fritters).

Tengas are always had towards the end of a meal. So if there is a meat or other lentil dish, those would usually be had before. It is also good for upset tummies and a few pieces of thekera, soaked in water and mixed with a little salt and sugar, forms a great drink to soothe those blues. They also have a long shelf life as only a little is needed at a time.

Ma had sent a pack of thekera with Dinesh when he went to Guwahati a couple of months ago. With temperatures hardly rising, we have not been in the mood to have any tengar jool. But today is an entirely different story altogether. The sun is as bright as ever, and the temperatures have risen many fold…well, at least compared to the last few days. So, the thekera has been taken out of hiding and put to use.

What’s needed-

7-8 handfuls of split red lentils,washed and soaked in water for an hour
6-7 pieces of thekera( or maybe kokum), soaked in a glass of water for an hour
2 pinches of turmeric powder
salt to taste
Oil for frying the fritters
a pinch of sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp paaas puron
1 whole red chilli
1 and 1/2 tblsp mustard oil ( normal oil can be usd, butmustard oil gives it a better flavour)
1 tsp flour
1 small onion, finely chopped

How to-

  1. Drain the water and grind the lentils with 5-6 tblsp of water ( does not have to be too smooth)
  2. Heat the oil for frying in a pan (about 2 mm above the surface of the pan).
  3. Mix the ground lentils with a pinch of turmeric and salt.
  4. Drop tspn fuls of the mixture into the hot oil over medium heat.
  5. When the edges turn golden, turn them over and fry on the other side till both the sides are golden and crisp. Transfer them to a bowl lined with a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
  6. In another pan, heat the mustard oil and add the paas puron, whole red chili and bay leaf. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the onions and thekera pieces (which were soaked in water) and fry till the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the water in which the thekera was soaked, along with another glass of water, and simmer for a minute.
  8. Mix the flour with a little water to make a light paste and add to the pan, stirring briskly to avoid lumps.
  9. If serving immediately, add the boras/fritters to the pan ( don’t forget to save some for munching :-P ) and simmer for half a minute and remove from heat. If serving later, add the fritters later and reheat, for the fritters will absorb a lot of the liquid.
  10. Serve with rice and other side dishes.

The fritters are great..they remain crisp even when they cool down. I had used 7-8 pieces of thekera as they were quite thin slices, if thick, then lesser amount is necessary. It is always adviseable to check the tanginess of the water in which it is soaked.

And, finally, thanks to Andhra flavours (nice matters, good chat blog), happy cook (artey pico) and JZ (good chat blog) for passing on the following awards …

thanks girls…really appreciate it…and thanks to my dear readers for your constant support :-)

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan from Food Blogga June 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Gosh, I’m learning so much today on the blogosphere. Here are more intriguing ingredients that are new to me. And well done on your awards, Sunita!


2 Suganya June 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm

That bowl screams ‘comfort’(Smacking lips).


3 musical June 9, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Yummy! Thekera does look a lot like kokum! I am gonna’ try the jool with kokum. Very informative read, Sunita!


4 Mishmash ! June 10, 2008 at 2:23 am

Quite an interesting post, Sunita….until i started blogging, i knew only about kudam puli/Gamboge, and then i learnt bt Kokums and now thekera,….i feel they re all cousins :)


5 Jayashree June 10, 2008 at 6:26 am

Congrats on the awards….
That’s a bowl full of ingredients that are new to me.


6 delhibelle June 10, 2008 at 6:37 am

just lovely! this dish has a UP cousin by the name of mangochi ki sabzi, a regular in my mom’s kitchen..and I loved how nicely you explained it:)


7 Happy cook June 10, 2008 at 6:57 am

This is new to me.
The dish looks so comforting too.


8 sunita June 10, 2008 at 9:12 am

Thanks…and yes, that’s the best about blogging….we are constantly learning so much :-)

It is comforting indeed…I can lap up bowlfuls on it’s own :-P


9 sunita June 10, 2008 at 9:15 am

Do try it with kokum…from all that I have read, it definitely seems to be a very close substitute :-)

It is indeed interesting…all these ingredients, all those names, and sometimes all those similarities :-)


10 sunita June 10, 2008 at 9:17 am

thanks…well, now you can add another ingredient to your list :-)

Thanks…loved knowing about ythe UP cousin :-)

happy cook,
Thanks…now you know :-)


11 SMN June 10, 2008 at 11:05 am

Sunita thats a new dish for me.. luks yummy. i hv a assames collegue now..


12 Shilpa June 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I was going to say it looks like Kokum too :) . Will have to try this dish. Looks great.


13 Sagari June 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm

never seen or heard about this suniths ,but lookss deleciousssss


14 bee June 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm

yeah, that looks like the twin of kokum that got lost in the mall.


15 Dee June 10, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Love this Sunita , i make a dal with kokum. I felt like picking them off the photograph and eating them!! Lovely!!


16 Dhivya June 11, 2008 at 5:40 am

wow!its super delicious…looks so yummm

BTW i had sent u a mail regarding think spice event…plz check and let me know…Thanks…


17 sunita June 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

thanks :-)

yes, they definitely look similar…do give it a try :-)


18 sunita June 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm

thanks…yes, we too add it to dal sometimes :-)

thanks…btw, I haven’t received your mail…checked the spam as well.


19 Monica June 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Wanted to find out whats thekera for some friends and found this..looks really good!


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