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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Taler bora: Sweet Fritter from Ripe Sugar Palm Fruit

Taler Bora -- Sweet Fritter from Ripe Sugar Palm Fruit

Palmyra palm or sugar palm (Borassus flabellifer), is very common in our region and we make a delicious fragrant sweet dish from the ripened sugar palm fruit. We can call it sugar palm sweet fritter. My mother makes it every season and we help her.
We remove the outer black husk and get this. These are the fibrous kernels of the ripe fruit.

We rub this on a grater and this fragrant yellowish pulpy substance comes out. 


We add sugar or jaggery (non-centrifugal cane sugar from sugar cane or palm sap) and ripe and soft banana into it. Adding banana is optional and it has to be much less in quantity compared to “tal”. (You can also add grated coconut.) Then everything is mixed very well. Now this mixture is too soft to give it a shape. So, rice powder is slowly added and mixed until we get the required thickness. It is also quite common to add refined wheat flour (Maida) but my mother and grand-mother prefer rice powder to it.
Then we make flat and round shapes by hand and deep fry. You can also shape it like round balls. To fry, we usually use sun flower oil. 

Traditionally, Atap rice used to be soaked and then ground using “shil-norha” at home. "Shil - norha" are basically a set of grinding stones very similar to mortar and pestle. "Shil" is bigger, flat and not moved. The spices, or rice in this case, are placed on it and ground moving the "norha" on it, sprinkling water every now and then. The result is a thick paste. “Atap” is a Sanskrit word that means “sun (sunrays/sunlight)” or “heat”. We get “atap” rice by husking sun-dried paddy.  Nowadays we buy ready made rice powder from local shops. We eat less rice/ rice items nowadays and we no longer stock Atap rice at home. We still have shil-norha but it is rarely used. Mixer-grinder is the more efficient replacement for our generation. 

Taler bora is a must-have for the Hindu religious festival of “Janmashtami”, the birthday of God Krishna, celebrated in the month of Bhadra ( pronounced “bhaadro) of Bengali calendar.


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