OK, thats not what they are called. But I am tired of the spelling variations – vadi, badi, bodi…
So what is this bomb?
Typically made from moong or urad daal, it is first fermented, then spiced and shaped into small bite size round bits, then sun dried. When ready to use they are lightly crushed, fried and added as condiment or garnish to vegetables, rice and lentil dishes.
Recipe for Moong daal bombs (from my grandmother-in-law) –
- 1/2 cup of split moong daal/lentil without skins
- 1/4 tsp asfoetida (in powder form)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp dried red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp slightly crushed black pepper seeds
Rinse and soak the daal in 2 cups of water for 8-12 hours. Strain and remove water. Place in food processor and puree. Can be slightly coarse. Should resemble thick cake batter. If necessary add a tsp of water.
Add asfoetida, mix and let ferment for a day or two. In Indian summers, this will ferment in 4-6 hours but in Californian weather, I add 1/4 tsp of sauerkraut juice or 1 Tbsp store bought dosa/idli batter. Make sure that your starter has live cultures.
The end product of fermentation is a sour batter with lots of trapped air. Add salt, peppers and coriander seeds.
Now use a small melon baller or a teaspoon to spoon this batter on a large plate (like you would do to cookie batter), spacing them 1 cm apart. Should make 2 dozen or so bombs. It doesn’t really matter if they are uneven, they will just dry unevenly. Looks don’t matter much as they are typically crushed. The batter will spread only if you have added too much water.
Normally this is sun dried but I found that I could place them under a 50 watt table lamp (at least 6 inches away from the bulb) to achieve similar results. If sun-drying, make sure the plate is kept covered with layered cheesecloth. I keep the bulb on for 12 hours and let it air dry at night. Should take 3-4 days to become completely dry.
After a couple of days, turn over the bombs using a spatula. They may be a bit sticky but should come off easily enough. Let them dry a day longer if they are too sticky or break when flipping.
Once dried, store in a glass jar. I normally use a batch in 2-3 weeks. If you plan to use these infrequently, store the jar in fridge. Alternately, sun dry them for a day every 6 weeks to prolong shelf life.
The above recipe is for Punjabi style badis. For Bengali style badis, omit coriander seeds and black pepper. Urad daal is equally popular for use in badis. To use, take 4-6 bombs, crush lightly using mortar and pestle, fry until golden brown and add to rice or vegetables as condiment or garnish. Following showcases a recipe for using this as a condiment.
Rice with lentil bombs (4 servings):
- 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed if necessary
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp butter (replace with 2 tsp olive oil if watching dietary fat)
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 6 lentil bombs lightly crushed/broken with mortar and pestle
- 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
- 2 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves (or 1 tbsp mint and 1tbsp coriander leaves)
Place a casserole (or heavy bottom pan) on medium heat and add the fat. When fat it hot, add cumin seeds and the crushed lentil bombs. Stir for a minute or two until the bombs turn golden brown. Add rice and water and salt to taste. Keep uncovered.
In 10-12 minutes when you can no longer see the water, turn the heat down to lowest and cover the casserole. Cook for another 10-12 minutes or until the rice on top is done. This timing is a guide for Basmati only.
Add the thawed peas. Keep the cover and let rest for 10 minutes before fluffing with fork.
For a minimalist meal, serve topped with chopped corainder and accompanied by a dollop of hot and sour mango pickle, dry roasted pappadam and raita. Curried chicken or paneer on the side makes for a complete gourmet meal.