Dar na Bhajia (Lentil Fritters)

Lentil Fritters
Lentil Fritters

These crispy bhajia‘s are like the Indian version of falafel, only more tasty in my opinion. In Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar, these are part of the famous street food often referred to as ‘Zanzibar-Mix’ which is a medley of potato chips (crisps), coconut chutney, and a sort of potato curry. I eat my bhajia‘s exactly like a falafel, stuffing 1-2 in a pita bread with some humus and salad. Yeah, I’m a confused one.

I’m tasting my mommy’s love in these today!

Recipe: Dar na Bhajia

Also known as: Lentil Fritters, Mung Daal Vada/Pakora, Daal Bhajias

Categories: Appetizers/Snacks

Accompaniments: Coconut Chutney I/II

Servings: Makes approx. 40 fritters


  • 2 cups split mung daal (also known as split moong beans, split green gram, split mag) soaked overnight (6-8 hrs)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, grated
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fenugreek leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 3 green chillies, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder or ENO
  • 1 Tbsp hot oil
  • Hot water as needed
  • Oil for deep-frying


  • Food Processor/blender


  • I purchase the lentil with the hull, so I have to de-hull it at home. After soaking the lentils overnight, fill the bowl containing the lentil to the brim and rub the lentils with your fingers. The green hull will float to the top and you can drain it off. Do this a couple of times till most of the green hull is off. It is ok if some is left. Alternatively, you can purchase cleaned split mung daal (the hull is already removed).
Cleaned lentils
Cleaned lentils
The hull to dispose
The hull to dispose
  • Drain all the water from the cleaned lentils.
  • To cook the potato, either boil it for just 5 minutes or place in the microwave, with some water, and microwave for 4-5 minutes till almost done. Drain and keep aside.
  • In the food processor, add the garlic paste, ginger paste, onion, potato, green chillies, salt, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder.
  • Pulse till all the ingredients are combined.
  • Add the lentils, a little at a time. You may add some water if you need to, the less water you add the better.
  • Grind till all the lentils are broken particles, don’t make it too fine, it should be thick.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and fenugreek leaves.
Mixture in a food processor
Mixture in a food processor
Texture of the lentils
Texture of the lentils
  • Heat about 1 – 1 1/2 inches oil in a wok or karai on medium heat to deep fry the fritters.
  • When the oil is hot, take a Tbsp of it and mix into the lentil mixture.
Add hot oil
Add hot oil
  • Right before frying, add the baking soda or ENO. Mix well.
  • Test the oil by placing a little bit of the mixture into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to the top, its ready.  Medium-high heat is the temperature.
  • Take about a heaping tsp of mixture into your hand, shape into a ball and drop into the oil. Alternatively, you can make them slightly flatter to resemble disks. Use some water on your hands to keep the mixture from sticking to them.
Shaping the fritter
Shaping the fritter
  • Place a couple at a time into the oil and turn around gently with a fork.
Frying the fritter
Frying the fritter
  • They are done when dark brown (about 4 minutes frying time). Remove on paper towels to drain excess oil.
The ones on the right, my mom made, the irregular ones, I made.
The perfect ones on the right, my mom made, the irregular ones, I made :(
Lentil fritters, disk shaped
Lentil fritters, disk-shaped
  • Test for done-ness before removing entire batch from oil. It will be slightly moist inside, which is ok.


  • If the fritter breaks, it means that there is too much water in the mixture. If this happens, pour the mixture in a fine-holed colander or sieve and let the water drain out on its own (this will take some time, so remove the oil from the heat!).

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Razia Datoo says:

    Hi Thanks for the Khoji Cook, I have tried few of your recipes and are great to follow and family enjoys it . Thanks

    1. khojicook says:

      Thank you for your feedback, it is very appreciated! We are also on Facebook, if you would like to follow us. If you have any recipes to contribute, you are very welcome to do so. Thank you.

  2. SW says:

    Thank you soooo much!!!! I just made these lentil fritters as a Jummah treat for Mother dearest and subhanallah they were sooo delicious! The best lentil fritters I have ever tasted!!!!! However I must admit my fritters looked like yours rather than your Mothers’!! Inshallah with practice we can both get them perfectly round!!! I made a special prayer for you on this blessed day of Jummah that you publish all these amazing recipes in a book! X

    1. khojicook says:

      Thank you so much for the prayers on this Jummah! Glad you enjoyed the fritters! Your kind comment really made me happy, so thank you! If you have any suggestions to better the website, please let me know! X

  3. Shabnum says:

    what happens to the boiled potatoe…..you said keep it aside!

    1. khojicook says:

      in the instructions it says to add it to the ingredients in the food processor.

  4. Shabnam says:

    My favorite snack. I’ll try this recipe today, Insha’Allah. Thank you for posting!

  5. Farida Kagalwala says:


  6. Shehnaaz says:

    Thank you so very much. Lost my mum 23 yrs ago. Used to cook these recipes as I learned them from my mum. As I never recorded them I couldn’t make them and was in difficulty. Had an accident, brain injury, affected my memory so couldn’t remember them. Now I can cook them again. My son will be pleased as he has grown up eating them.

  7. Shehnaaz says:

    Forgot to say, my English husband that I have been married to for 36 yrs remembers them and has always said the food that I cooked can never be compared to anything. So I would be quite free to say if anyone tries your recipes they will be cooking wonderful, aromatic, delicious and incomparable food my husbands words. Thank you so very much for creating this website.

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