How to make fresh borda (black eyed bean dahl)

Mala Singh

Passionate home cook

  • Sydney, Australia

My favourite childhood dish is Bora Dhal.

This dish reminds me of my childhood and learning to cook with my Mother on an open fire stove (chulla). Mum would supervise making sure that I used all required ingredients but not overdoing with salt.

I used to help Mum to pick borda, coriander leaves, chillies, curry leaves and tomatoes from our organic garden. I remember the taste of fresh organic vegetables and fruit from our garden, the  best I ever tasted.

  • 2 cups of fresh peeled Bora (frozen, dried or canned borda can be substituted.  If using dried then soak it overnight and wash thoroughly)
  • 2 medium size tomatoes, chopped to about 1/4 inch pieces.
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic.
  • Small pieces of ginger, about a 1/4 inch.
  • 2 to 4 whole chillies depending on taste.
  • 2 heaped teaspoon garam masala (or everyday cooking masala)
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste.
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 finely chopped small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
  • 4 to 5 cups of water (depends if you want dhal to be creamy and thick or runny.
  • Peel fresh borda and wash in a colander
  • Add garlic, chillies, ginger, curry leaves and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Keep the rest of the ingredients aside for later use.
  • In a large pot heat 2 tablespoon ghee, butter or olive oil and add the above mixture.
  • You can also add 1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
  • Stir for at least 5-6 minute on low heat until the borda starts to change colour.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Blend the dhal mixture into a coarse paste.
  • Water is added to ensure the mixture is not gluggy.
  • Set aside.

Phoren for Tempering:

Prepare one small onion-finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds.
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or olive oil


  • Heat ghee or olive oil in a large pot.
  • Add cumin and mustard seeds, curry leaves -saute until the seeds and curry leaves start to pop.
  • Add onion, one clove garlic, and saute until golden brown.
  • Add water and keep mixing so it doesn't turn gluggy.
  • Boil for approx 10 to 15 mins (depending the thickness you prefer).
  • Add one to two tsp lemon juice
  • Add 1/2 bunch of finely chopped coriander
  • Optional: sprinkle 1/4 tsp powdered cumin seeds and drizzle ghee.
  • Best served with rice, roti, naan and yogurt.