Yellow and Green Pholourie

Mar/12/2021 / by Avita Bansee

As a child, I loved spending time with my mother in the kitchen. While she was cooking for company on the weekend, her kitchen filled with spicy fragrances and the sounds of rolling pins, sizzling oil and laughter. For the Caribbean diaspora in Montreal, it was a time to belong and eat the foods you craved all week. My parents were working class immigrants in a society that was not often welcoming to immigrants. Weekends at home with our community were exactly what we all needed to warm our hearts and bellies before facing another week. Those weekends were full of joy and our home was the place to be for the best Caribbean food.

Yellow and green pholourie coming off the stove.

My mother is an inspiration in the kitchen and I have committed myself to perfecting her recipes. They are my childhood, my connection to my grandparents in Trinidad. Food connects us to history, and Caribbean food tells the story of the routes of the many people that now call the Islands home. South Asian and African food influences permeate Trinidadian kitchens in particular.

Pholourie (dal fritters) is my favorite weekend gathering food. I would grab a mountain of those golden balls with spicy tamarind chutney and eat them while the adults played cards at the kitchen table. Here is my version of the pholourie.

Yellow and green pholourie at the table.

Recipe

2 cups of dry split peas (dal)

¾ – 1 cup of water

4 cloves of garlic

½ habanero

½ cup cilantro with stems on

4 green onions

2 cups of flour

1 tsp turmeric

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ cup baby spinach

A 16 oz bottle of canola or neutral oil

Instructions

  1. Place the split peas in a bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak overnight. The next day drain the chickpeas.
  2. In a blender, puree the chickpeas with ¾ cup of water, 4 cloves of garlic and ½ habanero. Add an additional ¼ cup of water if needed to reach a smooth paste consistency.
  3. Once the lentil paste is smooth, add the cilantro and green onions. Puree until blended.
  4. Remove ½ the lentil mixture into a bowl. Add the spinach and blend until smooth. Pour the green mixture into a separate bowl.
  5. In each bowl, add 1 cup of flour, ½ tsp of turmeric, ¼ tsp of salt, 2 tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp of black pepper. You can add extra turmeric to the yellow batter if desired.
  6. Combine the all ingredients, adding a touch of flour or water to reach a soft, loose dough consistency. Like a thick pancake batter.
  7. Allow the dough to rest while you heat the oil.
  8. Fill a medium sized pot with oil. Heat the oil on medium- medium/high heat until it reaches 375 F.
  9. Traditionally, we use our hands to drop balls of dough into the oil. You can also use two spoons. You want ping pong-sized balls or smaller. Fry the dough in batches, alternating between batches of yellow and green. Do not overcrowd your pot.
  10. Place fried pholourie into a bowl lined with paper towels. Serve with your favorite chutneys.

For more details about Avita Bansee, who is a yoga teacher and business owner, visit her website www.avitayoga.com or www.theconnectivestudio.com, or learn more about her on Instagram @yogawithavita.

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