The bara is one of the most famous Surinamese-Hindu snacks. They are fried rolls that are heavily seasoned. In addition to flour and spices, it also contains ground mung beans ('oerdi split') and sliced tajer leaves or spinach. It takes some work to make the baras, but the results are impressive!
Originally, the bara comes from India, but it is now also part of Suriname's heritage. You can now also find them in the Netherlands. Usually in the toko, but also at festivals or events, the baras should not be missing.
This recipe makes about 12 baras, depending on how big you make them. Is that too much for you? You can freeze both the dough and the baked bara.
What makes the Surinamese bara so special?
It is the unique combination of spices and ingredients such as mung beans and tajer leaf that gives this snack its characteristic taste and texture. The bara is not only a pleasure to eat, but also a joy to make. This recipe is for the classic bara. You can eat it as is or fill it with potato chutney, for example.
for 12-15 Surinamese Baras
- 650 gr self-raising flour
- 150 g black mung beans (split) or mung bean flour
- 2 tbsp masala
- 2 tsp turmeric, ground
- 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 2 tl cumin powder
- 7 g dried yeast
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 200 g tajer leaf or spinach
- ½ Madame Jeanette pepper, finely chopped (optional)
- 400 ml water
- Semolina (optional, to prevent sticking)
- Sunflower or frying oil, for frying
Prefer a video?
In this video I show you how to make the Surinamese baras in 30 seconds:
Preparation Surinamese bara
Do you use dried black mung beans (Oerdi split) for this recipe? Then soak it for half a day in 400 ml of water. Then you put the beans together with the water in the blender and you grind this together very fine. Then continue with the recipe.
Do you use black mung bean flour (ordi besan)? Then you can mix it directly with the water and continue with the recipe.
Chop the tajer leaf (or spinach) very finely. Crush the garlic cloves and mix all the spices with the salt.
Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the mung bean mixture and add the yeast, oil, spices and chopped tajer leaf. You have now combined all the ingredients from the list in the bowl. Do you like spicy? Then add half the finely chopped Madame Jeanette pepper.
Knead the whole into a soft and sticky dough. This can be done by hand, but it is even better with a stand mixer with dough hook. Kneading by hand takes about 15 minutes and with the machine 5 minutes.
Note: It is important to knead the dough for the baras very well. This allows the gluten to develop well, which ensures that the dough will have cohesion later!
When the dough is well kneaded, you can cover the bowl with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough for the baras rise for 2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
Shape and bake baras
Now form balls of the dough with some oil on your hands. They should be about the size of an egg. The dough is still sticky, so it's important that you make the balls well so that they stay firm. Place the dough balls on a sheet of baking paper until it is time to bake the baras
Tip: It is not normally done, but shaping the dough is much easier when you sprinkle a little bit of semolina on the balls of dough. This prevents sticking, so that you can form the bara properly. You can also put some semolina on your hands, then it will be very easy!
Heat the oil until it is 170°C. Now take a ball of dough at a time and flatten it a bit. Then make a hole in the center of the dough by sticking your finger in it. When the dough has a bit of a donut shape, you can slide the bara into the hot oil.
Bake the baras in a few minutes until done and golden. Let them drain on a piece of kitchen paper and eat them warm with a spoonful of potato or Mango Chutney. Enjoy your meal!