Thursday, May 10, 2012

Berbican Bara

Bara is basically a fritter/pakora made from ground dal/split peas and flour. Guyanese use mostly split peas to make all of their pakoras.  A pakora is a  deep fried fritter made from besan/gram flour or in the case of Guyanese/Trinidadian cooking--ground split peas. Some say that a pakora is a pholourie. However pholourie is the split peas batter alone while a pakora also include various vegetables. In these parts, we also add bhaji/spinach to the batter which then makes it a form of pakora but pholourie is made minus vegetables. There is eggplant/baigan/balanje that is dipped in the pholourie batter and then fried but then it is called baigani.

This style of Bara was made mostly by Berbicians.* These day, almost everyone makes them as they are very easy. This style is very popular at Maticore/dye nights and other ceremonies where large quantities of food/snacks are needed. The other styles of Bara recipes will be posted later.

Aunty Baba is an Ace Bara maker and taught me how to make this style of Bara recently in New York City--yes, I learnt to make Berbican Bara in New York!! Aunty Baba is from Tain, Berbice and moved to New York City decades ago. She is showing my Mom how to make the Baras in a photograph below. Thank you so much Aunty Baba.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup fresh ground dal
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoon salt/or to taste
1 teaspoon ground jeera/cumin
1/2 teaspoon haldi/dye powder
2 cloves minced  garlic
1/4 cup minced onions
pepper to taste
2 teacups water

Oil for frying.

Method:1. Mix all the ingredients together in a deep bowl. The mixture must be sticky but not runny.
2. Cover with cling wrap or a damp towel and allow to rest for 1 hour. Check the batter after and 1 hour, it must be stretchy when pulled.

3. Heat oil.
4. Keep a small bowl with water nearby as you will need to constantly dampen your hands in order to stretch the batter before frying.
5. Wet hands then pull off a small piece of the batter. Pull it with your hands to stretch it into a flatish shape.

6. Carefully drop it into the oil. Continue doing this until there is enough in the pan.
7. Allow to fry on one side until it is golden brown the flip and allow to cook on the other side.
Do not over  cook as it will become saturated with oil.
8. Remove the cooked bara from the pan when both sides are golden light brown and drain on paper towels. 
Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.

*Berbice is the eastern most Region/State of Guyana that borders Suriname.


  1. I am from Hampshire and will be trying your Bara recipe today
    Will let you know how i did

  2. I am from Birmingham but originally from Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara Guyana. I have always used this Bara recipe and each time I am absolutely delighted with the result. Thank you so very much. All your recipes are delightful.

  3. Nice looking bara

  4. I am from Palmyra Village. I will try to make my Bara for Diwali using your recipe. I hope it comes out fluffy and soft.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I tried your recipe and it came out perfect. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Am so happy to get your feedback, thanks very much.

  6. Best recipe!!! It was so easy and instead of using my fingers to stretch it out in the oil... I used a cooking spoon and placed it in the oil and stretched it out while dropping them in. It cooked fast and I did it by myself ... The spoon made it less messy too!!!

    1. Thank you for the feedback...the spoon method sounds great. It is messy using your hand. Thanks again.

  7. do i boil the dhal or soak it and then grind it

    1. Never boil. Soak for about 4hours then grind/blend it to a smooth paste. When you over soak the dal, it tastes sour so please don't do it over night.

  8. I am originally from Tain. I think I may know your Aunti Baba. My 12 year old grandson asked me to make bara to share with his classmates tomorrow. So I am going to make this tonight.
    Your instructions are precise and clear. Thank you so much. Hello from Stratford, Canada.

    1. Hope it came out good. Her surname is Arjune. You can get in touch at

  9. Anyone know the recipie for Wadai/Vadai? I had it once in Albion Corentyne Berbice. Very delicious.

  10. Thanks for sharing your recipe :) the bara came out perfect & it tasted delicious 😋

    1. Thanks very much for your feedback. It is very much appreciated.

  11. Hi Nanda - I will try this bara recipe for sure for Diwali. I always make my own version but I'll surely try this one.
    BTW - I think I went to the same High school as you - Cummings Lodge.