Goyna Bori: The Art Of Making Ornamented Bori

Bori or vadi or wadis or dry lentil cakes as they are called, has been a part of Indian cooking since ages. Mostly homemade one could find these culinary treasures in your grand mom’s kitchen and mostly in Bengali where widows couldn’t savour non-veg, they came as a rescue to raise the taste level. Mostly made of paste of Urad Daal (black Gram Lentil) it was dried by good 3-5 days in the sun before on can use it. All the more it was seen that all the ladies of the house used to sit and make it so that the stock could last year. Storing them then in airtight container would give them longer shelf lives. Not many many bori  is nothing less than a ritual in most household as even till date it’s seen that before you start the ‘bori’ making process the woman of the household do a ritual called the wedding of the ‘bori’ – where two large pieces of bori’s are covered with sindoor (vermillion) and prayers are offered. 

Courtesy- Facebook page Designer Goyna Bori

there is mention of more than 10 varieties of bori that was made at Tagore household giving the fact that this dry lentil dumpling had it’s own importance in the culinary scene in Bengal. Not many know that Gahana bori acquired the status of fine art when Rabindranath Tagore expressed his desire to preserve images of these bori in the art department  (Kala Bhavan) of Viswa Bharati University.

Going by the artistic touch a very unique bori the 'gohona' or 'goyna' bori (meaning jewellery) is a fine display of culinary art. Also known as the “noksha bori” these were supposed to have originated from Purba Medinipur (East Mednipur is a small town in Bengal). The fragile craft also sees it’s mention in Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk. These Goyna bori are not just dry lentil dumplings but it’s an technique that has been handed down from generation to generation. 

Don’t forget that that challenge in getting the right bori lies in whisking the batter to the right consistency. These fragile boris sees a covering of posto (poppy seeds) as it prevents the bori from sticking to the plate along with giving that extra crunch. While laying these bori in design format it needs to start from center and then slowly move outside. Deep fried in oil and mostly had with rice, dal or simply as a snack. The posto covering gives that extra crispiness to the bori. These geometric patterns that are designed either in the shape of earrings, neckpiece or more the motifs are very attractive to look at. 

In current times as this art is almost getting lost there are places in Bengal which are actually conducting workshops to retain this intricate art form. As the deigns and laying them is an act of patience and practice, It won’t be wrong to say that these Goyna bori’s are our country’s  pride.