Mangora recipe - a chilli hot, crunchy snack

A traditional savoury snack from Rajasthan made with just three main ingredients. It is a vegetarian food item that can be made in advance. It stays for days, unrefrigerated and tastes better with time. Give this family special (mine) a try.

My grandfather was from Rajasthan; hence a lot of food that I grew up eating had influences of rural Rajasthan cuisine. This was evident especially during Christmas when the kitchen in our Government home would bustle with activity, during the nights preceding Christmas.

The old faithful – the kerosene stove and the angeethi would be brought out from storage so goodies could be deep-fried and the roast meat left to cook overnight on the glowing embers of coal in the angeethi.

Memories of those cold winter nights make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the way the warm glow from the burning fires paired with the aromatic smells that emanated from the cooking, made me feel, as a child.

Mangora was one such food item that was traditionally made at home, for Christmas. For me, and I am sure for many of my cousins, mangoras will always be synonymous with Christmas – they weren't prepared at any other time of the year. Incidentally, ours was the only family, which I knew of, that served this very Indian savoury dish, alongside Plum Cake, Roast meat and wine. Everyone on my father's side of the family prepared this Christmas staple, as I like to call it – the only thing that varied was the amount of chilli that people used. One of my aunts made them fiery hot, while most others went easy on the chillies. A few added a dash of red chilli powder to the batter, while others stuck to tradition recipe that called for finely chopped green chillies – loads of them.

mangora.jpg 1

Mangoras are deep-fried dumplings, made using three ingredients - whole moong dal, green chillies and sprigs of cilantro (green coriander - aka hara dhania). They make a tasty snack, and every bite has a crunch to it…they do not need a dip, and can be stored unrefrigerated, for a week, in cold temperature. They taste better as they age, much like old wine. They make great finger food that goes exceptionally well with soft and hard drinks.

Recipe for Moong Dal Mangora


  • 1 kg whole moong dal
  • 250 grams green chillies
  • Red chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 big bunches of cilantro (coriander leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

You'll also need

  • Kitchen towels
  • Colander
  • Large vessel
  • Kadhai
  • Slotted Spoon


Method for making mangora

Use a large vessel to soak the moong dal in water for at least 24 hours. This allows the green outer husk to soften and helps with its peeling. Drain the water and take small quantities of the dal between your palms and gently squash them, to loosen and remove the skin. It is an arduous process, but repeat it until most of the skin comes off.

Next, add some water to the vessel that is holding the lentil, give it a good stir and pour the water into the colander. The skins also get drained out in the process. You don't need the skins, so do this repeatedly until all of the loose skin is removed. Make sure to collect the skins in a colander to prevent choking of the kitchen sink.

Finely chop the green chillies and cilantro. If the chillies are fat, slit them down the middle and then chop them finely.

Grind the moong dal to a coarse batter, leaving a few pieces whole. The batter shouldn't be watery.

Mix the chopped green chillies and cilantro into the batter. Heat the oil, once the oil is hot, add salt to the batter. Give it a good mix and you're ready to go.

mangora.jpg 3

Gently, drop small balls (roughly shaped) into the oil. The oil should not be smoking hot. Fry the mangora on a low flame, to ensure the insides get cooked. Fry to a nice golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mangoras from the oil. Spread them on a kitchen towel, so the excess oil gets absorbed.

Unlike vadas, mangoras aren't soft on the inside. Every bite has a crunch. You can make them as hot or as mild as you like, just adjust the chillies. But, they taste best - hot!

Let the mangoras cool, before storing them. They don't spoil easily and will remain good for at least a week (if they don't get devoured by then), in cold climate.

mangora.jpg 6

This seemingly simple and rural snack was always a hit and remains one to this day, in my home. I like to keep traditions alive and make it a point to make mangoras, every year, on Christmas. They are a great hors d'oeuvre that goes well with alcohol as well as with coffee and tea. The golden coloured mangoras above are served on a platter that belonged to my mother, dates back to 1956.

Mangoras are also referred to as moong dal pakora. Some people use skinless moong, but making mangoras the traditional way, give them a better texture and flavour. Try this recipe, the next time you want to wow your guests with a tasty, traditional snack.

Know your food

  • Whole moong dal is a good source of plant-derived protein. It is also rich in fibre, most of which is soluble and helps prevent arteries from clogging. Moong dal is packed with healthy nutrients, such as iron, zinc, potassium and other essential minerals. It is also rich in B-complex vitamins and starch
  • Green chillies are rich in vitamin B6, C and A and also copper and potassium

Give the recipe a try, you will love it. Mangoras have always been a hit with the family and of course all my guests.

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