Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bengali Vegetable Chops

I chanced across this excellent and authentic-tasting recipe last week. By that I mean Dolon has got the shop taste down pat and isn't that what we all want? :) I'm re-posting her instructions along with some clarifications and photographs from me because I like making dummy-proof recipes.


1. 2 medium potatoes
2. 2 small carrots
3. 1 medium beetroot
4. 1 tsp ginger paste
5. 3 tsp peanuts
6. 3-4 tsp bhaja masala
7. 1/2 tsp sugar
8. salt to taste
9. 4-5 tbsp besan (gram/chickpea flour)
10. 1 and 1/2 cup bread crumbs
11. 2 cups white oil (for deep frying)

Ingredients for bhaja masala
1. 2 tbsp cumin seeds .
2. 6 dry red chillies .

Method :-

1. Roast cumin seeds and dry red chillies on low heat till the jeera turns brown and chillies dark red. Do not char. Remove from heat and dry grind in a mixie chutney jar. Thhis dark brown powder can be stored for later usage in other dishes.

2. Peel and dice the vegetables into large chunks. Pressure cook on high heat for 2 whistles. Drain the water & mash the vegetables coarsely and mix 2-3 tsp bread crumbs to help it bind.

3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kada (wok). Fry the peanuts and drain them on some kitchen paper.

4. Now add the ginger paste, fry lightly. Add the roughly mashed vegetables, salt and sugar. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium high heat, mashing it as you go.

5. Add bhaja masala and fried peanuts and mix. Place the mixture on a plate to cool a little.

6. Make a not too runny besan batter by adding water to the flour. A pancake batter-like consistency works for me.

7. Make little oblong chops out of the vegetable mixture using your hands. The mixture will be fairly soft so be gentle and don’t try for perfect shapes.

8. Dip each chop in besan batter, making sure you coat it all around, and place it on the plate of breadcrumbs.

9. Roll it gently in the crumbs and make sure each chop is coated all over. Place the crumbed chops carefully on a plate ready for frying.

10. Heat the oil in a kada (wok). Test for temperature by dropping a little square of bread into the oil. If it rises instantly to the top, the oil is right. I confess I picked this handy tip from some other recipe. I myself check the temperature by placing my palm over the oil but then, I do know what the correct temperature feels like. Don’t wait for the oil to be smoking hot because then the crumb coat chars. (And if your oil does overheat, fry a slice of bread in it to bring the temperature down a bit.)

11. Gently fry the chops, rolling them in the oil every few minutes to fry evenly. The chop on the left is half fried and has been rolled over to let the other side fry. The one on the right has just been dropped into the oil.

12. Drain and serve hot with ketchup, kashundi (mustard sauce) and salad. Or you could, like me, gobble them up as they were.

I made about 14 chops from this amount and they came out perfect. Crisp coats and crunchy peanuts and yummy fillings. Let me know if you give them a shot. I dined that night off these chops, salad and some bread and butter.

Oh and Dipali's tip: breadcrumbs can be made by grinding torn toast or even fresh bread in the chutney jar of the mixie. Actually, she's responsible for how well these came out, given that she made the bhaja masala for me!

Edit: You can make the veggie mash firmer and easier to mould by adding some of the breadcrumbs or even a torn piece of fresh bread for better binding.


GettingThereNow said...

*slurp*!! I will definitely try those and will let you know how they turn out.

You could make long-lasting bread-crumbs if, after running them through the blender like Dipali suggested, you toast them in a toaster oven at a low heat setting until they dry up. That increases their "shelf-life". You could even add onion and garlic powder and crushed dry basil and oregano leaves to it to make Italian flavored bread crumbs.

Poppins said...

Why are these Bengali? Just asking. They look delish!

Mama - Mia said...

yummmy!! should get mixie repaired!

reminds me sorta of vada pav and it makes me drool!!

i must visit kolkata soon! :D



Miss M said...

Kheede pe gelo khoob beshi!

Looks totally like the ones Ma makes. But then again, I guess they can't look any different regardless of who makes them. :)

Sue said...

Cee -- Actually, what Ma did was to toast bread in the oven and then grind it. She'd store the crumbs in the 'fridge. That's what I mean to do for future use.

I love the sound of the Italian flavoured crumbs. :)

Popsicle -- They are what Bengalis call vegetable chops. I've never encountered them anywhere else although I'm sure they have avatars in all parts of the country. Give them a shot, they come out delish.

Abha -- Desigirl gave me an awesome-looking recipe for vada-pav the other day. She vouched for it, if you're looking to make some at home (or get it made, LOL).

Of course you must visit Cal soon. :)

Miss M -- They can taste different, depending on who makes them, but these tasted just like the ones bought from shops.

eve's lungs said...

id you remember to put the salt in ? :p

Sue said...

Evie -- LOL, I finished the last chops from that unspiced batch this afternoon and like I told you, they were quite edible. Whaddya know, veggies have a taste! :P

JustAnotherBlogger said...

Thanks for this recipe. I tried it and the result was really good. However, I made a change to the recipe. I have a huge (cheap ass) blender (not the desi type mixie with several jars), in which 2 tbsp of jeera + 6 chillies won't get powdered very well. So I took jeera powder & red chilli powder (2.5 tsp, 1.5 tsp resp) and roasted them together on low heat. So, did I miss the USP of the dish? :) Even if I did, it tasted very good.

Sue said...

JAB -- I once made them without the bhaaja masala and another time I forgot the salt. The natural taste of the veggies saved me.

I don't think roasting the powders together will give the masala quite the same bite but it's a tasty variation, right, so why not.