Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pujor aahar -- Vegetarian Kobiraji Cutlet

Durga Pujo to us Bangalis is as much about Ma Durgar Pujo as its about our little own Pet Pujo. Every Bangali worth his fetish for Pheesh , Phootball and Phoron, knows the role of food during these four days of Pujo...and of course the Bijoya days that follow. This year while vacationing with my family back in Lucknow, I gratefully realised that not much as changed since my growning up years. Bijoya Pronam is still followed by a plateful of mishti--that's a wide variety of assorted sweets , some home cooked and some store brought with narkel nadu (coconut laddu) making its presence felt in almost every household, ghooghni(chick peas dried curry), nonta(salty savories) and a signature dish to add as a suprise element. Now this signature dish is anything from a devilled eggs to kobiraji cutlet to a kid friendly version of the menu such as mini burgers. And the taste ah! it tastes all the more incredible, as its that time of the year when the bright october sun mixes warmly with mami and mashi' excited banter, and the mild smell of shiuli flowers add to the heady aroma of freshly fried cutlets. I dont know whether its my nostalgia speaking, but as I'm writing i feel that there is this tiny sadness clutching onto faint corner of my heart , as much miss those Pujo days , I also miss my mom's famous cutlets, this to me is 'wishful craving', this to me is also nostalgia, can anyone tell me why...?

2 cups boiled cholar dal (I'd use a pinch salt and haldi for boiling)
2 onions chopped fine
1 t ginger paste
1 pinch asafoetida(heeng)
1 tsp garam masala
1 chopped green chili
2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped alternatively can use 1.5 tsp aamchur powder
2 T ghee
2 eggs for coating
1/2 cup bread crumbs
ghee/oil for frying cutlets
1/2 t sugar
salt to taste

Add to the chana dal a pinch of turmeric and some salt. Place in a pressure pan with just enough water water and cook. Around 4 whistles or let it boil until the dal is cooked and quite soft. Let teh extra water remain.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add onion, ginger, turmeric , a pinch asafoetida and green chillies. Mix
well and fry 3 or 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and finally the boiled dal. Mix thoroughly, adding salt and sugar to taste. Add garam masala when the water dries off.

Remove from fire when the dal mixture has browned and appears well mixed. Cool.
Divide mixture into desired shape about quarter inch thick. Makes around 10.

Beat the eggs and now coat the cutlets in egg mixture, and finally roll in bread
crumbs .Heat ghee in frying pan and fry cutlets until well browned on both sides.

Serves 5, calories : 175-190/cutlet.
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