Okay, so one more day to go for Eat Like a Bong to end and Pujo to begin. However, I’m already guilty of finishing off a major chunk of the pandals in South Calcutta. I stopped at every single pandal on my way to and from office. Sometimes I detoured to cover the famous ones in the vicinity. Being on the streets of Calcutta during Pujo infuses a different kind of euphoria, something I had been missing in Delhi the last couple of years. But even then, our Bong gang made the most of the situation. We took a common day off from work, hired a car and scanned all the major pandals in the whole of Delhi. I miss T and A like crazy while hopping, skipping and jumping from one pandal to the other. I so badly want them to see the crowd, something that you wouldn’t find in the Delhi Pujos (except a few at CR Park) but amply at Rajiv Chowk metro station! And boy, if you were near Tridhara Sammilani around 12.30 last night, you wouldn’t have been able to guess that Pujo is still officially a good 2 days away. 🙂
Let me not blabber unnecessarily because, let’s face it, I’ve blabbered a lot these last 28 days. So I’ll get straightaway to the recipe. I will not even try to explain what Vegetable Chop is because as you know well enough its is vegetables made into a chop. Rocket science?
Makes 8 chops
Onions, chopped finely: 1.5
Potatoes, boiled and mashed:5
Peas, fresh and boiled or frozen and thawed: 3/4 cup
Carrots, sliced into matchsticks and steamed: 2 small
Beans, chopped and steamed: 10-12
Green chillies, sliced finely: 4
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder: 2 tsp (reduce quantity if that’s too hot for you)
Bhaja masala powder: 1 tsp (make it at home by first roasting and then grinding a couple of bay leaves, some coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chillies into a powder)
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Cournflour: 2 tbsp
Water: 2 tbsp (or as required)
Breadcrumbs: 200 gm (or as required)
Chaat Masala: for sprinkling
1. Heat a non-stick kadhai and then add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the sliced onions, green chillies and sugar and saute on medium high heat till the onions turn translucent and golden. Add ginger paste and continue to stir for another 2-3 minutes.
2. Now add the green chillies, red chilli powder and salt . Keep stirring.
3. Add the carrots, beans and peas and mix well. Let them soften as you stir.
4. Add the potato mash, bit by bit and gradually mix with the rest of the filling. Make sure no lumps remain and that the entire mixture is well coated with the spices. If it looks/tastes a bit bland add more spice as necessary. Check seasoning.
5. Once the mixture is dry, turn off the gas. Sprinkle the bhaja masala and mix well. Leave to cool.
6. After the filling cools down, use both your hands to roll it into any shape of your choice. You can make flat round patty or a bit longish ones like mine. Make sure no cracks are there on the surface of the patty.
7. In a bowl whisk the cornflour and water and in a another plate pour the breadcrumbs. Keep a third plate ready sprinkled with a little breadcrumbs to prevent the chops from sticking. With one hand dip the patty into the cornflour mixture and place on the bed of breadcrumbs. With the other hand roll it gently in the crumbs making sure it doesn’t break. DO NOT use the same hand for doing both as that will render the crumbs moist. Once fully coated on all sides, rest on the plate kept ready.
8. Heat sufficient oil in a non-stick kadhai till it starts to almost splutter. Gently drop a chop and wait for it to get crisp and brown on all sides. Start with high heat but moderate as and when necessary. Fry one chop at a time. More than one will cause both to break! Once done, use a slotted spoon to take it out of the pan and drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel/tissue. Sprinkle some chaat masala on top.
9. Serve hot with onion rings, green chillis, your favourite ketchup and kashundi
(In case you don’t want to use onions, just skip them and use half a tsp of cumin seeds for tempering)