Durga Puja is round the corner and this time of the year always makes me nostalgic about good ole days. Growing up in a Bengali family, this was by far the most important event of the year. I have been often asked by my non-Indian friends what is Durga Puja and why its so important to me. Here’s why – memories of good food and good times shared with friends!
I am hazy about the details around the religious aspect of things. To me its always been the entire community coming together for a 5 day cultural celebration of the victory of good over evil. A celebration filled with food, color, music and festivities. People gathered in large festive tents called ‘Pandal’, laughing together, sharing the delicious spread of Bhog (food offering to goddess), the smell of Kichudi, flowers and incense, the sound of Dhak (Drum), the Adda (chit chat), song, dance and theatre…. the layers and layers of festivities.
Some of my favorite memories growing up are of the days leading up to it, the shopping of new clothes, planning what I would wear on each day and the rehearsals at Hyderabad Bengali Samity of plays and dances to be performed. Kids rehearsals followed by parents, the fights over badminton rackets or a game of carroms, Patiently waiting for the resident director Goshwami Kaku (Who ran an IT company for his day job) to say ‘Cut’ so that the egg roll and egg chop from Utpal Kaku’s canteen would appear along with some ‘Cha’ (Tea). Its been years since my last visit to Bengali Samity, but every time I bite into an egg roll or an egg chop, I am transported right back.
Time for Prep: 45 mins Time to Cook: 10 mins Yield: 4 Servings Level: Medium
- 2 eggs, hard boiled and cut in half
- 4-5 small potatoes, boiled and skin removed
- Salt to taste (I prefer Rock Salt)
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala (optional)
- 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 green chili pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, on a plate.
- Oil for frying
- Making Potato Mixture:
- Mash the potatoes, be careful not to overdo it, or they will get starchy.
- Add the spices, chopped onions, cilantro and green chili pepper. Mix well
- Divide into 4 portions.
- Take a portion of the potato mixture, flatten it and place one of the half egg in the center.
- Cover the entire egg with the potato mixture, make sure there are no gaps.
- Repeat with other 3 halves.
- Refrigerate for 20 mins
- Mix the corn flour with a pinch of salt, pinch of ground pepper and water. Blend into a smooth paste.
- Dip the chilled cutlets in the cornflour paste, then roll it the bread crumbs.
- Place on a plate and chill for another 10 mins.
- Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer and fry in medium heat till golden brown.
- Remove and place on paper towel to soak out excess oil.
- Serve warm.
- Instead of corn flour paste, the cutlet can also be dipped in beaten egg before rolling in bread crumbs.
- If you want to avoid frying, Spray with cooking oil and bake at 400F/200C for 30 mins. Make sure to flip once in between.
- For a vegetarian/Vegan version, replace the egg with piece of tofu or paneer.