Bengali Deemer Chop (Egg and Potato Cutlet)

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.

IMG_0063

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.

IMG_2152

Time for Prep: 45 mins     Time to Cook: 10 mins     Yield: 4 Servings     Level: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 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

Process:

  1. Making Potato Mixture:
    1. Mash the potatoes, be careful not to overdo it, or they will get starchy.
    2. Add the spices, chopped onions, cilantro and green chili pepper. Mix well
    3. Divide into 4 portions.
  2. Assembly:
    1. Take a portion of the potato mixture, flatten it and place one of the half egg in the center.
    2. Cover the entire egg with the potato mixture, make sure there are no gaps.
    3. Repeat with other 3 halves.
    4. Refrigerate for 20 mins
  3. Mix the corn flour with a pinch of salt, pinch of ground pepper and water. Blend into a smooth paste.
  4. Dip the chilled cutlets in the cornflour paste, then roll it the bread crumbs.
  5. Place on a plate and chill for another 10 mins.
  6. Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer and fry in medium heat till golden brown.
  7. Remove and place on paper towel to soak out excess oil.
  8. Serve warm.

Notes:

  • 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.

IMG_3609

IMG_3610

IMG_3613

IMG_3614

Koraishutir Kochuri – Puri Stuffed with Green Peas

A few years back my husband and I took wine classes at the Devine Wine Emporium in Niantic CT. Ken, the wine educator started the 6 weekend long class saying (and I am paraphrasing here) “Good wine is like a trip down memory lane. Each layer of aroma and flavor is transcending, taking you back to a memory”. Good food has the exact same effect on me.

IMG_2031
Koraishutir Kochuri (Puri stuffed with green peas)

This dish brings back numerous good memories. My dad coming back from his evening walks with a bag of fresh green peas, all of us helping with peeling pea pods, eating half of it in the process, chit chat, laughter and so much more fun. And the fact that my husband absolutely loves this (Even learnt to say it like a bengali) is an added bonus.

Hope that you make some wonderful memories of your own while trying out this recipe.

IMG_2022

Traditionally this is made in winters (because fresh green peas are available in abundance in the season) for breakfast and served with Aloor Dom (potato curry). Husband likes to eat this as is, so I usually don’t make the potato curry, unless entertaining.

Time for Prep: 30 mins     Time to Cook: 30 mins    Yield: 10 Kochuri     Level: Medium

Ingredients:

IMG_2018

For the puri:

  • 1.5 cups All purpose flour or whole wheat flour or a combination of both.
  • 1/2 cup warm water (Plus more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil or clarified butter (I prefer using Clarified butter)

IMG_2019

For the stuffing:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp pepper corn
  • 4-5 dry red chili
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • salt to taste

Process:

Poori dough if making by hand: (I make it in the food processor)

  1. Sieve the flour. Make a well in the center and add salt and oil/Ghee. Mix it together till it looks like crumbles
  2. Once again make a well in the center and pour warm water, little at a time to make a soft dough.
  3. Cover with damp cloth and let rest for 30 mins to an hour.

IMG_2024

Stuffing:

  1. Wash and clean green peas in water, if using frozen peas then thaw them first.
  2. Put the peas in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 5 – 6 mins or until cooked. This can be done on stovetop by adding the peas to a heated heavy bottom pan and steam it. Set it aside to cool.
  3. Heat a non-stick sauce pan and add the cumin, fennel, pepper corn and dry red chillies to it. Dry roast them for 3-4 mins. Set it aside to cool.
  4. Corse grind the spice mix in a coffee grinder.
  5. In a food processor add the green peas and pulse them. Mix in the spice mix, salt and asafetida.
  6. If the stuffing is wet, dry it out by cooking it a little in a non-stick pan

IMG_2025IMG_2026

Assembling or putting it all together:

  1. Make small balls from the dough
  2. Take one ball at a time, press gently with your thumb to make it bigger and flatter. Be careful not to make the center to thin. Make it bigger by gently streching at the edges.
  3. Add a ball of filling to each flattened ball, bring together the edges to seal the stuffing inside.
  4. Grease your work surface and roll out the stuffed balls. Be careful not make any cracks by over stretching the dough.

IMG_2027

Cooking:

  1. Deep fry each stuffed puri one at a time.
  2. Gently slide the rolled puri in hot oil. It will go to the bottom first and then slowly float up.
  3. Gently press the center with a spatula. Two things will happen at this stage: The puri will puff and will turn golden brown, flip and let the other side get some color too. Remove when it gets a golden brown color and place on paper towels to rid off the excess oil.

Serve them hot!

Note:

  • The stuffing needs to be dry or it will be really difficult to roll them out.