Friday, December 25, 2009

Seasonal Pakoras

This is a particular great time for foodie experimenters. On wandering through the lush vegetable market in our area on my trip home to Kolkata, I came upon items with which I had no familiarity. Both PuiN er Metuli and Maatha Maach are it seems standards in rural Bengal though. My mother who is an adventurous experimenter in the kitchen joined me to make the following dishes. PuiN saakh is one of the staple greens in Bengal. What beckoned me in the market was not the Puin itself but its exuberantly green blossom! Puin er Metuki is its name in Bengal. We made pakoras; the Indian fried snack out of it. Maatha Maach similarly has very humble beginnings. It is basically the leftover small fry (really really minute!) which is left at the very bottom of the fisherman's net. It contains myriad tiny and fishes small krill/shrimp. It must be cleaned thoroughly before use, but once that part is over, it lends itself to wonderful fishballs and fish patties.

250 gm PuiN blossom, stalks, flowers included
1 cup Besan (ground gram flower)
1 level teaspoon salt
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped, about a cup
1 and half seeded green chilli, finely chopped
2 teaspoon ground pepper
Water only if necessary
Oil for frying, about 1 and half cup

Chop and steam the methuli/greens for about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Tip the cooled methuli into the dry mix. Add just enough water to make a thick batter with dropping consistency. Heat oil. Drop a spoonful of the batter mix and fry until brown at medium heat. Drain excess oil. Serve hot with sauce of choice.


250 gm Shrimp-(small prawns, fish)
2 Tbalesppon Oil
1 onion, chopped finely
3 Tablespoon Garlic, chopped finely
2 teaspoon Green chilli, finely chopped
2 teaspoon red Chilli powder
1 teaspoon blackPepper, ground
1/2 teaspoonTurmeric powder-
3 medium sized white bread slices, ( soaked in 1/3 cup milk)
Salt, as required.
For coating the balls:
2 Eggs, beaten
5 Tablespoon toasted bread crumbs
Oil for frying, about 1 cup

Clean the shrimps thoroughly. Heat the oil. Sauté the chopped onion,garlicm along with the shrimps/small fish. Stir. Add the chilli powder, chopped green chilli, pepper, turmeric powder. Mix thoroughly. Lower the heat. Mix in the beaten eggs and the mashed bread soaked in milk. Stir again. Cook the mixture on low flame stirring all the time till it is thick enough to hold its shape. Cool and shape into bite size balls (About 40 balls).
Roll them in bread crumbs. Dip them in the beaten egg. Roll them again in bread crumbs.
Deep fry the balls till golden brown.
Remove keep them on paper. Serve hot with sauce of choice.

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