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The Quintessential Bengali Fare :Vegetable Chop or Bhejitabil Chap or Vegetable Croquette
I belong to the group of people who come from small town and start living in big city to earn a livelihood. Though, big cities have a lot to offer, sometimes it can make you desolate and can get the silly out of you. You yearn to go back down the memory lane but you know you have physically come far far away. You start missing everything and your roots call you back. The city calls you back, the streets call you back, the friends and faces call you back, that typical adda where you used to hang out with friends, that special lane which you cycled through to your school ..that place where you and your friends went for tuitions and those silly games you played which makes no sense today . Oh it makes you so nostalgic and wets your eyes at the same time. Yes we all go through that time when we wish we were a child again, to live that carefree life, the life when you just had to share your pencil and tiffin box to make friends.
And when it comes to a person like me who doesn’t forget where I ate what, it becomes even more difficult to control emotions. A person who didn’t know where the kitchen is to a person what I have become today is partly because of the Food Weakness in me which makes me crave different food at different times of the day.
There were certain dishes which used to be made only for special times or when the lady of the home is in a good mood. Yes I am talking about my Mom who hardly made anything I liked because I liked everything deep friend and she refrained me from having any. I really hated her then but today I feel like a big sucker. And then we had this Vegetable Chop which is also called Bhegitabil Chop in Odisha and it appeared on the dining table like Eid Ka Chand. It had to be a very special occasion or I must have been a good girl so I got rewarded with a couple of them when I returned home from school. Or she would get one for me when she won the lottery in the Kitty Party she attended with her friends and would order a big batch of Vegetable Chop from a local shop which was very popular then to treat the group of ladies.
Fun were those days. Nevertheless, without diverting the topic away from Vegetable Chop, It used to be a winter item when Beetroot and Carrots and Green Peas used to be available in plenty and fresh. Those were not the days when you get all vegetables in all season. People used to eagerly wait for that season when specific fruits and vegetables would appear in the market and stocked it to have it till you are emotionally trupt or satisfied.
This week, It was one of those days when I had a craving of Vegetable Chop and Yes I had beetroot and carrot and frozen peas lying quietly in the fridge. Hence, I decided to prepare it. Today, I still like fried item but I decided to use appe pan for obvious reason (Do I have to tell you all that I am not a wonder woman but I do wonder how my clothes get tighter even when I see a jar of pickle ..shhh)
I prepared the very famous garam masala which we Oriya people put in almost all dishes to give that much needed boost in flavor and It did came out fairly well. And now before I drag you more and you move out of the page or close it without reading the recipe, I shall give you the recipe forto the one which My Mother made but of course non fried.
What You Need:
2 beetroot boiled, peeled and mashed/ grated
2 carrot boiled, peeled and mashed/grated
2 or 3 big potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
Few green peas tossed gently in oil
Salt to taste
2 tsp of rice flour or maida for binding everything together
Rava of rolling the croquette
And oil for cooking
Mix beetroot, carrot and potato along with green peas and mix everything well.If your mixture is moist, add rice flour or maida to make it dry. However, not necessary. You can skip this part .
For the Spice mix:
2 cloves + 1 bay leaf + 2 tsp coriander seeds + 1 tsp cumin seeds + 1 cinnamon + 1 or 2 dry red chili (depending on the spice level you prefer) . Dry roast and grind to a very powder.
Add 2 tbsp of the spice mix to the beetroot mash made above. Add salt and mix everything nicely. Make small balls, roll them over rava and cook in paniyaram pan. If you have air fryer, best would be to fry it and if making for kids, go ahead and fry it.
Relish with simple ketchup.