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Monday, September 30, 2019

Bengali Veg Chop / Vegetable Chop / Bhejetebil Chop

Today marks the last day of this mega marathon featuring 'Indian sweets and snacks' and day after tomorrow, I am going to post a round up of the dishes I posted this month. The last one in the series is a Bengali street food called vegetable chop or in colloquial terms, bhejetebil chop. It is a Bengali take on the cutlet recipe and the croquettes are oblong shaped. The vegetables used here are beets, carrot and potatoes. Some fry onions and add them as well. The prepared vegetable mixture is well seasoned with a local spice powder called bhaja masala, coated in a flour slurry and seasoned bread crumbs and then deep fried. The resulting chops are very delicious, crispy from outside and soft from inside. The chops are served along with ketchup and onion- cucumber salad but they go good with any spicy chutney. 

I am not into deep frying honestly speaking and as my husband points out I deep fry something only when the blog recipe demands but not upon his requests, which happens to be a fact. My both kids are not at all tempted and don't touch deep fried foods, especially the vadas / bahjias kind of stuff and my mother keeps telling me that it's all my doing. I tell her that it's a blessing in disguise. 😉 And so, I kept postponing this recipe until last month only ending up trying it twice because I was not very happy with the recipe and also the pictures I took. 

I followed Sandeepa's recipe for these chops. The first time I followed the method of boiling and grating vegetables and then cooking to dry up any moisture present. I felt the mixture was on a softer side at that time though on hindsight I realize it was perfect and I did not do two things which would have given me the perfect chops. She mentioned adding some bread crumbs / flour if the mixture appeared to be in need of binding. I did not do it. The second thing was I did not coat the rolls generously with bread crumbs which made some of the rolls to fall apart while deep frying. I shallow fried the remaining chops that time. The second time I chose to grate carrots and beets and saute in a pan, without any water added. I cooked the potatoes separately and dried them thoroughly. The resulting mixture I made for rolls was on a drier side and made perfect rolls. I choose to deep fry the first time going the authentic way but the second time I chose to opt for shallow frying. I coated with seasoned bread crumbs lightly since I was shallow frying but coat generously if deep frying. My husband suggested to try air frying them since everything in the rolls except the slurry was cooked so that I can avoid the hassle of frying. I wasn't sure and went ahead with shallow frying. Also here is an important tip to note. Taste the mixture used to prepare chops before hand and keep it on a spicier side since the vegetables used here are naturally sweet. Otherwise the chops end up being sweeter and one may not enjoy if expecting some chatpata cutlets.

Ingredients for bhaja masala:
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
6 cloves
12 peppercorns
3 green cardamom
1/2 inch cinnamon piece
2 or 3 dried red chillies
1 tiny bay leaf

Ingredients for the rolls:
2 big sized carrots
2 medium sized beetroot
2 big sized potatoes
2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. minced ginger
2 to 4 finely minced green chillies (Adjust the quantity as needed.)
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste
1/4 cup toasted, skinned and halved peanuts
1 tbsp. finely minced cilantro
Bread crumbs / all purpose flour (optional)
Oil for frying

Ingredients for the slurry:
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup water or more
Step 1 - Directions for preparing bhaja masala:
* Saute the spices individually on low flame without burning. One can make bhaja masala just with cumin seeds and red chillies.
* Let them cool and then grind them together finely.

Step 2 - Directions for preparing the mixture for chops:
The vegetables used are beetroot, carrot and potato. Either you can boil them and then grate / mash them. Or grate and cook beets and carrots while boiling and mashing the potatoes separately. I have tried both the methods and thought the second method makes the veggie mixture firmer compared to the first method. If one is trying these chops for the first time, then I recommend to grate and cook the vegetables. Or if following the first method, drain the cooked vegetables thoroughly and use some binding if needed.

Method 1:
* Peel and pressure cook the vegetables (without chopping) adding enough water for one / two whistles. When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and drain the vegetables.
* Mash potatoes. Grate beets and also carrot if you can or mash the latter. The vegetables don't need to be finely mashed. It is ok if they are grainy.
* Heat a tsp. of oil and add ginger, green chillies, prepared vegetables, 1 heaped tbsp. of bhaja masala, salt, chili powder. Saute them together until the excess water dries up and the mixture comes together. Add the roasted peanuts and coriander and mix. If needed 2 tbsp. of bread crumbs or all purpose flour can be added for binding. (My mixture still was loose and I did not notice the tip of adding flour or crumbs to bind which is crucial, I guess. Also I sauteed just the vegetables and added other ingredients just to combine.)

Method 2: (I halved the recipe the second time.) 
* Peel, chop and boil potatoes in a microwave or on stove-top and drain completely. Mash and keep it aside.
* Peel and grate beets, carrots and ginger. Chop the green chillies finely.
* Heat oil in a pan and add green chillies and ginger. Saute them for about 30 seconds and add the grated carrot and beets. 
* Cover and cook on low medium flame until the vegetables are done.
* Add bhaja masala, salt, chili powder to the pan and mix. Turn off the stove and add peanuts, and coriander leaves. Taste and add chili powder more if needed. Keep the mixture spicier since the carrots and beets are on the sweet side. 
Step 3 -  Directions for shaping and coating the chops:
* Mix all the ingredients well to combine and shape them into the traditional oblong shapes or as discs. (These rolls were from the first time and the second time, they were very firm. )
* Sieve chickpea flour and make a lump-free slurry adding water. All purpose flour / cornstarch can be added instead of chickpea flour.
* Take a roll gently and dip it in the chickpea flour slurry coating it's entire surface.
* Gently lift the roll and let any extra liquid coating it drip into the flour slurry bowl. Immediately roll in seasoned bread crumbs. Repeat the steps of dipping the roll in slurry and coating them in bread crumbs with all the vegetable rolls. If deep frying, coat them with bread crumbs a little more than my rolls shown below. I have coated them lightly. Refrigerate them for about an hour. The rolls at this step can be refrigerated for 3 - 4 days and can be fried later when needed. Or can even be frozen for a longer period of time given that they are thawed before frying them. (These rolls were made following the second method where beets and carrots were grated and then cooked. The rolls were easy to shape and they held the shape even after dipping in slurry.) 
* I coated a batch of rolls in semolina since the bread crumbs were garlic flavored which I don't prefer. (These rolls were made the first time, from boiled and then grated vegetables. They held the shape but after dipping them in slurry, I had to reshape a few rolls and were not perfect looking.)
Step 4 - Frying the chops:
* Heat oil in a frying pan without bringing it to smoking point. The quantity of oil depends upon whether one is deep frying or shallow frying the rolls. When the oil is hot, add the prepared rolls to the pan. 
* Keep rotating and fry them to golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon, draining as much oil as possible. Transfer them to a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat the frying step with the remaining rolls. Serve them immediately sprinkling some chaat masala and ketchup / spicy chutney.

So far my recipes in the series of 'Indian Snacks and Sweets' are below.

First week - Indian Traditional Sweets
Malaadu / Hurigadale Unde
Dry Gulab Jamun
Coconut Burfi / Kobbari Mithai
Almond Halwa / Badam Halwa
Elaneer Payasam
Godhuma Sojjappalu

Second week - Snacks from Gujarat, India
Damni Dhokla
Doodhi Muthia / Lauki Muthia
Dal Pandoli
Methi Khakhra
Pressure Cooker Khandvi

Jhal Muri
Jowar Kothimbir Vadi
Kalmi Vada
Ooty Varkey
Dahi Gujiya

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#104
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Click here to enter


Harini R said...

Fantastic chops there, Suma. I also followed the same recipe except I didn't deep fry or shallow fry. Since I also skipped adding crumbs to vegetable mixture, I was sure it would fall apart in the oil and so didn't go that route.
Thoroughly enjoyed all the snacks posted this month. Looking forward to the recap so I can bookmark the recap :)

Srivalli said...

Suma, that's a wonderfully done veg chops, great you tried both deep and shallow frying. These tastes great. I enjoyed all your recipes this month and so many bookmarked for later! Glad your hubby enjoyed some deep fried food, though thinking about it, my kids are not into deep fried too, maybe this gen is like that? Anyway as long as they enjoy some food, its fine with us.

thanks for the run together!

Amara’s cooking said...

Grating beets and carrots and sautéing them sounds really nice Suma. That makes it easier to handle than cooking and grating. Your Shallow fried chops are sinful.

vaishali sabnani said...

Awesome chops ! We loved them and I agree that you got to make them spicy , else they land up being quite sweet . I too made them spicy , and Suma , you must treat your hubby with fried food yaar - once in a while it’s ok ! In our case it’s the other way around , he is the one who doesn’t want fried - taste really doesn’t matter ! But for me it has to be tasty - then fried bhi chalega 😜.
Suma it has been a great marathon , and I have loved your detailed notes ! Keep rocking !
And yes - will look forward to the Thali theme from you . 😄

sushma said...

Veg chops look so sinful Suma, they have come out so well. Lovely pictures.

Narmadha said...

Excellent and well made veg chops. Looks so tempting. I always like to shallow fry but people in home like deep frying.