Feb 22, 2008

Aloo Chop - a favourite oriya snack

Born and brought up in Orissa makes me an Oriya by origin and a true oriya at heart. Unfortunately most of the people I have met know Orissa because of the natural calamities and not because of the rich cultural heritage it possesses. It saddens my heart when people show their ignorance about my state saying "oh is it the same place where the cyclone happened?" It's quite depressing to know that there are lot of people in India who are unaware of the fact that Orissa is famous for its magnificent temples, for its pristine beaches and lakes, for Lord Jagannath and Rath Yatra, for its gorgeous filigiree work and lovely handloom sarees and a vibrant cuisine and.....i can go on and on :)
Now that i have let it out from my system, I would love to introduce Oriya cuisine and my motherland to all of you in my blog posts. The fresh vegetable produce in Moscow doesn't allow me to cook much of Oriya food but then once in a while I indulge my nostalgic senses and try to create an Oriya specialty the way my mom makes back home but never get the "perfect" satisfaction. There is no comparison with mom's food as hers is the best. The smell of pancha phutan (a mix of cumin, mustard seeds, aniseed, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds) in hot mustard oil, the pungent taste of mustard paste and the creamy poshto ( poppy seeds paste) in vegetables and fish, the melt in the mouth feel of Rasagulla and Chenna poda (baked cottage cheese cake) evokes delectable memories and transports me back in time. Right now I can just dream and drool!!

My post this time is Aloo chop, boiled potatoes cooked with ginger and onions, made into roundels, dipped in gram flour (Besan) batter and deep fried. This is a very common snack time specialty in Orissa.There are a variety of chops (I still don't know the reason behind calling them chops) vegetable chop, chinguri ( prawns) chop, egg chop, fish chop though all these are fried with coated breadcrumbs and not besan. Every eatery joint stocks up with these snacks specially singada (samosa) and Aloo chop which are freshly made during the evening and you find people flocking to buy them for their evening snacks. Oriya people love to eat and evening snacking is very common. I learnt to make these after I left Orissa and after umpteen number of trials and errors I have found a taste very similar to what I get back home:). These chops are perfect with bowl of mudhi (puffed rice) mixed with chopped raw onion ,mixture and mustard oil.Divine to the core!!
I finally found a guy selling them in Konkan express as Aloo Bonda.
This simple yet delicious snack is my entry for DK's Potato feast.
This also is an entry for Sia's Ode to potato.

For making Aloo chop
You need:

For the stuffing:
3 medium potatoes boiled and mashed
1 medium onion chopped finely or grated
1" pc grated ginger
1 green chili chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander pwdr
1/4 tsp turmeric pwdr
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped finely
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

for the batter:
3 tbsp gram flour ( besan)
1 1/2 tbsp rice flour
1/2 tsp carrom seeds (ajwain)
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
1/2 tsp red chili pwdr
salt to taste
1/2 cup water
a pinch of soda bicarbonate
Oil for deep frying

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan (I prefer mustard oil to get the authentic taste). Add cumin and mustard seeds, let it brown and splutter, add the grated onion and ginger and chopped green chili and fry till the raw smell goes off.
  2. Add the mashed potato and all the spices mentioned in stuffing and the salt. Mix on low flame and finally add the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Keep aside and let it cool.
  3. Prepare the batter by adding all the ingredients under batter and mix well so that no lumps remain.
  4. Add 1 tsp of hot oil while making the batter and be sure to make the batter a little thick so that it coats the stuffing nicely.
  5. Heat the oil for deep frying. Divide the potato mixture into equal lemon sized balls and flatten them with your palm.
  6. Dip each flattened piece in the batter and deep fry till golden brown. Make sure you have 1 inch of oil for deep frying in the pan. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup

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