Everything sounds better in Bengali. One of my friends, Arundhati used to tell us a story that when her sister’s Bengali Mother-in-Law pronounces her name – its pure music! ‘Arrondhoti’ just rolls off the tongue in a very lyrical manner.
After my trip to Calcutta, I think its the misti or the sweets that add sweetness to the Bengali language. It makes Bengalis focus on literature and arts and explore their creative side rather than succumb to mundane. Think about, if I ate Rosogulla or Misti doi after every meal I would be a sweeter person too. Hint, Hint Vipul 😉
So instead of calling a vegetable cutlet a ‘cutlet‘ or a ‘pattice‘ I choose to elevates it as a Chop. It just sounds more exotic as a Chop. Now vegetable chop is a real Bengali snack. I attempted to make this snack in a Bengali manner – but failed. I say failed because while it was savory it was not similar to a chop I have had in any Bengali restaurant. Bengali’s pride over lack of commercial success of their cuisine as it has various shades that are hard to master. I suppose, it will not pass a Bengali taste test but it certainly a tasty snack. My Dad, who is visiting, declared them a hit. He is wary of my nouvea recipes but loved these chops. I brown-bagged some for lunch and folks seem to like it. I hope they were not just polite 😉
Packed with beets, sweet potatoes and carrots its packed with nutrition. Albeit I confess, it must have lost some of it in the process of frying. Though I am sure it can just as easily be baked in an oven at 375 F for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.
A clever lunch or dinner idea for Meatless Monday’s or as a side with a main meal of salad, pasta or rice. Kids will love the lovely red color and the crunch too.
Vegetarian Chop Recipe
- 1 medium beet root
- 2 red carrots
- 2 potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 chilies – finely minced
- 1 teaspoon – grated ginger root
- 1 teaspoon – garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon – finely chopped coriander leaves or mint
- 1 teaspoon – amchoor powder
- 1/2 teaspoon – cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon – garam masala
- 1 teaspoon – Lemon zest
- Pinch – Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons corn starch + 2 tablespoon water to form a thick paste
- Bread crumbs or Rava to coat
- Oil for frying
1. Pressure cook the root vegetables ( beet, carrots, sweet potatoes and potatoes) for 1 whistle. Alternately bake them at 375 for 30 – 40 minutes till soft, oiled and wrapped in a foil. Let cool.
2. Remove the skins of potatoes and sweet potatoes. Mix the root vegetables, coriander leaves, chilies and the spices (ginger- garlic, amchoor and cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt). Taste and adjust seasonings.
The root vegetable mix may be a little soft and may not form a roll yet.
3. Prepare three bowls in a row. One with the root vegetable mix, second with corn starch paste and third with breadcrumbs. Add salt, pepper and some amchoor powder to the breadcrumbs as well.
The mix will be sticky so you may use a little oil to prevent sticking to your hands.Take a little bit of the dough, roll it gently and cornstarch and then in breadcrumbs. Set aside in a separate plate. Once set, give it a rectangular roll shape.
Work through the dough mix and shape all the rolls.
4. Keep the chops in the fridge for at least 30 – 40 mins to firm up. This is important else the rolls will break. Don’t skip ahead for best results.
5. Heat oil tills it’s really hot but not smoking. Test for readiness with a small crumb from the roll. Oil is ready if it sizzles and the crumb floats to the top. Fry rolls one by one in the oil for about 2 minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels before serving. Enjoy with some hot mustard or spicy ketchup.
Note: I tried both bread crumbs and rava and both make an excellent crunchy coat. Choose either based on what you have on hand 🙂