10:18 AM

Before KPC's Nutrifest project came into action I dint hear of this unusual sounding dish. Pantheras is yet another recipe that came into being during the British Era and if am not wrong is quite popular among the Anglo Indians living in Kolkata or in other parts of India.
Pantheras is a snack which looks like Chinese Spring roll but flavour and technique wise are quite different. As I already wrote in the first post for British influence on Bengali cuisine, that British culture of 4 P.M.s high tea was taken very well by the Bengali Babus. First the Britishers introduced this tradition and their women trained their cooks to prepare tea, snacks, baked pastries and other accompaniments for the evening tea. They brought fine china and other crockeries to serve the delicate tea along with various types of delicacies. Later the same were adapted by the Bengali Babus and evening tea became an integral part of Bengali daily life. 

Also the beginning of club culture in Kolkata helped the tradition of evening tea to settle well in Bengali life. Bengal club being the first pucca club in Kolkata brought many high tea snacks and sweets recipes into existence. This dish along with many other snack recipes like Kobiraji Cutlet (Coverage or egg covered chicken cutlet), fowl cutlet, Rissole etc were later made available in the British run clubs. Till date Tolly club carries few of these recipes along with many age old tradition that the British founders started with. 

This snack dish is a big part of that evening tea and British club culture. The Britishers in their quest to live the same lifestyle introduced many recipes and cooking techniques. which when cooked and adapted by their Bengali and Mog cooks started to change, both technique and taste wise. They started adding a little Indian spice here or replaced one ingredient there to suit the circumstances and with time this gave birth to a completely new style of dish, which was neither Bengali nor fully European but delicious nevertheless. 

While looking for Pantheras recipe I came to know that still it is available at some hole in the wall sort of eatery in North Kolkata called Boruah's. These Boruahs represent the extremely talented Mog cooks (from the Hill tracts of Chittagong) who served to Britishers and also to the Royals of Shobhabazar Rajbari. Raja Nabakrishna Deb and his family often invited and entertained the British officials during their rein, and on such occasions the Mog cooks were called for to cook various westernized delicacies for the Sahibs. 

The recipe that am sharing today is adapted from Bridget's Anglo Indian cooking. If you are a lover of Anglo Indian food then her blog is a must visit site for you. She has collected, cooked and noted down her family's traditional and authentic recipes in a beautiful manner. 

This recipe is little time consuming but is an excellent party starter. If you divide and prepare the dish in parts then you can manage the whole dish without much effort. I have already made it for quite few times and everyone  just went gaga on it. The best part is its very flexible. Try out anything for the stuffing and you will get a complete new dish in hand. I tried the same with minced meat, fish, veggies and even with finely chopped soy filling and every time it turned out just awesome. 

Here is my take on this very very delicious recipe.

(makes 3-4)

for the crepes or the outer shell
Flour: 1/3 cup
egg: 1
Milk: 1/2 cup
Water: 1/2 cup or more
Butter: 2 tsp (Melted)
Pepper powder: 1/4 tsp

Chicken Keema or Minced chicken: 2/3 cup
Potato: 1 medium; peeled and cut in small cubes
Onion: 1 medium; finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1/3 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
oil: 11/2 tbsp

Bread crumb for coating
Egg: 1
Oil for pan frying

First prepare the crepe batter by mixing everything together. Whisk well to get a thin and smooth batter. add little water to get the right consistency of spreading the batter easily. cover and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In the mean time prepare the filling. Heat the oil and add the chopped onion. Once its fried (4-5 minutes) add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gine (2 minutes). Now add all the dry spices and mix well. Add in the minced meat and potatoes. Cook till the juices are dry and the meat is soft and cooked (7-8 minutes). adjust the seasoning and finally mix in the garam masala powder. Keep aside.

To fry the crepes its better to use a god quality non stick pan. I prefer to use some spray oil to use minimum amount of fat.
Heat the pan and spray or smear the surface with little oil or melted butter. Take a medium ladle and pour some batter in it (always whisk before use). Tilt the pan to cover the surface with the batter, be quick or it will not spread properly. The crepe should be very thin so please adjust the consistency accordingly. once the sides of the crepes starts to peel off take them out on a plate and let them cool down. Do not cook the crepes on both sides.

once all your crepes are cooked start making the rolls. Place one crepe the uncooked side facing top on a plate and place a big spoonfull of the meat mixture on one side. Roll from one end and tuck the sides together (as you would do for a springroll) while rolling. Prepare all the crepes in the similar manner. Dip each in whisked egg and roll in bread crumb.

At this stage you can cool and store the same in fridger. Use an airtight container and place butter papers between rolls for easier use later.

Heat oil in a shallow pan and fry on medium till the outside is golden. Serve hot with some mustard sauce/ Kasundi or any sauce of your choice.

Information Source and Disclaimer:

All the history part of this post is original research work of the KPC Nutrifest team.

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  1. pantheras is something i devoured on as a kid frm a roadside eatery at my hometwn----these days the quality of their food has deteriorated nd i always miss that melt in the mouth feeliing----thanx for your recipe--u hav brought back sweet memories frm my childhood

  2. Such a great idea for a lunch box. Thank you for sharing!

  3. What an interesting post! I love reading about the origins of a dish and the foreign influences in a cuisine.
    I have never tried pantheras, would imagine a version without chicken, as I am vegetarian :-)
    Happy (very) belated New Year to you, Dear!

  4. First time I heard of this. Sounds interesting. Nice write up too...

  5. Totally new recipe...But the way you have explained it wants me to try this delicious peparation...

  6. My mom used to make pantheras(we call pantaras). I have been thinking of making some for months. Thanks for the reminded Sayantani. Looks fabulous.

  7. Everybody loves discover tasty latest recipes, and an event this is a perfect chance to do so.
    Chef For Hire

  8. Thanks for sharing. Indian cuisine seems like a wide influenced cuisine from British and western cultures. Good read.


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