Kolkata style Aloor chop

8:13 PM

I was waiting for the rain God to bless us with some heavy downpour to bring out my deep-frying mode. Not being a lover of deep-fried goodies I really need a reason to bring those calories to my plate. and am happy the rain is finally here.

Monsoon this year is late. very very late.

So late that most farmers were worried to death as it delayed plantation. But as they say better late than never, we are happy that rain is finally here in full throttle. and what better way to embrace the season than some piping hot alur chop and cha?

If you have ever been to Bengal you would know, how with the setting sun the street food scenario in the state springs up into action. Telebhajar dokan is one important part of this street food culture. Telebhaja literally means fried in oil . and each and every neighborhood in this state would have at least one Telebhajar Dokan that they can vouch for. 

These batter fries and crumb fries are a post-colonial trend, a remnant of the British fries and cutlets - Indianised by some resourceful Bengali housewife to suit everyone's palate. for eg. these alur chops sure are a way to make meat-based croquet suitable for the vegetarian palate. 

Alur chop or potato chop is a simple batter fry of boiled, mashed and spiced potato patties. and is often served alongside tea and muri (puffed rice) as an evening snack. I have never been fond of Deep fries be it homemade or from these shops but have some fond memories of it growing up in a sleepy university town of Santiniketan. In collage our most favourite adda place was in such a shop. A ramshackle mud hut with stretched bamboo benches on all four sides. The streets did not have much lights back then and the shop was lit by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. While everyone talked and gossiped I often got diverted to the huge shadows created on the smoke-stained black walls.
Today when I think back it seems like another life. I can't time travel but can rekindle the memory with these alur chops that we relished with some muri and fried green chilies.

Alur chop

(makes a dozen chops)

For the potato stuffing:
Potatoes: 3, medium size, I used a variety called Chandramukhi
Ginger: 1" piece
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Green chilies: 2
Salt as per taste
Oil: 1 tsp

Besan or chickpea flour: 1 cup
Water: 2/3 cup
Soda bi carb: 1/3 tsp
Chili powder: 1/3 tsp

For bhaja masala
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies: 2

Black salt for sprinkling

Oil for deep frying. I used rice oil and mustard oil in 1:1 ratio

boil the potatoes with skin on till it's fork-tender. Drain the water and once you can handle peel and mash it to a smooth mix. Keep aside.

First, make the bhaja masala. dry roast all the ingredients on low flame till they smell toasty and crisp up. Take off heat. Cool for 10 minutes then make a powder in a mortar and pestle. keep aside.

Make the batter by sieving the besan and mixing it with water. Do not add all the water in the beginning. Mix bit by bit. The consistency of the batter would be like crepes. Thick yet pourable and flowing. Whisk to make a smooth batter. Keep covered till needed. 

Grate or pound the ginger. Heat 1 tsp oil and add chopped green chilies and cumin seeds. Once the cumin turns a few shades darker add the pounded ginger. mix with a bit of salt and cook till the raw smell is gone. Add the mashed potato and cook on medium. Mix everything and dry out the mash for 5-6 minutes. Take off heat. Cool and then mix the roasted powder and salt as per taste. Take out small lemon size balls and keep aside.

Now you are ready to fry.
Heat enough oil in a deep pan for deep frying. Keep a slotted spoon and a bowl lined with paper ready.

Take the batter and mix in the soda now. Take out 2 tsp of the hot oil and mix in the batter. 
Take a clean piece of plastic and brush some oil on it. place the potato ball on one side and fold the other side on it. Press with a flat bottom bowl to make a flat disk of potato. Invert it on your fingers and dip in the batter. Do not place the disc in the batter or it would be very difficult to take out. Just dip it while it's on your finger. Shake the excess batter and carefully drop in the hot oil. Fry them on medium heat. It will puff up and you need to fry till both sides turn a golden brown colour. Take out with a slotted spatula and place them on a tray or basket lined with paper. If you let the steam out in a perforated basket then the chops remain crisp for long. The same reason salt is not added in the batter. It is sprinkled once the shops are still hot.

Enjoy with tea or coffee.

A Homemaker's notes:

  • Do not boil the potatoes in pressure cooker. The texture would be too sticky for the tikkis.
  • Adjust the chilies and salt as per your choice.

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  1. The first pic is really awesome and I loved the wooden bowl in which you have served the puffed rice...😊


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