My National #ChaiPakodaDay entry: Paat Patar Bora (Jute Leaf Fritters)
There are a few sure-shot ways to please a Bengali: one of them is food. Talking about food, you will find some kind of Bora or fritters in a traditional Bengali thali. Although we don’t indulge in deep-fried food often, but when it is raining and the weather gets cold or it’s a festive occasion, then we excuse ourselves from the “low-oil dishes” and surrender ourselves to the crisp-fried Bora or fritters in the perfect Bengali style. By the perfect Bengali style we mean that you have your favourite book in one hand, a warm cuppa tea by your side, Bengali music playing in the backdrop, a few friends to build up the Bong adda and of course, some delicious Bora to complete the scene! This combination always works for a Bengali.
These crispy Jute-leaf fritters are just perfect for the monsoons!
Coincidentally, my Paat Patar Bora post is a good way to celebrate the #ChaiPakodaDay which will be celebrated for the first time on July 30th, 2017. Thanks to the one and only Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, who has teamed up with a few foodies and came up with the idea of celebrating Indian food on certain days of the year, the last one being #PulauBiryaniDay, celebrated successfully very recently. When Rushina asked me whether I was interested in blogging and posting a recipe on the theme of #ChaiPakodaDay, I readily agreed, as I thought it is always good to share a not-so-common Bengali Pakora recipe with you all on the occasion of our very own desi excuse: the #ChaiPakodaDay! Do follow this hashtag across the social media to see all those droolworthy pictures and recipes that Indian foodies all over the world will post on this day. I will share another recipe on 30th July, so stay tuned.
Tender jute leaves from Kolkata. How do you cook Paat Shaak? Do let us know.
Tender Jute leaves (Paat Shaak or পাট শাক in Bengali) are available in monsoons. The leaves are soft and very nutritious. It is also great for digestion, if taken in moderation. There are a few great Bengali recipes with Pat Pata or Jute leaves, but this recipe of Paat Patar Bora tops the list for me. These jute greens don’t need any strong masala as such as these have a food flavour and texture of their own. But according to my maternal grandmother’s expert cooking, Ajwain (carom seeds in English or Jowan in Bengali) is the spice that works the best with these jute greens. This Bora is a simple recipe, but the trick is to add ajwain seeds to the batter for that rustic Bengali flavour. We Bengalis hardly use Ajwain in our cooking, although its lookalike Radhuni is often used in Bengali cooking. This recipe an exception.
Paat Shaak is full of nutrients too!
Paat Patar Bora (Jute Leaf Fritters) for #ChaiPakodaDay
[Only tender jute leaves are used for this recipe. Discard the stems. I will not go by measurements, since it is my grandmother’s recipe. In olden days, Indian cooks measured with eyes, mind and experience, rather than proper measurements. I will stick to that for the first two ingredients in this recipe.]
- Tender Jute leaves (_Pat shak_ or Pat pata in Bengali): A big handful
- Rice flour mixed with water to make a thick batter: sufficient to dip and coat all the leaves
- Semolina or suji: 2 tbsp
- Carom seeds (_Ajwain_ in Hindi or Jowan in Bengali): 1 tsp
- Warm mustard oil: 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder or paste: ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder or paste: 1 tsp
- Salt: 1 tsp or according to taste
- Baking soda: ½ tsp
- Sufficient mustard oil for deep-frying
- Wash the Pat Shak and pat dry slightly. Chop roughly.
- Add the warm mustard oil, semolina, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and baking soda to the rice-flour batter. The batter has to be very thick.
- Mix the leaves with the batter. Check and adjust the salt at this stage. Allow to rest for 5 min.
- Heat the mustard oil until smoke is released. Simmer the flame. Add around 1 tbsp of the leaves smeared with the batter, at a time. Don’t overcrowd the Kadhai or the cooking utensil with too many fritters or Bora at a time. Otherwise, you will not get crispy Boras.
- When one side of the Bora is golden-brown, flip over and fry till both sides are evenly coloured. Do not cover the utensil while frying. Also, the flame should be simmered throughout the frying process.
- Remove on an absorbent paper and serve this Bengali Bora immediately with a hot cup of tea or with steamed rice.
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