With heavy grey-blue clouds around the corner, while downing infinite cups of coffee, it’s time to talk about the favorite monsoon snacks. Chop! Maccher chop, mangsher chop, dimer devil( that devil of a croquette with boiled half egg on one side and it’s spiced loaded better half on the other), fish fry, parardokanertelebhaja..the list is seemingly endless and I am quite sure that pretty much like me you are confused to take a pick for this evening.
You must be wondering why take desperate Bengali names when we have perfect English substitutes for the same. Even more, for an English magazine where I am happily engaged to scribble about food.
Now be true to yourself and tell me , what is it that first comes to your mind when you hear the word chop? The crispy, crumbling, fried dumplings loaded with minced meat or a perfectly decked up white hot plate with a large slab of lightly browned meat drizzled with a brown sauce? To me, it’s essentially the former. Why? Well! Blame it on my true blue Bengali blood.
So why this defined difference in the taste, aroma, texture and the very idea while the name remains the same? Once again, blame it on us, Bengalis who lovingly chose to invite the idea of chops and cutlets introduced to us by our colonial masters while we decided to make few surgical changes to it.
First of all, our chops have no bone attached to it. Sorry! We have pure, solid, gulp-able meaty indulgence in the name of chop without any ‘bony’ interruption.
Second, we are not completely happy with shanks or ribs. Carving with a fork and knife make it too much of a hard work for us and as you very well know, we love it spicy!
Third, we don’t like to tamper our fries with gravies. No brown sauce, no caramelized onions and of course no subtle apple cider flavor. We believe in digging into the soft crunch of battered bread crumbs that is essentially dry and perfectly fried.
For us, it is not braised cutlet but quite conveniently ‘breast’ cutlet because -quite simple- it’s made with a gigantic chicken breast piece.
Oh! How can we forget their native sister, the forever favorite ‘alur chop’! Softly boiled potatoes mashed with spices and fried in a thin coat of garlic infused batter. Crisp hot and perfect to go with a steaming cup of ‘cha’.
Even then, if chops mean fatty porky ones served with a side of grilled veggies, you can choose to run to the nearest spot claiming to serve delectable continental cuisine. As far as our beloved city is concerned, a day doesn’t die without a restaurant mushrooming up somewhere in some odd corner of the city.
And for the rest of us who swear by the delicious, absolutely genius indie version of chop, here’s a little peek-a-boo inside my treasured grandma’s diary.
Bangali Mangsher Chop
All you need for the stuffing
Minced mutton/chicken: 250 grams
Boiled softened potatoes: 2 medium sized
Onion: 1 large chopped
Ginger paste: 1 tea spoon heaped
Garlic paste: 2 tea spoon
Chopped green chillies: depends on your definition of spicy
Garam masala powder: half tea spoon
Cumin powder: half tea spoon
Salt: as per your taste
For the batter
2 egg whites
Bengal gram flour also known as began: half cup
Salt: small pinch
Buttermilk mixed with water: to make a perfect consistency which is neither too thick nor too runny.
Bread crumbs: 2 cups
Garlic powder: half tea spoon
Salt: just a little
Freshly ground pepper: a generous pinch.
Oil for frying
How to make it:
Very very simple. Mix the meat with rest of the ingredients mentioned under stuffing. Whip up the egg batter and keep the coating mixture ready. Now make small balls out of the stuffing, roll and make it flat, dip it in the batter, roll it in the coating mixture and fry it all in hot oil.
Onion rings, green chillies and Bengal kasundi would guarantee the extra punch while you take the first bite.
Note from BUZZ Magazine: The image used in the header belongs to http://www.daejifood.com/. The recipe, however, is 100% original Indrani’s. She just forgot to click pictures of the time when she made them.