Among the many kolagach (banana plant) products Bengalis have thought to turn into delectable food items, kachkola’r kofta (raw banana kofta) remains an eternal favourite. Kachkola’r kofta are delicately spiced, deep-fried raw banana fritters. Boiled kachkola are mashed with boiled potatoes, onion paste, ginger, green chillies, and a host of dry spices including bhaja masala, which gives the koftas their distinctive flavour. A little maida (all-purpose flour) binds everything together. This mixture is then portioned, shaped into discs, and dropped in hot oil. We like to fry our kachkola’r boras until they are dark brown in colour (as opposed to golden brown). This leads to richer, better tasting koftas, which also don’t break as easily once introduced to the curry. This brings us to the second part of the recipe—the kachkola jhol/dalna. This raw banana or plantain curry is hot, gingery, and slightly sweet. The addition of grated coconut gives the curry body in addition to a nice texture. As always we finish this particular dalna too with some ghee and Bengali garam masala.
The green banana koftas, once fried and completely cooled, freeze very well. We usually make a large batch and freeze half for up to 30 days. Be sure to store them in an airtight box or bag. The day before you want to make the curry, move them from the freezer to the fridge and let them defrost slowly. Oh, and do not discard the green banana peels while making kachkola recipe, as you could turn them into a delicious, fiery khosha chachchari.
FOR THE KOFTA
- 400 g kachkola (unripe, green bananas)
- 80 g boiled potato
- 45 g onion paste
- 10 g ginger paste
- 10 g grated coconut
- 2 pcs green chillies (finely chopped)
- ¾ tsp cumin powder
- ¾ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp bhaja masala
- 6 g salt
- 10 g sugar
- 20 g maida
- ~150 g vegetable oil (for frying)
FOR THE DALNA
- 150 g potatoes (3cm cubes)
- 25 g grated coconut
- 40 g ginger paste
- 4 g cumin powder
- 2 g coriander powder
- 3 g turmeric
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 4 pcs green chillies
- 25 g mustard oil
- 3 pcs dried red chillies
- 3 pcs bay leaves
- 3 pcs cardamom
- 1 pc cinnamon
- 3 pcs cloves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 14 g salt
- 20 g sugar
- 10 g ghee
- ¼ tsp Bengali garam masala
- 450 ml hot water
STEP I—MAKE THE KOFTAS
- Cut kachkola into 5-cm cross-sections and boil in a pressure cooker with 8 g salt, ¼ tsp turmeric, and 450 g water. On medium heat, one whistle should do the trick. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally. However, do not let the kachkola sit in the water for too long or it will absorb water and become soggy.
- Remove the kachkola peels and transfer the boiled bananas to a mixing bowl. Add the boiled potato (80 g) and mash the two together until lump free.
- Now add onion paste, ginger paste, grated coconut, green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, bhaja masala, salt, sugar, and maida. Mix everything until well combined.
- Divide in 30 g portions and shape into discs.
- Lower the koftas into hot (170°C) vegetable oil in a single layer. Fry them until they are dark brown in colour, turning them over often. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain from the oil and set aside.
STEP I—MAKE THE DALNA
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3-cm cubes. Make a slurry of spices by mixing ginger paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and kashmiri red chilli powder with 50 g water. Set aside.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan. Temper it with dried red chillies, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin seeds.
- Add the potatoes and fry them for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are golden.
- Add the grated coconut and fry it for about a minute. Be careful not to let the coconut burn.
- Now add the spice slurry prepared earlier and sauté it on medium heat. Whenever the mixture dries out, add a splash of hot water and continue frying. Add the salt and 2 slit green green chillies, and after a couple of minutes add the sugar. Cover the pan and keep cooking the spices until oil separates and the potatoes are done (about 6 minutes).
- Add 450 g hot water. This will form the curry. Once it comes to a boil, drop in the koftas. Simmer on low heat until the curry thickens. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with ghee, Bengali garam masala, and two more slit green chillies. Rest it covered for 2 minutes before serving.