For the filling
- 400 g beetroot
- 200 g carrot
- 400 g potatoes
- 30 g vegetable oil
- 30 g peanuts
- 20 g coconut
- ½ tsp panch phoron
- 6 g green chilli
- 30 g ginger paste
- 8 g coriander leaves (optional)
- 10 g ghee
- 20 g salt
- 35 g sugar
- 4 g amchur (dry mango powder)
- 2 g cumin seeds
- 5 g fennel seeds
- 20 pcs peppercorns
- 4 pcs dried red chillies
- 1 pc cinnamon
- 2 pcs cardamom
- 8 pcs cloves
- 4 pcs bay leaves
- 30 g flour
- 200 g breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
Bengali vegetable chop (also called 'beet chop' or 'veg cutlet') is widely popular in roadside chop stalls or cabins in Kolkata. The main ingredient here is beetroot, which lends the chop its characteristic vibrant maroon colour. A landmine of flavour and texture (from the different vegetables and nuts used), this recipe uses a unique blend of freshly ground spices.
Enjoy it hot off the oil, with a simple salad of onions and cucumbers, a dollop of kasundi, and tea.
- Take time to chop the beetroot and carrots instead of grating them, as chopping produces a better texture. Grating will lead to loss of juices, making the mixture soggy.
- You can bread the chops and freeze them in an airtight container for up to a month. When you need them, drop them directly in oil—no need to defrost.
- While breading the chops, keep your 'dry' and 'wet' hands separate, such that you handle the eggs (wet) with your left hand only, and flour and breadcrumbs (dry) with your right hand. (Reverse this if you're left-handed.) This is to avoid the eggs from wetting the dry ingredients and clumping them together. Anyone who has watched Alton Brown brandish his 'club hands' on television knows never to forget this crucial technique.
- Steam or boil potatoes until tender. Peel the skin off and mash them until lump-free.
- Chop carrots and beetroot into 3-cm long matchsticks. Finely chop green chillies and coriander leaves. Slice coconut slivers. Halve the peanuts.
- Grind the spice mix into a fine powder.
- Heat vegetable oil. Fry coconut on medium heat until golden. Set aside. Then, fry the peanuts until golden. Set aside.
- Temper the oil with panch phoron. Wait until it crackles.
- Add chopped green chillies and ginger paste. Fry on medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add beetroot and half the salt, to help soften the beet. Cook until it becomes slightly limp.
- Add carrots and the remaining salt. Keep cooking until the vegetables are soft, but be careful not to let them turn mushy or the chop will lose its texture.
- Add the ground spices. Cover and cook for 2 minutes to allow spices to infuse.
- Add sugar (this chop is meant to be sweet, requiring a generous amount of sugar).
- Add mashed potatoes. Mix everything thoroughly, while taking care not to break up the strands of beet and carrot.
- Keep cooking until the mixture turns completely dry.
- Turn off the heat and add ghee, along with the fried coconut and peanuts, and chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything gently.
- Once the mixture has cooled down, divide it into 50 g portions. Shape into cylindrical logs, by rolling each portion between your palms.
- For breading, in three separate dishes, take breadcrumbs, plain flour (maida), and beaten eggs. Season each of them with some salt.
- We will double-bread the chops to get a substantial, crisp crust. For that, first, lightly dust the chops in flour. This step will prevent the crust from sliding off the filling later.
- Next, dip it in the egg and shake off the excess. Then, roll it in breadcrumbs, pressing them on, so that they stick to the egg.
- Repeat the previous step once again: that is, dip the chop in egg and then breadcrumbs for a second time.
- [Throughout this process keep your 'dry' and 'wet' hands separate, such that you handle the eggs (wet) with your left hand, and flour and breadcrumbs (dry) with your right hand. Reverse this if you're left-handed. This is to avoid the clumping of the dry ingredients.]
- Fry on medium heat in hot oil (180°C), until evenly brown on all sides.
- Drain from the oil and sprinkle black salt on top.
- Serve hot with a salad of freshly sliced cucumber, onions, and beetroot.
- Perforated spoon
- Flat dishes for breading (one each for the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs)