I love this time of the year. Not because it is winter which is really not my favorite season but because of the festivities which come tumbling one after the other. DurgaPujo, Halloween, Diwali, Bhai Phota, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year dazzles the calendar until December. Even while we are recovering from the aftermath of bhog-er khichuri, sondesh, nimki and naru there is a fifteen pounder turkey looming in the horizon. But being true blue Bengalis we march towards that horizon without fear. With a couple of bottles of hajmi guli we are ready to conquer every feast that any tradition can throw upon us Our only regret is that had the pilgrims known better they would have surely decided on "pathar mangsho" instead of turkey for Thanksgiving.
But this post is not about Thanksgiving. It is about a tradition stuck in between the holidays called Bhai Pho(n)ta. It is a day when Bengali sisters deem to protect their brothers by putting a dot of sandalwood and yogurt paste on their forehead. A sweet ritual to reinforce the sibling bond and spread some food and cheer in the process.
Big Sis and Little Sis are blessed that they have a loving extended family of Mashis and Kakus all around them. A model elder sis to look up to, best friends who double up as cousins and younger brothers and sisters of all ages. The set up is almost as good as a joint family without the added baggage. I can let BS have sleepovers without a thought at her BFF's home because they have practically grown up together and I know these are the homes where the children are loved without judgement.
So it only natural that the two little cute and smart twin brothers whom BigSis had visited only few hours after they were born and have practically seen grow up are also the ones whom she gives Bhai Pho(n)ta. It comes naturally to her, to protect these little brothers and wish them well always. LittleSis too was initially excited to give them phota but threw a major tantrum during the occasion vehemently refusing to have anything to do with the rituals.
Along with the chanting of the rhyme, the sandalwood-yogurt dot and sweets we celebrate this day every year with lots of food. This year Kakima, my friend N's(the twin's mom) mother is visiting and so most of the wonderful food (which included a tasty salad by N's dad, shukto,dhoka and a rezala) was cooked by her. All I did was make a Roshogollar Paayesh and Keemar Chop.
Now this Keemar Chop is not really like the Mangshor Chop my Ma makes. Hers is a little more complicated where she makes an outer casing of potatoes and stuffs it with spicy mutton keema which she then dips in egg wash, rolls in bread crumbs and then deep fries in hot oil.
My Keema Chop however is simplified; like everything else I do in life. Haven't heard anyone complaining though.
Start off with 1 lb of Chicken Keema
Heat 2tbsp oil in a fry pan.
Add 1 medium sized onion finely chopped and fry till it is soft and pink with browned edges.
To above add
1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste,
1/2 tsp Cumin powder, 1/2 tsp Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp Red chili powder(more to taste)
and saute for a minute
Add the chicken keema. Add salt to taste. Mix well and cook the keema with the spices until keema is no longer pink and is cooked. Sprinkle 1/4tsp of Garam masala. At this point taste and adjust for seasoning.
Once the keema is done, cool. Then add it to a blender and give a whirr to make a crumbly kind of mix. Do NOT blend to a fine paste.
Meanwhile boil 2 large potatoes.Once cooled, peel and mash with salt to taste.
Next with your hands mix all of the the following
the prepared keema
a clove of garlic minced
2-3 green chili finely chopped
little beet noon or rock salt
a pinch of sugar
Scoop out small portions of the above mix and fashion them into thick disc shapes or oblong shapes.
Here comes Deep Frying
Now prepare for frying and set up the following
Egg Wash i.e two eggs beaten with a tbsp of water --> A flat platter with Seasoned Bread Crumbs --> Hot Oil for deep frying
Note: I season the bread crumbs with garlic-pepper powder
Dip the chop/croquette in egg wash --> roll in bread crumbs --> fry till golden brown on both sides. Note: I have noticed that after the chop/croquettes have been rolled in brad crumbs if you let them rest in the refrigerator for half hour , the coating is better.
Sprinkle the croquettes/chop with some chat masala or beet noon and serve with chopped onion, mustard and Ketchup
The giveaway winner will be announced tomorrow night. You still have time to participate.