Wednesday, July 06, 2016
It was a hot, hot day today. Temperature soared to the 90s. There was not a speck of rain anywhere.
It was also the day of Ratha Yatra. The day in the month of Ashada, when the monsoons have arrived in the plains of Odissa and Bengal, and the day on which the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Balaram and Subhadra are taken to their aunt's house in a regal chariot.
My girls don't know much about Ratha Yatra. I must have told them sometime but they don't remember. I don't try either. It doesn't make sense any more.
I would rather they take to heart from Tagore's poem which was as apt in the times that he wrote it as it is now.
"Ratha Yatra Lokaranyo Maha Dumdham (The Ratha Yatra prgresses amidst throngs of people with much jubilation)
Bhaktera Lutaye Pothe Korichhe Pronam (The devotees bow down and pay their respect)
Poth bhabe ami dev ( As people bow down on the street while the Ratha is pulled, the road thinks he is the Supreme God) ,
Rath bhabe ami ,( The chariot pulled on Ratha Yatra thinks he is the Supreme God)
Murti bhabe ami dev ( The wooden idol on the chariot preens and thinks he is the Supreme God),
Haansen Ontorjami ( The Supreme Power merely smiles at this ignorance)"
-- Rabindranath Tagore
There was one aspect of Rath that I don't want to miss though. Papor Bhaja and Telebhaja, fried in the hot oil, celebrating Nature and the rains.
Though there was no rain and it was really too hot for frying, I did make some chingrir bora today. Ideally this bora or fritters is made with the very very tiny shrimp called "ghusho chingri". You can mash those with hand or make a paste on the shil-nora. I would never get that so settled for the medium sized shrimp which I chopped and then put in the mixie to make a paste.
Soak 1/2 cup of red Masoor Dal in water for half an hour.
Wash and clean 10-12 medium sized shrimp. If you have the smaller ones use a few more. In my case , I only had to defrost the shrimp.
Chop the shrimp in small pieces.
In the blender add
the soaked lentils
the chopped shrimp
3-4 green chili
sprinkle of water
and make a smooth paste.
Add salt to taste to this paste.
2-3 tbsp of chopped onion
2 green chillies finely chopped
Chopped dhonepata/coriander leaves
1/2 tsp of Nigella seeds
Beat the lentil paste with a fork till everything is well mixed up.
Heat Mustard oil in a Kadhai or Frying Pan
Once the oil is hot, take a tsp of oil from the kadhai and add it to the batter. Give it a good mix.
Once the oil is ready which you will know by putting in a small drop of the batter and seeing it bubble and rise to top, add small scoops of batter in the hot oil. Keep the heat at high and in a minute you will see the batter turning solid. Gently flip and let the other side cook. Reduce the heat to a medium-high(between med and high). In another minute turn it around again. The outside will be a golden brown by now. It will take approx. 3 minutes in all once the oil is well heated.
Remove the "chingri bora" with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Serve as a snack with tea or have it with rice and dal.
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