THERE is something about the rains that makes us hungry. Not only hungry, but yearning for snacks that are spicy, preferably piping hot, and if possible, deep fried. This is the season to enjoy assorted pakoras and the perennial favourite samosas. Alas, the doctors and nutritionists have scared us enough about trans-fats that choke arteries to give us a long-lasting guilty conscience. Somehow, the ‘baked samosas’ or ‘air-fried pakoras’ do not satisfy the craving and we are left to our own devices to celebrate the heavy downpour that keeps us indoors.
Following the Enlightened One, the Buddha, we choose to tread the middle path. We try to keep our snacks spicy, and preferably piping hot, but substitute pan-grilling for deep-frying and also blend steamed savouries with hot dips to considerably lighten the intake.
Two of our favourites at present are the spicy tortilla chickpea wrap and rikwach discs (closely related to arbi ke patode) that are steamed, then pan-grilled and served with a hot peri-peri dip/sauce or an unusual kasundi dressing on a bed of homemade tomato sauce. We strongly urge you to try the duo this monsoon.
We have many friends who crave for sweets, and not savouries, as soon as rain-bearing clouds begin to gather. Homemade malpua is what makes them drool. Few have memories of anarse — sesame seeds crusted rice flour cakes. Not that we have forgotten them. Barkha ritu spans across four months (chaturmas) and there is plenty of time to renew our acquaintance with lip-smacking delights — sweet as well as savoury.
TORTILLA CHICKPEA WRAP
Tortilla bread 4
Chickpeas (soaked overnight, or at least 1 hour in hot water) 1/2 cup
Onion (small) 1
Tomato (medium) 1
Coriander (fresh leaves) 1 tbsp (or to taste)
Chilli flakes 1 tsp
Black peppercorns (freshly ground) 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder (optional) 1/2 tsp
Chipotle sauce 1 tsp (or to taste)
Sweet chilli sauce 1 tsp
Green chilli 1-2
Salt to taste
Oil to pan-grill
- Pressure cook the chickpeas for 35-40 minutes on medium-low flame. Mash about half of the chickpeas with the back of the ladle.
- Wash the tomato and remove the eyelet. Cut in thin discs or dice. Chop the chilli finely.
- Take a sprig of coriander and chop coarsely. Peel the onion and dice into small cubes or chop finely.
- Assemble all ingredients in a bowl, except the tortillas. Blend well.
- Warm the tortillas one by one on a girdle on both sides. Spread on a plate and pack generously with the prepared filling. Wrap into a roll. Spread a thin film of oil on a non-stick pan.
- Gently pan-grill the wraps on medium flame. Secure individual wraps in aluminum foil.
- Enjoy hot with a cup of steaming tea or coffee.
PATODE DISCS WITH PERI-PERI SAUCE
Colocasia (arbi) leaves 6-8
Gram flour 1/2 cup
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Amchur powder (optional) 1 tsp
Peri-peri sauce 1 tbsp
Kasundi 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow fry
- Prepare a thick batter mixing gram flour with adequate water and adding the powdered spices and salt.
- Spread the leaves on a tray. Now spread the batter evenly on individual leaves.
- Place another leaf over this leaf and smear it generously with the batter.
- Roll the leaves in a tube shape & secure with a string.
- Repeat the process till the leaves and batter are used up. Steam the arbi rolls in a sieve for 12-15 minutes. Allow these to cool down. Cut these into discs about 1/2-inch thick.
- Cover a non-stick pan with a thin film of oil and shallow fry the discs in batches, gently turning once.
- Drape these in peri-peri sauce and kasundi and serve. You can substitute peri-peri with hot chilli sauce and kasundi with any mustard sauce.
- You can use fresh tomato sauce laced with ginger-garlic paste to make a hotbed for this traditional patode beauty in a new avatar!
- If you don’t have arbi leaves, you can replace these with 10-12 large spinach leaves.
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