The word ‘Chop’ has a different connotation entirely for us Bengalis. If you’re asked, “Chop khaben?”, quickly nod your head and wait to be served a plate of piping hot cutlets; because that’s literally what Chop means. The plethora of chops range from veg to non-veg preparations, and of them all, the ‘Bhejitabil’ Chop is the humblest preparation.
A winter delicacy, the Bhejitabil (Vegetable) Chop often makes an appearance during Durga Puja, especially in cities outside Bengal where patrons yearn to dig into some good-old ‘Bangali khabar’ (Bengali food). It’s a matter of invoking those memories of Bengal, of one’s hometown and birth place, the sensation of traveling back into their childhood, of roaming ‘paras’ and visiting Pandals, armed with a plate of Chop-cutlet or ‘Telebhaja’.
These ‘chops’ are best made in winter, when the beetroots are red and lush, the carrots deeply orange and peas are in abundance…though the lack of one shouldn’t stop you, if you’re craving for some Bhejitabil Chop 😉
Bengali Vegetable Chop/Bhejitabil Chop
- Beetroot – 2, medium
- Carrot – 2, small
- Potato – 1, large
- Green chili – 2 or 3
- Green peas – ½ cup (frozen)
- Dry roasted spices/Bhaja moshla: 1 tbsp
- Peanut – ¼ cup, fried until golden.
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Sugar – a pinch
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Refined oil – for deep frying
For the coating:
- Cornflour – 2 tbsp
- Breadcrumbs – 1 cup approx…more if needed
- Salt – a pinch
- Grate the beets, carrots and keep aside.
- Boil the potatoes, cool and mash.
- Heat a pan, and add oil.
- To this, add the peanuts and fry until golden brown.
- Drain and keep aside.
- To the same pan, add the grated beet and carrots, and peas.
- Now saute on medium until the veggies become soft, almost mashable.
- To this, add the mashed poatoes, and green chilies..
- Add salt, sugar and the bhaja moshla, and green chilies.
- Add garam masala, and the peanuts, give a final mix and switch off gas.
- Cool the mixture enough to be able to handle.
- Now make oval-shaped logs, or round patties, and keep aside.
- Prepare the coating by making a thin slurry with the cornflour and water.
- Dip each chop in the cornflour slurry, and roll in breadcrumbs until coated thoroughly.
- Repeat process, and when all the chops are done, refrigerate for 15 mins.
- Heat a deep-bottomed vessel with oil for deep-frying.
- Fry each chop on medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp.
- Drain on to kitchen towel, and serve hot with some ketchup or kashundi.
For the Bhaja Moshla, dry roast:
- Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
- Dry red chilies – 3 to 4
- Cool and grind to a coarse powder.
- Store in air-tight container. Keeps well for 4 to 6 months.
This is my Dida’s (Nani’s) recipe…you may also add coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom, and bay leaf to this if you wish, before dry roasting, and grinding.
NOTE: You can boil the beet and carrots with the potatoes and mash and them cook them too.
If using fresh peas, boil them and add to mixture while sautéing.