Sunday, 18 October 2015

CHICKEN KOBIRAJI CUTLETS ~ DURGA PUJO SPECIAL


A very HAPPY DURGA PUJA to all my readers, family and friends celebrating this festival. Durga Puja is a very significant festival and heralds a whole lot of festivities for Bengalis all over the world. We have grown up amidst the rituals , traditions and festivities surrounding DURGA Puja. But this is not the case with little D who was born far away from India and who though loves any kind of rituals and celebrations surrounding these festivals is not at all familiar with any of them. Every year I try in my own little way to bring to her a minuscule part of the pomp and fervour that is such an integral part of Durga Puja.


Taking you down memory lane to the house of my maternal grandparents. Durga puja was celebrated with grandiose every year as far as my memory goes and till the time, I came away far from West Bengal, India. Ma says that my grandfather had started Durga Pujo in his home the same year she was born. It was on the behest of his mother, who had in her dreams seen goddess Durga urging her to bring her home, that grandfather started doing Durga Puja at home. Oh the magnitude of the celebrations brings a huge smile to my lips, thinking about it even to this day. We would land up in Kolkata just like all the multitudes of cousins to celebrate together the festivities. In the sprawling courtyard in front of his mammoth haveli/house, the idol of Goddess Durga would be placed beneath a sparkling canopy of glittering cloth, a pandal which is a temporary structure made with fabrics resembling a large room. The idol was so huge that we as kids had to literally bend our heads back to catch a full view of the idol. 

What fun each day would be. Mornings would commence with the chanting of mantras in chorus in front of the Goddess, which would wake us up in the slightly chilly dawn. The next thing that would envelope us would be the heady fragrance of the Shiuli (night flowering jasmine) flowers, almost covering all the leaves in the tree growing in front of the house. This fragrance would be mixed with the aroma of the incense sticks and the slow burning coconut husk perfumed by the dhoop and guggul (herbal gum) inside the Dhunuchi ( a bowl shaped earthenware held by a long stem like thing ). As we all kids, dancing and prancing would reach the mandap ( the temporary structure where the idol of the Goddess was placed), the Dhaki(traditional drummer in bengali) would start playing the Dhak/Drum. The pushpanjali (offering of flowers to the Goddess) would follow next amidst the chanting of prayers/mantras and then the pujari/hindu priest would do the aarati / a ritual where a number of small brass lamps held together on a single round brass stick, lighted up with wick immersed in ghee/clarified butter.


The lavish breakfast would follow next. Seated in long serpentine queues we would be served piping hot Luchis (fried Indian bread) along with a curry and sweets. The prayers, offering of oblations to the Goddess, beating of the drums would carry on the entire day. Evenings a huge group of cousins monitored by a few elders decked in finery would go Pandal hopping. Pandal hopping was always accompanied with savouring delicious snacks like Fish Fry, Moglai Porota, Chop, Roll and my favourite Chicken or Fish Kobiraji.



As I have mentioned right at the onset of this post, that I have been trying to recreate what best I can to acquaint little D with the above traditions, I ushered in the festivities this year by both of us paying a visit to the Henna stall and getting beautiful patterns drawn on both our palms, which set the ball rolling for the festivities. Later in the evening I made for her Chicken Kobiraji as was literally the practice, which we as kids indulged in the evenings of Durga Puja.

Chicken Kobiraji is basically a chicken cutlet covered in a mesh made of eggs. It is said the word Kobiraji was derived from the word coverage, quite a distorted form I must say, but this dish is yummy beyond words. The chicken cutlet is first made and then with a skillful movement of the fingers the beaten egg mixture is spread over the hot oil to resemble a mesh, into which the chicken cutlet is placed and then covered by folding the egg mesh on all sides. Though this is quite an indulgence, but during such celebrations, one can always take the liberty of eating these. Also these Kobirajis make for a very popular party food. The Chicken cutlets can be made in advance and frozen. So if you have impromptu guests then all you need to do fry the cutlets, beat up some eggs, and create the egg mesh in the same wok your cutlets are frying, in no time. So lets start making our Chicken Kobiraji right away.

CHICKEN KOBIRAJI CUTLETS RECIPE:

YIELDS : 2
AUTHOR : PIYALI
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : STARTER/SAVOURY SNACK
TIME : 15 MINUTES + 15 MINUTES FRYING

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE CHICKEN CUTLET:

1) 150 Gms Chicken Mince/Keema
2) 1 Tbsp garlic paste
3) 1 Tsp Oil for frying garlic and Chicken mince
4) 1 Medium Onion finely chopped
5) 2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
6) 1 Tbsp of fresh mint leaves chopped
7) 1 Tbsp of fresh coriander leaves chopped
8) 1 Tsp of ginger mince
9) 1 Egg white
10) 1 Medium sized Potato, boiled and mashed
11) 1 Bread slice, dipped in water and then squeezed out of all the water
12) 1 Tsp Chaat Masala
13) 1 Tsp Garam Masala
14) 2~3 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
15) Salt to taste
16) 1 cup of Bread Crumbs to coat the cutlets
17) 2 Tbsp Cornflour or Refined flour
18) Oil for deep frying

FOR THE EGG MESH:

1) 4 Eggs
2) 1 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
3) 1/2 Tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
4) Salt to taste

PROCEDURE FOR MAKING CHICKEN KOBIRAJI CUTLET:

1) In a pan heat oil. Add the garlic paste and saute till fragrant.
2) Add the chicken mince and saute till it is cooked completely.
3) In a large mixing bowl add cooked chicken mince, onions, mint and coriander leaves, ginger, potato and one egg white. Mix well.
4) Take one bread slice and wet it in water. Next squeeze out all the water from the bread slice by pressing it between your palms. Add this to the mixture in the bowl. Add breadcrumbs, chaat masala, garam masala, salt to taste and with the help of your all important fingers, mix them up nicely to form a soft dough.


5) Divide the dough into two equal portions and roll it between your palms to form a ball and then flatten it by pressing you palms together. In a bowl take cornflour/refined flour and add water to form a runny batter. Take your patties and dip it nicely into this batter.
6) In a plate or working surface, form a bed with the 1 cup breadcrumbs. Take your batter dipped patty and lay it on the bed of bread crumb. Cover the patty with bread crumbs.
7) Using the blunt side of a knife shape the patty to form a rectangular shaped cutlet.
8) Heat enough oil in a wok or deep bottom pan. When hot, carefully and gently drop one cutlet at a time. Fry until both sides turn golden brown.
9) Take the cutlets out onto a paper towel to absorb all the excess amount of oil. Your cutlet is now ready.


10) In a bowl break the eggs, add cornflour, salt and pepper and whisk. 
11) In  the same oil that was used to fry the cutlet, form the wire mesh by first scooping out the beaten eggs mixture with your fingers and move your fingers from one end on the wok to the other end briskly, while allowing the egg from your fingers to drizzle into the oil. 
12) Continue repeating the above process till you form an egg mesh large and strong enough to hold your cutlet. Once done fry the egg mesh for 30 seconds.
13) Now place your cutlet in the center of the egg mesh.
14) Using a spatula, bring all the sides of the egg mesh together, so as to cover the cutlet completely. Turn and fry for 15 seconds. Take it out and place it on a paper towel to absorb all the excess oil.


Serve Chicken Kobiraji hot with Kasundi/Mustard sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Onions etc.


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CHICKEN KOBIRAJI CUTLETS RECIPE:

YIELDS : 2
AUTHOR : PIYALI
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : STARTER/SAVOURY SNACK
TIME : 15 MINUTES + 15 MINUTES FRYING

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE CHICKEN CUTLET:

1) 150 Gms Chicken Mince/Keema
2) 1 Tbsp garlic paste
3) 1 Tsp Oil for frying garlic and Chicken mince
4) 1 Medium Onion finely chopped
5) 2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
6) 1 Tbsp of fresh mint leaves chopped
7) 1 Tbsp of fresh coriander leaves chopped
8) 1 Tsp of ginger mince
9) 1 Egg white
10) 1 Medium sized Potato, boiled and mashed
11) 1 Bread slice, dipped in water and then squeezed out of all the water
12) 1 Tsp Chaat Masala
13) 1 Tsp Garam Masala
14) 2~3 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
15) Salt to taste
16) 1 cup of Bread Crumbs to coat the cutlets
17) 2 Tbsp Cornflour or Refined flour
18) Oil for deep frying

FOR THE EGG MESH:

1) 4 Eggs
2) 1 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
3) 1/2 Tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
4) Salt to taste

PROCEDURE FOR MAKING CHICKEN KOBIRAJI CUTLET:

1) In a pan heat oil. Add the garlic paste and saute till fragrant.

2) Add the chicken mince and saute till it is cooked completely.

3) In a large mixing bowl add cooked chicken mince, onions, mint and coriander leaves, ginger, potato and one egg white. Mix well.

4) Take one bread slice and wet it in water. Next squeeze out all the water from the bread slice by pressing it between your palms. Add this to the mixture in the bowl. Add breadcrumbs, chaat masala, garam masala, salt to taste and with the help of your all important fingers, mix them up nicely to form a soft dough.

5) Divide the dough into two equal portions and roll it between your palms to form a ball and then flatten it by pressing you palms together. In a bowl take cornflour/refined flour and add water to form a runny batter. Take your patties and dip it nicely into this batter.

6) In a plate or working surface, form a bed with the 1 cup breadcrumbs. Take your batter dipped patty and lay it on the bed of bread crumb. Cover the patty with bread crumbs.

7) Using the blunt side of a knife shape the patty to form a rectangular shaped cutlet.

8) Heat enough oil in a wok or deep bottom pan. When hot, carefully and gently drop one cutlet at a time. Fry until both sides turn golden brown.

9) Take the cutlets out onto a paper towel to absorb all the excess amount of oil. Your cutlet is now ready.

10) In a bowl break the eggs, add cornflour, salt and pepper and whisk. 

11) In  the same oil that was used to fry the cutlet, form the wire mesh by first scooping out the beaten eggs mixture with your fingers and move your fingers from one end on the wok to the other end briskly, while allowing the egg from your fingers to drizzle into the oil. 

12) Continue repeating the above process till you form an egg mesh large and strong enough to hold your cutlet. Once done fry the egg mesh for 30 seconds.

13) Now place your cutlet in the center of the egg mesh.

14) Using a spatula, bring all the sides of the egg mesh together, so as to cover the cutlet completely. Turn and fry for 15 seconds. Take it out and place it on a paper towel to absorb all the excess oil.

Serve Chicken Kobiraji hot with Kasundi/Mustard sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Onions etc.