Thursday, 22 October 2015

ELO JHELO IN SALSA, ZATAR AND ORANGE FLAVOURS - A ZESTY UNION OF FLAVOURSOME NOTES

HAPPY DUSSEHRA AND VIJAYADASHAMI TO MY DEAR READERS





The ribbed glass jar sat high up on the highest rack in the room, where through a half opened wooden window, a spotted stream of light entered. Two heads with a pair of pigtails each were clustered together in deep conversation, hush hush though, looking up towards that ribbed glass jar from time to time. The discussion gained momentum and soon a pair of tiny feet rushed out of the room and was back half carrying, half pulling, struggling with a wooden stool. Some more whispers and then the adventure to reach that jar began. The stool creaked, swayed under the raised on toes two pretty feet with a silver anklet tinkling lightly with the movement. Hush instructions were given from below, maybe the right direction of the jar. The tiny hands trying hard to reach it. Alas even after the full extension of both hands and feet the final outcome was, the jar flying in the air for a couple of seconds before breaking the pin drop silence with its clinking shatter, as it spread a thousand sparkle on the floor. No sooner had the glass jar met its final outcome a voice rang loud and clear , who is it in the store room, followed by the scurrying away of the little feet.

That was three decades ago and the glass jar for which all this adventure had taken place that afternoon, was filled with Elo Jhelo, a savoury or sweet snack. No guesses for who the two pig tailed girls were, me and my kid sister. Ah the simplistic pleasures of childhood. Somewhere lost in the tides of time giving way to a mind which takes so long and so many steps, yet only reaches a tiny sprinkle of satisfaction. Spoonfuls of magic no longer happen in claustrophobic store rooms with rows of shelves piled one on top of the other, filled with varied patterned glass jars stuffed with savoury and sweet snacks, pickles etc. Afternoon siestas have become a luxury and childhood has been taken over by gadgets and gizmos.


Why brood over what has faded with the passage of time. Why not try to recreate those heartwarming memories again. My kid sister is on a flight heading straight to where I am and wouldn't it be wonderful to recreate that afternoon when both of us had planned the failed escapade and had been seriously reprimanded for the same. The first step was to prepare ELO JHELO which is a snack made by rolling out and shaping refined flour dough to look like a Star Fruit known as Kamranga in BENGALI and then deep frying it. The savoury ones are eaten just like that and for the sweet Elo Jhelo the fried pastry is doused in sugar syrup. After all these years to recreate that moment of intense fervour of our childhood, when with earnest eagerness we both had planned to reach the Elo Jhelo tucked away with care in the realms of the glass jar, the quintessential  Elo Jhelo had to have a flavour makeover.

We both are big fans of MEXICAN cuisine and therefore one flavour had to be Salsa , fashioned after the supremely popular dip. I have grown to love Zatar having stayed in the middle east for such a long time and now sprinkle zatar on most of my breads and many other dishes. I am totally bowled over by the flavour of Zatar and thought it would be a great idea to marry this flavour into the Elo Jhelo. Today is also DUSSEHRA and VIJAYADASHAMI and there had to be a sweet Elo Jhelo. I love the tangerine spike that orange imparts to any dish and somehow I have always associated orange flavour with Paris and my favourite street food there Crepe Suzette. So the sweet Elo Jhelo had to be orange flavoured as an ode for my love of Paris.

Let's get making the three flavoured Elo Jhelo right away.
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ORANGE FLAVOURED ELO JHELO RECIPE:


AUTHOR : PIYALI
YIELDS : 10 ~ 12 DEPENDING ON THE SIZE YOU MAKE
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : DRY SNACKS
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES RESTING TIME OF THE DOUGH + 15 MINUTES FOR DEEP FRYING + 15 MINUTES FOR COATING WITH SUGAR SYRUP

INGREDIENTS : 

FOR THE DOUGH

1) 1 Cup ( 1 Cup is 250 Gms approximately) refined Flour/Maida
2) 1/2 Cup whole Wheat Flour
3) 1 Tbsp of Orange Extract ( You can use Orange Powder, Orange pulp etc.)
4) 2 Tsp fresh Orange Zest (Optional. I use it because it contains the maximum oils and gives the strongest aroma. You may use store bought orange peel powder too)
5) 1 Tbsp of Oil/clarified butter
6) A tiny pinch of salt (optional)
7) Water to knead the dough

TO FRY :

1/2 Ltr of Oil for deep frying

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP :

1) 2 Cups Sugar
2) 1 Tsp of Orange extract
3) 1 Tsp of Orange Zest
4) 1 Cup water

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE ORANGE FLAVOURED SWEET ELO JHELO :

1) Mix all the ingredients under "FOR THE DOUGH" except water, with your hand and ensure that there is even distribution of all the ingredients throughout the mix. Add little water slowly in intervals and knead into a dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes covered.
TIP : The dough should neither be very soft nor too hard. It should be right there in between.

2) Take the dough and roll it in the shape of a log. Divide it into 10 portions and make into tiny balls. Sprinkle some dry flour on the work surface. Roll each ball into a round disc of approximately 4 inch  in diameter.

3) Cut each round disc vertically about 2 cm thickness, in a row starting from one end to other, leaving 1/2 cm from both ends vertically and horizontally. Using your fingers roll the round disc now starting from one end till you reach the other. Seal the ends by pressing them lightly with your fingers, so that they do not open up during frying.
TIP: Refer the pictures below to see how you do it. It's a very easy thing to do. Once you get the feel of it you will make these star fruit shaped snacks in no time.


4) Heat the oil to smoking and reduce the heat to minimum. Wait for 30 seconds to put in the Elo Jhelo. These snacks should be fried in low heat to get them crisp. Remember they will be stored for sometime. So don't be in a hurry. Fry them slowly until golden on both sides. Take them out on paper napkins so that the extra oil is absorbed. 

5) To coat the Fried Elo Jhelo in Sugar Syrup let's make the sugar syrup. In a deep bottom pan add sugar, water, orange extract and orange zest and bring to a boil. Simmer till you get a two strand consistency with the sugar syrup
TIP: Two strand consistency means, when you put a drop of slightly cooled sugar syrup on your thumb and press it with your first finger and then pull the finger up away from the thumb slowly two strands of that sugar drop should form between your thumb and first finger.

6) Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and leave it to cool to room temperature. This takes about 10 minutes. Take one Elo Jhelo and plunge it in the sugar syrup for a second or two. Make sure it is nicely coated with the sugar syrup on both the sides. Scoop it out and place it on a plate. Repeat the process with all the remaining Elo Jhelo.

7) Leave the Elo Jhelo to cool completely and then place them in an air tight container. They can be eaten up to a month or so. Do not refrigerate.
TIP: While cooling the ELO JHELO do not cover them as they will loose their crispness. 


These Tangerine laced sugar coated crunchy snacks are such a tasty delight. A bite fills up your mouth with sugary gooeyness followed by the a happy munch with fragrant notes of orange. They not only are great for celebrations but also children adore them as a sweet snack. They are just perfect to satiate that sudden saccharine craving. As they can be made and stored well in advance they are one must have sweet snack at home, especially if you have kids. And for Bengalis' these are a must and almost synonymous to VIJAYADASHAMI OR BIJOYA.
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SALSA FLAVOURED SAVOURY ELO JHELO RECIPE:

My understanding of fusion food is The World On A Plate. It's the dish you create when you marry the nuances of different cuisines with each other. It's that recipe when you let your creativity cross all the boundaries of your imagination. It's a platter in which you infuse the known flavours with the unknown. Put it simply it is the adaptation of ingredients and dishes from other cuisines and moulding it according to our palate. Also when you fuse different components of different cuisines and create a dish its Fusion Dish.



AUTHOR : PIYALI
YIELDS : 10 ~ 12 PIECES DEPENDING ON THE SIZE YOU MAKE
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : DRY SNACKS
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES RESTING TIME OF THE DOUGH + 15 MINUTES FOR DEEP FRYING

INGREDIENTS : 

FOR THE DOUGH

1) 1 Cup ( 1 Cup is 250 Gms approximately) refined Flour/Maida
2) 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3) 1 1/2 Tbsp SALSA
3) 1 Tsp Nigella seeds/ kalonji/kala jeera
4) 1 Tbsp of Oil/Ghee
5) Salt to taste
6) Water to knead the dough

TO FRY :

1/2 Ltr of Oil for deep frying

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE SALSA FLAVOURED ELO JHELO :

1) Mix all the ingredients under "FOR THE DOUGH" except water with your hand and ensure that there is even distribution of all the ingredients throughout the mix. Add little water slowly in intervals and knead into a dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes covered.
TIP : The dough should neither be very soft nor too hard. It should be right there in between.

2) Take the dough and roll it in the shape of a log. Divide it into 10 portions and make into tiny balls. Sprinkle some dry flour on the work surface. Roll each ball into a round disc of approximately 4 inch in diameter.

3) Cut each round disc vertically about 2 cm thickness, in a row starting from one end to other, leaving 1/2 cm from both ends vertically and horizontally. Using your fingers roll the round disc now starting from one end till you reach the other. Seal the ends by pressing them lightly with your fingers, so that they do not open up during frying.
TIP: Refer the pictures above to see how you do it. It's a very easy thing to do. Once you get the feel of it you will make these star fruit shaped snacks in no time.


4) Heat the oil to smoking and reduce the heat to minimum. Wait for 30 seconds to put in the Elo Jhelo. These snacks should be fried in low heat to get them crisp. Remember they will be stored for sometime. So don't be in a hurry. Fry them slowly until golden on both sides. Take them out on paper napkins so that the extra oil is absorbed. 

5) Allow them to cool completely. Store them upto 30 days or more in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Enjoy your Elo Jhelo simply like that or with a cup of piping masala tea or frothy coffee.
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ZATAR FLAVOURED SAVOURY ELO JHELO RECIPE:

AUTHOR : PIYALI
YIELDS : 10 ~ 12 PIECES DEPENDING ON THE SIZE YOU MAKE
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : DRY SNACKS
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES RESTING TIME OF THE DOUGH + 15 MINUTES FOR DEEP FRYING

INGREDIENTS : 

FOR THE DOUGH

1) 1 Cup ( 1 Cup is 250 Gms approximately) refined Flour/Maida
2) 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3) 1 1/2 Tbsp ZATAR POWDER
3) 1 Tsp Nigella seeds/ kalonji/kala jeera
4) 1 Tbsp of Oil/Ghee
5) Salt to taste
6) Water to knead the dough

TO FRY :

1/2 Ltr of Oil for deep frying

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE SALSA FLAVOURED ELO JHELO :

1) Mix all the ingredients under "FOR THE DOUGH" except water with your hand and ensure that there is even distribution of all the ingredients throughout the mix. Add little water slowly in intervals and knead into a dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes covered.
TIP : The dough should neither be very soft nor too hard. It should be right there in between.

2) Take the dough and roll it in the shape of a log. Divide it into 10 portions and make into tiny balls. Sprinkle some dry flour on the work surface. Roll each ball into a round disc of approximately 4 inch in diameter.

3) Cut each round disc vertically about 2 cm thickness, in a row starting from one end to other, leaving 1/2 cm from both ends vertically and horizontally. Using your fingers roll the round disc now starting from one end till you reach the other. Seal the ends by pressing them lightly with your fingers, so that they do not open up during frying.
TIP: Refer the pictures above to see how you do it. It's a very easy thing to do. Once you get the feel of it you will make these star fruit shaped snacks in no time.

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