Bengali cuisine is one of the most diverse cuisines of India. The flavours, textures and the sheer variety of dishes that come under the umbrella of Bengali cuisine is in itself astounding and makes it so unique. Another distinct quality of Bengali food is using flowers, seeds, stems, fruits, leaves and every other possible edible part of a plant to cook. Not to forget, this was a coping mechanism developed during the Bengal famine but this art of cooking has now been assimilated in the lifestyle of Bengalis all over the country and the world.

While we are talking about using all the parts of a plant, how can we possibly leave out bananas? It is one plant that Bengalis devour from top to bottom. Banana fruit is eaten both raw and ripe, its leaves are used as plates, the stems and flowers of banana are also eaten as delicacies. Out of these, let us talk about the cult status that mocha has acquired in the Bengali kitchens. A result of its colonial past that forced people to cook stems and flowers in the absence of proper food, mocha or banana blossoms became a very important part of Bengali cuisine. And now, it is seen as a dish that accompanies joy, laughter and the nostalgia of all our childhoods, when our grandmothers would make mochar ghonto or mochar chop for us. In the hustle-bustle of urban life that is marred by deadlines, dishes like these which take up a bit of your time have been left behind. Let us try to revive them and relish hot mochar chop or banana blossom cutlets with the recipe below.

Mochar chop - | Instagram - @theeatingsuitcase

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped mocha or banana blossom florets
  • 2 medium boiled potatoes
  • 1 medium chopped tomato
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4-5 green chilies chopped
  • 2 tsp dry roasted spices
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2 cups refined oil
  • 1 bowl bread crumbs
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • ½ cup maida
  • salt as per taste

Method

  • Take the banana florets, add salt and turmeric powder and cook it till 2 whistles in the pressure cooker.
  • Meanwhile, mash your potatoes and heat up mustard oil in a pan.
  • Add the onion and cook till light brown.
  • Add the ginger paste and cook till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now, add tomatoes and salt and cook till they are mushy.
  • Add all the powdered spices except the dry roasted masala and amchur.
  • Add the mashed potatoes and cooked banana florets.
  • Cook till the mocha mixture is dry and then add dry roasted powder masala and amchur powder.
  • Take off the heat and let it cool.
  • In the meantime, prepare your corn flour slurry.
  • Add the corn flour, maida and salt and make a medium consistency slurry.
  • After the banana mixture is cool, use your palm to give them the shape of cutlets.
  • First dip the cutlets into the slurry and then into the bread crumbs.
  • For the best results, refrigerate the cutlets for an hour before frying.
  • Heat up the refined oil and deep fry your cutlets.
  • Serve this crispy and delicious mochar chop with sauce or chutney.

Mochar chop is not a very difficult preparation, minus the time that is taken to separate each of the banana florets. It is a dish that is reminiscent of many of our childhoods and we all deserve to go down that lane of nostalgia every once in a while. Follow this recipe and make mochar chop to enjoy the rustic taste of domestic Bengali cuisine.