At first, I used to wonder why.
I mean, what has the bhaja to do with a lot of oil, quite did not make sense to me then.
And then I slowly realised that most of the people who reacted this way are non Bengalis and the actual meaning of the 'Bhaja' is lost in translation.
It made me think of what Devdutt Pattanaik had said in one of his programs on the tv ... how the intricate details of our culture and ancient writings could not be explained or named by the English with their limited words .... hence they categorised everything under one word - 'mythology'.
The same way, non Bengalis have no idea of the word 'Chanka' and categorise eveything under the name 'fry' ... the straight literal translation of the bhaja.
Except for the brinjal / Begun / aubergine, every other vegetable that is called a bhaja or fry is stir fried.
And that is possible with a very limited amount of oil too.
And nowadays, it can be almost oil free too ... thanks to non stick cookware.
I, however, do not use non stick cookware at all and stick to the good iron kadahis ... which are excellent to stir fry in, with very little oil, once they are seasoned well.
The brinjal / Begun is deep fried because it has a tendency to soak up oil. So when deep fried, it can be drained well and does not hold back the oil.
Similarly, the Luchi, every Bengali's favourite, is deep fried, while the Porota is not.
So we say "Luchi chanka hocche " and "Porota bhaja hocche".
And every Bengali will have at least two or three vegetables bhaja on their plate for lunch or dinner. Or for the jolkhabar / breakfast or along with in-between meals too.
And no, they are not soaked with oil and neither are they unhealthy too.
Are quick to make and the lightest of way to enjoy vegetables.
I have the Aloo Potol bhaja for you today.
I have got some very good Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd this summer.
While I am usually happy with the Potol bhaja / Potolo pithau bhaja (this one is my favourite ) along with some dal and rice, I did make some Chenchki, aloo diye bhaja and also a Potoler Rosa / curry with gravy.
And yes, the Potol posto too.
I did not make the Potoler chop this time but if you want to try it, the recipe is here.
Also it has the recipe of the Aam Kasundi that I had made for the very first time.
I had clicked these snaps so thought of making a quick post on this.
And also share a good news - just saw this morning that Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn has been listed among the top 100 food blogs on the planet by Feedspot.
And I get a badge too , to display on the blog! 😊
You can check it out on the right column.
So could not wait to hurry over and thank all of you for your love and encouragement and comments and interactions ... all of which give me that push to keep blogging and posting.
Makes all the efforts of cooking, clicking, cleaning up, making the time to sit down and write to you here .... very very worthwhile.
I am so glad to be able to share this blog and little parts of my life with you !!
Now, to make the simple Aloo Potol er bhaja.
Aloo / Potatoes - 2 medium sized, cut into medium thick slices
Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd - 5 medium sized, cut into slices
Onion - 1 big, cut into thick slices
Mustard oil / any oil - 1 tbsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp or less
Salt - to taste
How to :
Heat a kadahi well.
Add the oil and spread it all over.
Add the onions and stir fry on low heat till they turn pink.
Now add the potatoes, the pointed gourd , haldi powder, red chilli powder and salt.
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
Do remember to check and stir them once in a while.
Remove cover and fry them in the open till the potatoes turn slightly brown.
Remove and serve hot.
bhaja goes very well on the side with dal and rice or when paired with rotis or parathas.