Kakrol Bhaja or Bhaji is our summer special side dish which we devour with steamed rice and daal. Be it summer, winter or rainy season some kind of Fritter / Bhaji is a must for our lunch or dinner time meal. In our childhood we never had to pay any heed to instructions like "don't have fried item daily" or "Eto Tele Bhaja Khash !" We sisters were as thin as wafer, so we never compromised on our daily dosage of Bhaja. Be it Aloo bhaja / Phulkopi bhaja / Sheem Bhaja / Maach bhaja / Kumro Phool Bhaja to name a few.
No, we don't get Kakrol in my part of world, but that doesn't stop me from relishing it. This summer I carried all my fav vegetables from Kolkata to Chennai and Kakrol was top on list. For this recipe we first boil, then slice them vertically. Gently scoop out the seeds to be filled in the center with the mixture of Coconut + Poppy seeds and Mustard paste. Later dip in a batter made of rice flour, besan and some spices. Deep fry till golden brown.
4-5 Kakrols (Teasel Gourd)
1/3 cup Coconut, grated
4-5 tbsp Poppy seeds
2 tbsp Mustard seeds
2-3 Green chilies
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Mustard oil
Oil for deep frying
For The Batter we need:
1/2 cup Besan (Gram Flour)
1/4 cup Rice flour
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
Pinch of Kalo Jera (Nigella seeds) / Kalonji
Salt to taste
Scrape out the rough surface of Kakrol (peeler is a great help), Boil them with little salt in an open vessel with adequate water till it softens. Cut them lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Make a thick paste of grated coconut, mustard seeds, green chilies, poppy seeds along with little salt.
Transfer it to a bowl and pour mustard oil to some zing.
In a mixing bowl, mix gram flour, rice flour, salt, chili powder and add few water spoons at a time to make a thick batter. Make sure there are no lumps and keep aside. Fill the boat shape hollow kakrols with the coconut-poppy seeds paste and keep the remaining ready in a plate.
Heat oil in a frying pan and once smoke starts coming out, reduce the heat. Take 1 tsp piping hot mustard oil from the frying pan and add it to the batter. Mix thoroughly.
Dip each stuffed Kakrol in batter, it should cover the kakrol thoroughly and then deep fry them till golden brown. While frying just remember not to fry 2-3 kakrols at a time.
Frying should be done on medium heat and do flip them regularly. Serve the stuffed kakrol fry hot. We generally have Kakrol bhaja with Dal-Chawal.