February 19, 2016

Sajne Phuler Bora (Drumstick Flowers Fritters)

“Each day has a color, a smell.” 
                                                                           ― Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniThe Mistress of Spices
It was around 7.30 am in the morning. I dropped my daughter in her school and headed straight to Lake Market. It's always a sheer joy for me when I visit the local markets. I feel nostalgic and miss my home. I visualise my garden and all the home-grown vegetables, fruits and flowers. I see my father or my mother busy in the garden, plucking up the vegetables and the joy of contentment in their faces. I smell back my home again. This time, in the morning, is kind of a blissful moment for me. It's like revealing a mystery box every time at my each visit. Say it like getting introduced to a new kind of vegetable/ fruit or flower or learning a new recipe from your daily vegetable or fish vendors. I love the mayhem of the market and exploring the nook and corner of this place. The fresh and colourful fruits and veggies will be seen inviting and seductively shining on the big bamboo baskets. People with their sneakers on will be seen busy with their daily marketing. The fish market will look totally chaotic. All set to fetch for the fresh fish at a bargain price. The flower sellers will be seen exhibiting their collection of vibrant flowers and bouquets. Every time I wander by the array of flower stalls on the pavement, I get a weird feeling. I feel happy to see the emblazoned pavements and the freshness that infusing a kind of purity in the heart. On the other hand, I feel hollowed from the bottom of my heart as again I miss my home, my blooming flower garden. I pass by the chaiwalahs and see them busy in crouching over their stove, hurrying to satisfy the impatient customers. I love to pass by the dust, dirt, flies and diesel fumes swarming in from the main road. And again every morning I fall in love with the city ignoring all the negative sides that convince my mind every night to leave the city forever. I fall in love with Kolkata again and again.

 So the other day I found my daily vegetable seller was selling a bag full of Sajne phul or Drumstick Flowers. He might be selling quite often but I never paid that much attention to it or it always skipped by eyes. Now a day, I am introducing different kinds of vegetables to my daughter which have more food values. And at the same time, I have restricted our lunch meal to typical Bengali meal that should start  with Something bitter and ends with something sweet. You all must be knowing that a Bengali platter would not be completed if there is no Bhaja (some deep fried items) to accompany with the Dal. Therefore to go with the Bhaja (some deep fried items), we have always some vegetables to fry or edible leaves or some edible flowers. Recently I have started collecting the edible flowers and introducing them to my daughter. So when my eyes got fixed on the Sajne phul or Drumstick Flowers, I didn't hesitate for a single second but bought some. I started to recollect the memory of the big Drumstick or Moringa tree at my home, which every time gets bloomed with the profusion of white flowers and then with the drumstick pods. The long pods hanging down from the tree were always a cause for celebration time for my parents. But for me, it was like a nightmare as I never liked Drumsticks and moreover what used to annoy me more were the hairy stinging caterpillars what we call in Bengali - ShuoNpoka. Once the tree is all bloomed with flowers the caterpillars will nestle up clinging to the tree bark and then it will swarm around/ inside our house. It used to get found in our clothes or on our books and almost everywhere. One single contact with the singing caterpillars means to end up itching and scratching yourself for hours. But my parents would never cut the Drumstick/ Moringa tree. What the gardener used to do, he used to set fire on a stick to burn the caterpillars. And I used to dislike so much that site. Anyways, the flower and the pods from the drumstick tree were religiously and ceremoniously used to get cooked in my mom's kitchen,  but I never allowed them to reach my plate. Even I had never paid any kind of interest to know how those used to get cooked. Cooking is my passion since childhood but that is only restricted in making some jazzy party dishes or the dishes after my taste. Now when I became a mother, I stepped in my mother's shoe and trying each day to replicate my mother's kitchen in my kitchen. Moreover, the food blogger inside me is always tending to try out new things every time and to learn more of the food culture. So when I cooked the Sajne Phuler Bora (Drumstick Flowers Fritters) {which is one of the common items in a Bengali kitchen}, to my surprise I loved it and my daughter enjoyed it. I was thrilled with the fact that I had introduced Sajne Phul (Drumstick Flowers) in my kitchen. But my parents had a shock to believe that their daughter had changed so much. To talk about the nutritional value of  Sajne Phul (Drumstick Flowers), it is high with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. (Source -Here).  
 
 Sajne Phuler Bora (Drumstick Flowers Fritters)
{Yeilds 14- 15 Fritters}
Ingredients:
Sajne Phul / Drumstick Flowers - 100gm
Rice Flour - 2 tbspn heaped
Besan / Bengal Gram Flour - 2 tbspn heaped
Turmeric Powder - A pinch
Baking Soda - a pinch (Optional)
Salt as per taste
Kalo Jeera/ Nigella seeds - 1/4 tspn (See notes #2)
Mustard Oil - enough for deep frying
Water as per requirement
Method:
1. Wash the Sajne Phul / Drumstick Flowers thoroughly.
2. Take a bowl add all the dry ingredients. Mix well. Then add water slowly to make a semi thick batter mix well. Make sure that there is no lump remaining.
3. Now add the Sajne Phul / Drumstick Flowers mix well. The mixture should not be very dry or thick. If required then add some more water. 
4. Heat enough oil in a Kadai so that you can deep fry the fritters. Make sure the oil is piped hot before you start frying. Take a small ping-pong ball size portion of the batter and gently put in the oil. Keep on adding more portions to feel up the remaining space full of oil in Kadai.
5. Fry in medium flame until those turn brown. Take them out and put them a kitchen Towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve hot with the lunch meal or as a tea time snack.
Notes:
1. Sajne Phul / Drumstick Flowers can be cooked in many ways. One can make curry out of it by adding mustard paste and cubed potatoes. It goes well with the prawns. And one famous dish out of it is Bati Chachari (cooked with seasonal vegetables.)
2. I have used here Nigella Seeds. But I prefer Ajwain or Caraway seeds in the fritters.

Please do visit-
Date: 13th March'16
Time: 12 - 8 pm 
Venue: Uday Sadan
Golf Green
(Near Doordarshan Kendra Kolkata)

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