It is the story of the lovechild of Mister Patōl and Miss Uchche, the unsung Kankrol. And its creator Purabi Mashi.
There is something about Kankrol and Pritha Dutta’s Mother - Purabi, I will fondly call Mashi* from hereon. Remember that adhunik by Kishore Kumar Tare ami chokhe dekhini, my feelings for Kankrol and Purabi Mashi can be summed up in its first two lines…
When I posted a recipe request and information on Kankrol on Facebook, one of the readers Pritha Dutta, shared a recipe which is her Mother’s. I had hit a pot of gold.
I had never eaten Kankrol until today. So I went back and forth with her on questions which would be rather obvious to certain more advanced cooks. But an intermediate cook like me has her challenges and blonde moments.
The much needed hand holding from Pritha had me doing this Stuffed Kankrol for lunch today, and I adequately named it after her Mum- Purabi Mashi’r Purbhora Kankrol. Say the name out aloud and you will hear poetry in food.
Ingredients for Purbhora Kankrol are:
8-10 Kankrol, preferably of the same size
2 tablespoons posto/poppy seed paste
Half tablespoon yellow mustard paste
1 small red onion, very finely chopped
4-5 green chilies, very finely chopped
Half cup all-purpose flour
Quarter teaspoon Nigella seeds
Pinch of baking powder
Cut off the tail of the Kankrol and cut them into equal halves. Blanch the Kankrol for about 3-4 minutes and drain the water. Quickly throw them in cold water to retain the bright green color!
With a little teaspoon, gently scoop the insides of the Kankrol out, without damaging the outer shell. Retain the insides for the “pur” (stuffing).
I am sure the original recipe creator, Purabi Mashi would have done a much neater job, but not bad for a first time Kankrol “handler”.
Make the stuffing with the “steamed” Kankrol insides, poppy seed paste, mustard paste, chopped onions, green chilies and a seasoning of salt and sugar (just a pinch!).
Mash all the ingredients with your hand. Start filling the hollow insides of the Kankrol with this pur. Keep the stuffed Kankrol lined up to go into a batter!
Make a thick batter with all purpose flour (maida), Nigella seeds (kalojeere), a pinch of baking powder and salt. Whisk well to avoid lumps.
Dip each stuffed Kankrol in the batter and shallow fry in hot mustard oil. You can use Canola oil if you don’t have mustard oil.
Keep the stuffing-side up in the oil and first fry the “base” for about 1-2 minutes on low-medium heat.
I took a spoon and started dripping the hot oil over the top of the Kankrol, just to keep everything intact. With a slotted spoon, turn the Kankrol halves to the stuffing-side down. Fry again for 1-2 minutes on low heat.
The Kankrols should look crusty and golden fried at the end of their cooking time. Its important the frying is done in a wok on low-medium heat so the insides are cooked. If the oil cools down, adjust accordingly.
I did what is done by Mashi, I served it with Mushuri'r Daal and gorom bhaat. A combination only a Mother can come up with! Or a Mashi.
*Mashi is Bengali for Mother’s sister.