India spoils you! Even my Argentinian friend who lived there only for a couple of years agrees.
Its people power is immense. Right now, apart from my immediate family, I miss almost everybody from my everyday life back home. From the domestic help and cook, to the go-to Auntyji next door whose door I would knock shamelessly for a bowl of sugar. Last evening I ran out of sugar while making the filling for Koraishutir Kochuri. What I had thought to be a bag of sugar in my pantry turned out to be all-purpose flour. Now if you are a Bengali, you’d know that sugar is very important for the Koraishutir pur.
Obviously since I am toting a baby these days, I couldn’t just slip into my sneakers, plug my music on and go to the supermarket on a rainy evening to get it. Instead I had to patiently wait for the husband to bring me a bag of sugar on his way back from work. Which meant waiting for a couple of hours more and also the probability that he might forget in spite of two emails and a text message; and might I add, a follow up call to check if he had received those pieces of communication.
Had I been in India, I would have used the easiest (read reliable) route to getting a bowl of the coveted sugar.
I would have either called my grocery-wala saying – Raju Bhaiya, ek kilo chini bhijwa do. And add an urgent – Jaldi!. Or walked across to my neighbour’s and said – Aunty, I ran out of sugar. Thoda sa milega kya? And Auntyji would only be too glad to fill the bowl with the white stuff and hand it over to me. She would even offer to babysit while I cooked. Later as a thank you gesture, I would send her hot Koraishutir Kochuri!
Transactions and deals like this are common in friendly, urban India I grew up in. Here I don’t really know who my next door neighbour is. He is an elderly gentleman who nods a polite hello whenever we see him in the hallway. We have never exchanged a word beyond that. And I am pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate if I knocked on his door begging for a bowl of sugar. Maybe I should make the first move and call him over for some Kochuri and Alur Dom. I wonder if he would ask for the recipe too!
Ingredients for Koraishutir Kochuri are:
500 grams fresh (or frozen) green peas (shelled and coarsely ground)
2 inch ginger (paste)
2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Pinch of asafoetida
2-3 tablespoons mustard oil
1 cup Maida – Atta combination
Vegetable/Canola oil for deep frying
Let the mixture cool down till you are able to handle it with your hands. I sometimes make my peas filling a day before I am making the Kochuri, it saves up a lot of time on the day I am actually making it.
Knead maida-atta with some water, one tablespoon vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Keep aside covered with a lid or a moist tea cloth for an hour. Give it a quick knead again. The dough should feel like a baby’s bottom under your fingers. Heat one cup of vegetable oil in a thick bottom wok.
Make small balls of the dough and roll them out into discs. Fill in the peas mixture (about one tablespoon in each) and round the dough between the palms of your hand. Roll them again as you would make puris.
Let the oil heat up before you slide the Kochuris in. Give both sides a minute each before turning. Use a spider to take them out of the oil. Drain each Kochuri on paper towels to get that excess oil out.
Because the Kochuris are filled in, they wouldn’t always fluff up like a luchi/puri.
But mine did! Go figure.