Oriya cusine boasts of typically low calorie preparations which are easy to prepare and good to eat. The dominant spices are besara(mustard seeds ground with garlic), and pancha-phutana (mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek and black cumin ). The main course invariably incorporates rice, dal and various vegetable prepartions.
The low oil and spice content invariably makes it a delight for the calorie consious and those suffering from high blood pressure and hyperacidity related disorders.
In most Odia homes, a pakhala meal calls for the inclusion of the 'Ulli piyaja' or sambar onions as they are commonly known. So, it hardly comes as a surprise that almost everyone with a vegetable patch would be found growing a batch of these flavorsome onions. They are a hardy lot requiring minimum care and even a small patch yields enough to last through the summer season when 'Pakhala' becomes the staple food of a scorched Odisha.
But it is not only the onions that are prized. Even the leaves are quite tasty and can add a lot of flavor to the dals or other mixed vegetable curries ( especially santula ).However, my favorite recipe with those greens happens to be the yummy fritters that they yield .
It is a rather unremarkable recipe that just calls for the use of a bit of rice paste that acts as the binding agent. But the taste is simply unparalleled. These fritters can be had with Pakhala or hot rice though you will definitely get tempted to bite into a few straight from the skillet.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 15 mins
2 cup chopped onion greens ( tightly packed )
1 small onion ( finely chopped )
1 tsp sesame seeds
salt to taste
3 tsp oil
For the rice paste -
1/4 cup raw rice
2 pinch cumin seeds
1 dry red chili
Preparation - Wash and soak the rice for 3-4 hours. Grind into a smooth paste along with the cumin seeds and red chili using little water.
Muddle/crush the onion greens and potatoes lightly. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add just enough of the rice paste ( 2/3 of the given quantity is enough ) to bind the greens. Sprinkle salt and the sesame seeds. Mix everything.
Cooking - Heat a thick bottomed skillet. Drizzle oil over it.
Take about two teaspoonfuls of the spring onion mixture for each fritter and place it on the skillet. Flatten it a bit but do not spread it too thin. Let it cook on a low flame till it turns a little brown on one side.
Flip it over. Drizzle a little more oil on top. Cook to a similar brown hue.
Remove and serve immediately with hot rice or Pakhala.