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.
Kadali Bhanda Bara (Plantain Flower Fritters with Oats)
'Ek muthi ka poshan' says my culinary God. And it sticks in my head. Jut like every other day, I go around like clockwork making breakfast and lunch for the family even as his words ricochet inside my skull. Without missing a beat, I pick up that packet of oats even as I take out the lentil jar from the cupboard. A small wok is put on the burner while I chop the vegetables. Two fistful of oats get slow roasted for 3 minutes as I carry on with my cooking. The vegetables are now being cooked and I am getting ready to knead the flour for making rotis. The roasted oats have cooled down and I give it a quick buzz to make a fine powder out of it.Three fourths of it go into my 'atta' while the rest is kept aside for lack of inspiration.
The lunch is almost ready and as I gather the ingredients for the final dish, a bulb suddenly lights up in my head. A teaspoon and half of the powdered oats make their way into the mix for my plantain flower fritters. I continue to make them the usual way, that is pan-fried with very less oil. And as every time they turn out to be delicious. Lesson learnt. Moral of the story is that it does not need to be path breaking all the time. As long as it gets the job done, it is perfectly fine.
So, here is the recipe inspired by Vikas Khanna and Quaker's #OatoberFest, a week long celebration of health and nutrition -
Preparation Time - 10 mins
2 cups cleaned and chopped plantain flowers
1 1/2 teaspoon Oats
1 1/2 teaspoon besan
1 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp red chili powder
a pinch of garam masala
salt to taste
2 tsp oil for pan frying
Preparation - Add the chopped plantain flowers to a saucepan of boiling water for 5 mins. Drain and wash under running water to remove all bitterness.
Squeeze out all water before transferring to a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients along with very little water to get everything together.
Cooking - Drizzle a few drops of oil on a ceramic pan. Once it is hot, add small portions of the mixture to the pan and pat gently to spread into a layer which is about 2-3 mm thick.
Cook till done on one side. then flip it over and add some more oil.