‘Chapor Ghonto’ is a pure veg Bengali mishmash with lentil cake or patties. In Bengali ‘Chapor’ means pat. The name came probably from the process of making these lentil cakes where you need to press the cakes with ‘khunti’ (spatula) while shallow frying those in very low heat and using very little oil.
If you ask me about the origin of this recipe I won’t be able to enlighten you. Since I am a ‘Ghoti’ (Origin in West Bengal) never saw this dish cooked in my house and tasted it first from my ‘Pishi dida’ who is a Bangal (Origin in Bangladesh) I would say this is a dish from East Bengal. But when I googled to find out about this particular dish I even got confused as some mentioned it is a ‘Ghoti’ cuisine and some said it is a ‘Bangal’ cuisine. Never the less this dish is super yummy and goes very well with simple hot steamed rice.
Now about the ingredients… the main ingredient from which this dish is called ‘Chapor’ is made with ‘motor dal’ (split yellow pea) and the vegetables that are used are mostly the summer vegetables … like ‘jhinge’ (ridge gourd), ‘kumro’ (pumpkin), ‘begun’ (eggplant), ‘potol’ (pointed gourd), ‘lau’ (bottle gourd), ‘kankrol’ (teasel gourd) etc. You can use any vegetables or all vegetables of your choice. Some even uses potato but I avoid using it. These vegetables when mixed with the lentil cakes give a very nice flavour to the dish. So, here goes the recipe of ’Chapor Ghonto’….
For making ‘Chapor’ or Lentil Pattis:
- For making the ‘Chapor’:
- Wash and soak the split pea lentils overnight or atleast for 3-4 hours.
- Drain and coarsely grind it in a grinder.
- Add salt, red chillie powder and ginger paste with the batter and whip it very well.
- Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan. Take 1-2 spoon of batter at a time and make round flat lentil cakes (of about 2” diameter and 1/4″ thick) and place them on the pan. Cook on medium flame, turn over and cook until you see some brown spots on both sides. Press them with spatula while frying them. Do not deep fry them. Keep them aside.
- For making the ‘Ghonto’:
- Heat the mustard oil in a kadai or wok and temper it with bay leaf, whole red chillie, panch foran, methi, mouri. Fry till they splutter and exudes aroma.
- Add the vegetables and stir fry them for 5-10 minutes in low to medium heat.
- Add ½ tsp ginger paste, salt and sugar, mix well and cover the pot. Do not add water. The vegetables will be cooked in their own juices.
- Cook the vegetables on simmer until they are tender or almost done.
- Add fried lentil cakes/patties. Mix very well. Break the ‘chapors’ into small pieces with spatula. The vegetables and the lentil cakes should mix with each other well.
- Break the ‘chapors’ into smaller pieces and add them to the vegetables.
- Add the grated coconut and ½ tsp ginger paste and mix well.
- Add 2 slit green chilies and 1 tsp of ghee.
- Remove from heat. Cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- ‘Chapor Ghonto’ is ready to be served with steamed rice.