Besan ki katli or chana daal ki katli is something I have been craving for very long, that too in it's purest form as I have worked on a healthier version of this dish in the past 4-5 years (it's a shame that i haven't posted even that one as yet)...
Before I move to the recipe of this very traditional UP dish I want to tell you a very funny incident, I was watching the TV show 'highway on my plate' hosted by Rocky n Mayur. I love this show not just for the yummy traditional food they showcase but for the friendly leg pulling both the hosts do with each other as well as with their hosts sometimes. In this particular episode they were visiting Reewa and were being hosted by some prince (belonging to the royal family of the state). Among the other traditional vegetarian dishes they were served this dish called 'Indrahar' ( meaning the food of Indra, the king of all the Hindu gods). Indrahar was made with a mixture of all the lentils in a similar way this besan ki katli is made.
The prince of Reewa estate described this dish in a very interesting way. He told that this is a very healthy meat substitute and the members of his family have been eating this for generations. In his own words...my grandfather, my father and myself have been eating this indrahaar, and see how strong we have been :) Telling all of this with his swollen chest to show the strength, I wonder how he was going on and on about the health and vigor of the male members of the family only. As if the ladies of the family did not need any healthy food, or as if healthy food was made for the male members only. The way he was telling and the way Rocky and Mayur were mimicking him was hilariously funny.
But it frustrates me even today whenever I think of it. No, I am not a feminist that way but do get frustrated when there is a bias at this level.
Now coming to the recipe of this healthy dish, as healthy as you can think of.
It can be made with besan (gramflour or chickpea flour) or with split chickpeas (chana dal) or with any other daal for that matter or with a mixture of daals as it is done in indrahar :)
If you make it with besan the texture of the katli will be very smooth, I like it a bit grainy so I use chana daal, soaked overnight and ground to paste. It is actually a lentil dumpling or lentil cake which can be very very versatile. It can be a fat free snack, a fried or shallow fried snack or can be curried in different types of gravies.
chana daal 2 cups soaked overnight
garlic cloves 4 nos
ginger 1 inch piece
green chilies 3-4 nos.
whole cumin 2 tsp
black pepper corns 2 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp ( optional ) I did not use this time
garam masala 1 tsp (optional I do not use
turmeric powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
oil 1 tsp for the kadai n 1/2 tsp to grease a thali
Grind everything together except oil into a paste, the consistency should be like a cake or idli batter so water can be added wile grinding for convenience.
Now heat oil in a thick base kadai and pour the paste into it and start stirring, it needs constant stirring but do not worry as it's not going to make your arms fall off. After all eating Indrahar makes you stronger :-)
The mixture gets curdled first, and then within a couple of minutes of heating, it starts sticking to the kadai. Keep scraping and turning for about 5 minutes and you will see that it cooks to become a cohesive, sticky ball of dough. By this time a lovely cooked aroma indicates that it's done.
Keep a greased thali ready, dunk the ball of cooked daal dough into the greased thali......
Now with wet hands pat this dough to make it flat on the thali , like this....
It can be made into small balls, especially if you intend to make a kofta style curry with it, for that you don't need to spread it on a greased thali and can proceed right from the kadai......make balls and do whatever you want :))
They can be had like a tea time snack without frying when they are warm and fresh, they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and in the freezer for months. If using from the fridge you need to shallow fry them for a tea time snack ....
This is a real healthy tea time snack .
Besan ki katli, as it is called in my family is a childhood favorite of mine and I am glad that Arvind loves it too. I make a spinach version of this dumpling snack in microwave and will post that very soon
It is an eastern UP specialty and I have seen some bihari families making it too, a friend of mine told that it is called 'khadahara' in her family. The bengali version is called 'dhokar dalna', a bit different in taste and in appearance of the dumplings.
I have posted a recipe of this besan katli in mustard gravy but it can be prepared with any kind of gravy which suits your taste.