Yesterday was Saturday and I was in a lethargic mood and decided to cook very little as always! I love to spent my Saturdays like this only but one thing I realized while sipping my morning cup of Coffee (at around 11 a.m.) that it was not only Saturday but Chaturthi (4th day of Durga Puja) as well! I then called Maa alike every morning to check about her whereabouts and found she was already done with her cooking! In my Mom’s place (and in my place too) Saturdays are fixed for vegan food. When I asked her about the menu I got a list consist of Bhat (boiled Rice), Sona Moong er Daal, Jhinge Posto, Paporer Dalna and Jalpai er Chatney; a perfect Bong lunch and she also asked about my plan and I told her that nothing was planned! Mom was quite angry with my answer! Anyway after hearing about Papor er Dalna, I have decided to make it at my place too! One of my favourite Dalna prepared with big Chunk of Potatoes and Papad with bong spices! I just love the aroma of the gravy which feels like Pujo Pujo and I ended my cooking with only Papor er Dalna and Gobindobhog Chal er Bhat (steamed Gobindobhog rice) and it was sufficient for me, Pasta and my house help ( by the way you can’t expect more since lethargic Debjani started cooking at 11.30 and ended by 12:15!)
Papor er Dalna was a family favourite in my place! We used to have it almost once in a month (mostly on Saturdays) in lunch and since then I love the typical aroma comes from this curry prepared with Papad. In Bengali cuisine, different curry/ Side dishes are prepared with differently cut veggies mostly Potatoes. If the name of the curry is “Kalia” then a medium-sized Potato will be cut into two equal halves; while it is “Chorchori” or “Tarkari”, a medium-sized Potato will be divided into nine pieces; and while it is “Dalna”, Potato will be cut in to half first and then will be further cut into three pieces. Since the curry with Papad is “Dalna”, Potato is cut into the way mentioned (see picture below). Mostly Masala Papad is used in making this curry and Papad is pronounced as Papor in Bengali. No onion and garlic added while cooking a typical Dalna and Asafoetida i.e. Hing plays a major role in the process of cooking. Ghee is a must must ingredient and rest of the process is given below.
Whenever I prepare Papor er Dalna, I fry some Papad extra as this works superb as munchy with my cup of Lemon Tea that I love to sip while cooking and this time also I did the same. Pasta has given me company to finish fried Papad. I was missing Mehebub badly while having the lunch given he loves Papor er Dalna a lot and I being a dutiful wife informed him that We have cherished our lunch and received a “hmmmm” from his side!
- Masala Papad/ Papor: 4
- Potato: 4 (Medium size)
- Tomato: 1 (Big size)
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Bay Leaf: 1
- Dry Red Chili: 1
- Asafoetida: ½ Tsp.
- Whole Cumin Seed: ½ Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Turmeric Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp. (adjust according to taste)
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp. (adjust according to taste)
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Refined Oil: 2 Tbsp.
- Ghee: ½ Tbsp.
- Wash and Peel Potatoes and then cut each Potato into two half and then cut each half into three pieces.
- Make a Puree of Tomato.
- Heat Oil in a pan and fry Potato pieces till those turn golden brown in colour. Strain fried potatoes from oil and keep those separated.
- Break each Papor/ Papad into four pieces and fry in the remaining oil. It will take 20 30 seconds to fry four pieces of Papad in high flame.
- Strain fried Papad from Oil.
- There will be some oil remaining in the pan and that is sufficient for the next level of cooking.
- Temper the Oil with Bay leaf, Dry Rd Chili and Whole Cumin seed and wait till the tempering started crackling.
- Mix Asafoetida with 1 Tbsp. of water and add that directly to the tempering and mix properly.
- Now add pureed tomato to the tempering and start cooking in medium flame till the raw aroma of Tomato goes and then add ginger paste to the mixture and cook in medium flame for 2 more minutes or till oil separates from the mixture.
- Mix Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder and Cumin Powder with 1 Tbsp. water and make a thick paste and add this paste to the pan and mix properly.
- Add Sugar and Salt in this stage and add 1 Tbsp. of water and then cook for 2 more minutes or till oil separates again.
- Add fried Potatoes to the spice mix and coat properly with the spices and add 1.5 Cup of Water to it.
- Cover the Pan with a Lid and cook till Potatoes cooked properly. It took me 7 minutes of cooking in medium flame. However, check in between since cooking time varies with the type of potato.
- After the potatoes are done, adjust water a bit, and place fried Papad on the top of the potatoes and again cover the pan with the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
- Open the lid and mix the gravy a careful mix, Papad will be softening in this stage completely.
- Add Garam Masala Powder and Ghee to the curry and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Papor er Dalna is served with runny gravy; so adjust water level accordingly.
- Serve it hot with steamed rice; Papor er Dalna goes well with Roti or Paratha as well.
Adding Sugar is optional but Bong style Papad Curry is kind of incomplete without Sugar