Every morning as we (K and myself) have our morning cuppa on our balcony, the mobile vendors (some carrying dairy products, some carrying vegetables, some carrying plastic items, and others) go about their business of selling their goods by shouting out loud while riding/pushing their vending carts/vans through the street in front of our house. Their numbers have increased post-COVID19 and with the lockdowns, when people were forced to stay indoors, as essential vendors were permitted to vend. Also, many people had to shift their businesses to sustain themselves and their families. And thus, even now with most of the services and businesses slowly reopening, these vendors continue to go about their mobile businesses.
'Sabjiiiiii' shouts the one selling vegetables, 'Breaaadd' shouts the one selling loaves of bread, 'Shaaak' shouts the one carrying leafy vegetables, 'Fol achhe fol' shouts the one selling fruits (Fol - fruits), 'Ei Kagaj, Loha bikri' shouts the newspaper and old tin can, iron picker (Kagaj - paper; Loha - iron), and the list goes on. As the 'Shaaak'wala (the leafy vegetable vendor) shouts out, I suddenly think of my favourite 'Kalmi Shaak' (Water Spinach) and stop him to buy it. However, as I go about buying water spinach, I find myself buying loads of fresh green coriander (Oh! I love coriander and so does K) as I salivate at the thought of piping hot rice, dal (lentil soup) and 'Dhone patar bora' (Coriander Fritters).
Also, the Kolkata sky has been moody for the past couple of days and it's been raining on and off. And Indians, more so the Bengalis, are known for their love for fritters especially when it rains.
Later when I go about in the preparation of lunch (fritters included), I am reminded of author Chitrita Banerjee's words from the Chapter Eating and Serving Bengali Food in the book 'Bengali Cooking',
In the centre of the platter there would be a small mound of piping hot rice flanked by vegetable fritters, wedges of lime, whole green chillies and perhaps a bit of pickle.
**Recipe for Coriander Fritters (Dhone Patar Bora)**
2 1/2- 3 cups of chopped (about 0.5 to 1-inch sizes) coriander leaves
2 tablespoons of besan or chickpea flour
1 tablespoon of rice flour
Ginger (about 1-inch piece), garlic (2 pods), green chilli (as per your requirement) paste
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
Mustard Oil to fry
Salt as per taste
Water to mix all ingredients
Wash the coriander leaves thoroughly and chop them.
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and add a little amount of water so that the mix is not runny but has a consistency to form the fritters. Mix thoroughly.
Place wok in the oven and heat mustard oil. Drop the coriander mix as per the desired sizes into the wok. Fry them on medium heat till they turn brown and crispy. Drain the excess oil and the fritters are ready..
P.S. - K has already put on his next request that I make these fritters for evening snacks the next day...