One of the reasons why I keep going to the beach is to sample some of the ‘beachside’ food that you get here. Peanut masala, raw mango spiked with a fiery red chilli powder, chaat, ice gola and yes, the bajjis (pakodas/ fritters) and among them, its the molaga bajji that’s the star. Really, you haven’t lived if you haven’t had this and it has to be by the beach. I don’t know why but I guess it is something in the sea breeze that makes this simple snack taste a lot better!
So when I saw some flouroscent green chillies staring at me in my face at the vegetable market, the first thought that occured to me was ‘molaga bajji‘. But then I’m frugal sometimes, yes I’ll admit that also, and I didn’t want to take the trouble of deep frying. That’s when I thought it would be a good idea to stuff these chillies with some crumbled tofu.
I thought I’d season the tofu with some simple ginger-garlic and chaat masala to keep the flavours simple. But then I spied on a bottle of paanch phoron masala and that was it, flavours couldn’t get any more simple with this Bengali masala that has fenugreek (methi) seeds, nigella (onion) seeds, cumin (jeera) seed, black mustard (rai) seed and fennel (saunf) seed. Apparently these are also known to have a host of health benefits apart from just enhancing the flavour of the dish. You can make this masala at home but its easily available in most supermarkets too.
|This is good enough as a snack and even as an accompaniment to a main meal|
6 big green chillies, slit in the middle and seeds removed
For the stuffing:
1 1/2 cups of tofu, crumbled
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp of paanch phoron masala
Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients together for the filling and check seasoning. Adjust if necessary and then stuff it into the chillies.
Heat a tawa and spread some oil on this, place the chillies on this and roast them until they turn brown evenly. Serve hot.
* You can keep the seeds of the chilli intact if you like the spice, but its wise to exercise some caution as you don’t want to call the fire brigade in the middle of a meal!
* Mashed, seasoned potatoes are another favourite when it comes to stuffing. You can add some grated carrot of spinach and green peas to this to make it even more delicious. Add some raisins or dry fruits to balance the spiciness. Non-vegetarians can also look at kheema as an option for the stuffing.
* If you are serving this as an evening snack, serve this along with some dahi ki chutney for a perfect pairing.