Recipe for Shak Bhaja (Crispy Fried Greens):
- 4 cups of assorted leafy greens (spinach, kale, amaranth, mustard greens, or any greens of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons besan (gram flour)
- 1 tablespoon rice flour (optional, for extra crispiness)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
1. Wash and Prepare the Greens:
- Wash the assorted leafy greens thoroughly in cold water.
- Remove any tough stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
2. Dry the Greens:
- Place the washed greens on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Ensure that the greens are completely dry; this will help make them crispy when fried.
3. Prepare the Coating:
- In a mixing bowl, combine besan (gram flour), rice flour (if using), turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.
- Add a little water and mix to form a smooth, thick batter. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Coat the Greens:
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or kadai over medium-high heat.
- Dip each piece of dried greens into the besan batter, ensuring it's evenly coated.
5. Fry the Greens:
- Carefully drop the coated greens into the hot oil.
- Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Fry until the greens turn golden brown and crispy. This usually takes about 3-4 minutes per batch.
6. Drain and Serve:
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried greens from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
7. Season and Enjoy:
- While the shak bhaja is still hot, sprinkle a pinch of extra salt or chaat masala for added flavor.
- Serve these crispy fried greens as a delightful side dish or snack. They're perfect with a cup of hot tea or as an accompaniment to a traditional Bengali meal.
Shak Bhaja is a beloved Bengali dish that transforms humble leafy greens into a delicious and crunchy treat. Enjoy the burst of flavors and textures in every bite!
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