Moglai Porota: An Old Kolkta Snack!

Women looking sensous in saris 
Boys playing football in the rain & mud 
Intellectuals hanging out in the Coffee House
Never ending Charminars hanging from men's mouths
Co-passengers saving seats and exchanging news & gossip
The new bride looking resplendent in red & not so comfortable
Little girls proudly wearing yellow saris to celebrate Saraswati pujo

Photo Credit Arin Paul who has kindly let me use his photograph for this post.
Green of the Maidans
Giant of a Howrah Bridge 
Posh restaurants on Park Street
Incessant rains during the monsoons
Everyday business of Sealdah station 
Evening boat rides on the Hoogly river
Clanging sound of the  slow moving trams
Honking of the racing buses on busy roads
The 9 'o' clock siren signalling the beginning of the work hour
Wafts of Rabindra Sangeet floating in the morning air as the radios are turned on for the morning news


Photo Credit Arin Paul who has kindly let me use his photograph for this post.
Tea at Flury's
Car rides along the Red Road 
Uttam Suchitra movie posters
Din & smell of the fish markets
Rickshaws plying the narrow lanes
Political graffitis on public walls
Bhar er cha {tea served in earthen mugs}
Plum cake to celebrate Christmas from Nahoum's
Women haggling over a riot of fresh vegetables in the markets
Ma Durga painstakingly being brought to life at Kumortulli {potters' town}
Bells pealing at the neighbourhood mandir {Hindu place of worship}


Photo Credit Arin Paul who has kindly let me use his photograph for this post.
I am reminiscing about the Kolkata Calcutta of 1960s & 70s today. Not that I was born around that time, but while growing-up I have heard innumerable stories about those 'good old days' to easily take a trip down that memory lane.

So what was Calcutta like back then? Oh well the city was in the grip of left fever. Bengalis {dominant population of Kolkata} as a race are a romantic bunch and  the dream of a revolution which would sweep away the old & bring in the new, just order completely took over their imagination. They took to communism as keenly & avidly as they had taken to eating fish many eons ago. The cultural front was also deeply inspired by the leftist movement. Indian People's Theatre Association {IPTA} was immensely popular and a host of talented artists were doing incredible work in Kolkata. Cinema, theatre, music, literature were flourishing. Calcutta in those decades was an intellectual brewing ground. 


Photo Credit Dinkar Kamani who has kindly let me use his photograph for this post.
There was scarcity, there was poverty, there was unemployment, there were these whole host of things not right. But people had dreams, they had hopes. Maybe false ones. But then that is easy to write at the middle of 2013, back then these dreams & hopes were real. Most importantly people had passion. And they had belief. In their politics.

Kolkata used to be a very different city back then and the old Bengali way of living very much alive & thriving. People liked to live together in large family groups {the great Indian joint family system} in big sprawling houses. The men went out to work and the women stayed at home. Usually a matriarch used to rule run the house with due deference to the patriarch. The kitchen also had a strict heirarchy, ranging from the eldest to the youngest in rank and each person more or less had their specified roles. Yes not too different from the professional kitchens. But then these kitchens were no less busy, feeding large families while catering to individual needs.


Photo Credit Dinkar Kamani who has kindly let me use his photograph for this post.
Eating out was an unthinkable thing in those days. Usually the patriarch of the family accompanied by servants shopped for fresh fish, vegetables and fruits every day at their local markets. Once the bajar {shopping} arrived, the matriarchs would decide on the day's menu. Each meal was freshly prepared at home and the matriarches took offence if someone dared to eat a meal outside. But not so snacking. A quick one or a slow lingering one over chai & adda {chat} was very popular. The city was dotted with street food vendors and cafes which along with tea & coffee served a delectable range of savoury snacks.

These famous cafes were mostly in North & Central Kolkata {old parts of the city}. The institution of adda {literally a chat session, but symbolically it meant a whole lot more, it was the space where the talkative Bengalis loved airing their opinions, discuss obscure ideas, fight over ideology and think up new & often revolutionary ideas} was really popular at that time. Of course back then people had the time & leissure to indulge in adda sessions every day.

Some of the popular food items served in these cafes of Kolkata were kobiraji cutlets, fish fry, all kinds of chops {fish, meat, vegetable, very different from the Western counterparts, these Anglo Indian chops are a stuffing made with the main ingredient and loads of spices, then coated with a layer of mashed potato, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried} and of course Moglai Porota.



Now what do I say about Moglai Porota? It is a flaky porota/paratha/Indian flat bread, the shallow fried one. Inside it is stuffed with egg and sometimes keema/minced meat and served with a simple aloor torkari/potato sabji/dish, a little salad and  bit of kashundi/Bengali mustard & tomato ketchup.

Of course as you might have guessed it is a hearty snack which could easily be converted into a main meal. This was apparently very popular in the 60s & 70s. I have heard from my mother how she as a kid or even a teenager would wait for a treat of Moglai Porota in one of the cafes. Of course the next day in school she would totally show-off to her friends who would all be jealous! Cafe treats like Hindi movies it seems were not very frequent for Calcutta school girls in the 60s!

Okay, so I have babbled long enough! Let's move onto how a Moglai Porota is made, shall we?


Ingredients (Makes 4)
To make the porotas
200 gms maida/flour
50 gms atta/whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
A generous pinch or two of salt
Water for mixing
Oil for frying
Method:
Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients a little at a time. Knead well till the flour becomes one smooth ball of medium softness. It should not be too hard, neither should it be runny. Divide it into four equal balls.
You will need to roll the balls with the help of a rolling pin. In this case the balls are rolled thinner and a bit bigger than the usual porotas. So you can either use a bigger sized rolling board or roll on your kitchen counter.
 Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling board before placing the ball on it, similarly on the ball as you roll. Make a round shape and place on a frying pan after heating a tea spoon of oil.
Ingredients for the Stuffing

4 free range, organic eggs, one for each porota

1 medium onion finely chopped

2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

Little salt

Half a cup of extremely dry keema/ minced meat curry



Method:

In a korai/ frying pan add 1 tea spoon of oil, heat it.

Then slowly place the rolled porota taking care not to crease it.

Sprinkle some chopped onions and green chillies.

Break an egg and with a fork gently beat it inside the porota itself.

Add salt according to taste.

At this stage you can add the keema/minced meat curry, but make sure your keema curry is extremely dry because moisture from the keema may make the porota soggy increasing the chances of the dough of the porota breaking in places. You would need to put in just about 2 table spoons of keema, not more than that. Spread it evenly like the egg is spread.

Some places even add peanuts to the mix. It is entirely upto you what you want to add to the mixture.


It will look something like this.


Then gently fold the four sides like shown here.


Once folded turn over the other side and fry till golden brown!


In the process of becoming golden brown.


Now the porota is ready!

Serving suggestions-- the potato curry which is served with this, is extremely easy.

To serve with four porotas take 2 large or 4 medium potatoes
Wash throughly, do not need to peel the potatoes
Chop them into bite seized pieces
In a pan heat about 2 tea spoons of oil
Add about half of a chopped small onion
Then the potato pieces, reduce the flame and cover
Leave for 5 mins
After that add 1 tea spoon of turmeric, 1/2 tea spoon of red chilly powder and mix everything together
Let the masalas fry along with the potatoes and onion
Once the fresh smell of turmeric is gone, add half a cup of water
Increase the heat to medium and let it come to a boil
Cook till the potatoes are perfectly boiled and the onions are soft and glassy
Leave a little moisture
Sprinkle a little black pepper before serving.


Serve your Moglai Porota hot & crisp with the potato curry, chopped onions and a dash of mustard and tomato ketchup. And you will recreate the magic of 60s Calcutta right where you are!

Disclaimer: 

This is my friend's mother's recipe. She and her maid had made this for me when I went to visit them in Kolkata. I have never actually made Moglai Porota. But writing this post got me craving for one, so now I think I am off to making some.

The Calcutta photographs used in this post are taken by Mr. Arin Paul and Mr. Dinkar Kamani who have graciously let me use these photographs. In case you want to use them please get in touch with me and I can put you in touch with the photographers directly. These photographs are not Kitchen Karma's properties.

49 comments :

  1. Hi Suchi, excellent posting! It's nice to read about the history. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.

    The porota look so good, I'm sure it taste heavenly. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  2. Hey, This is new tome, and look good and interesting to add protein to our normal parota. The texture came out very well.

    -Mythreyi
    Yum! Yum! Yum!

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  3. Porota looks mouth-watering ..I haven't done that for ages seriously..now craving for them and all other street foods of Kolkata..lovely pictures..hugs

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  4. Interesting to read!
    and porota must be good (although I have never tried it:)

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  5. Almost started salivating reading the post..fantastic... could feel the taste in my mouth..so many memories tricked in... on the last day of my exams we would bring two moglai porota and 3 of us ( mom dad and me) would share since my granny was a vegetarian. .. it was a fancy snack saved for few special days.. also yester years desctipton of kolkata is really nice!

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    Replies
    1. Ha re it's a snack which triggers many memories :-)

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  6. First the pictures of Kolkata and then your post about moghlai porotha is making me nostalgic...Well captured pics ar pore khoob anondo holo...

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  7. wow awesome poroota...thx for the clicks..makes it easy

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  8. Nice black and white pictures and the intro for each one of it. The poroota is similar to our local roti canai and we do have other varieties of filling inside. Its so crispy and amazingly tempting.

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  9. omh what a fabulous recipe. and sooo rich. I am wondering if the same can be done with filo pastry?? and love the kolkata pics esp the black and white one with yellow cabs.

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    Replies
    1. I am sure it can be, let me try it and will let you know :-)

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  10. beautiful pictures I have eaten this parotta and I know it is fabulous

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  11. i almost travelled through Calcutta vicariously :).. i see the logo of kitchen karma has changed too..think should drop by more often :D lovely pics n the moglai parota is so new to me suchi!

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    1. Welcome back and don't you disappear again Rasi :-)

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  12. I love this a lot. loved the detailed post

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  13. Fabulous dish with beautiful clicks, looks great.

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  14. What gorgeous photos...I especially love the second one. And your traditional snack looks wonderful...I'd be happy to make it my dinner :)

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  15. Gorgeous pictures and mouthwatering porotas! This snack looks wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  16. Pictures are awesome - love the recipe too!

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  17. Hi Suchi, it's been a while since we have visited each other's blogs. I love your post, such interesting history, and the photos are truly amazing. The porota is exceptional and over the top delicious. Looks like a laborious way of making this unique snack!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Elisabeth, yes indeed it's been ages since we visited each other :-) Good to have you visiting KK :-)

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  18. The pictures makes feel hungry and paratha looks delicious...

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  19. Delicious snack!! This definitely had my stomach growling :D

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  20. That snack looks so good! Loved the Kolkata pictures especially the one of the Howrah bridge.

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  21. Please thank your friend's mother for sharing this recipe Suchi. That is so sweet of her and also your friend who shared these fabulous images. It really give me a taste of a time past in a place far away. I really enjoyed this post. I would also love to try Moglai Porota one day. It sounds quite yummy:)

    Thank you so much for sharing...

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    1. Thanks Louise but the photos are my own, I shot these when the maid was making the porota and my friend's mother was telling me how it is all done! :-)

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  22. How could I miss a post like this?...Great photos!

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  23. wow wow wow..firstl the clicks...super duper gorgeous !!! and the snack..this si something soo new to me, but jsut can imagine how great it could be .wud love to have a bit of that pocket snack..right now.

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  24. Suchi , wonderful post as always ! The moglai porota looks utterly delicious ! Love the step by step how-to and it looks so easy to make , I bet when I try my hands on making this delicious snack it wouldn't taste the same :P :D ..... The black and white photos are wonderful !

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  25. Wonderful porota very tasty .
    I will introduce this my restaurants in kolkata

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