A 100 year old recipe from Rabindranath Tagore’s niece, Pragyasundari Debi’s cookbook Amish O Niramish Ahar Volume 1.

This recipe—bhaat’er kofta or deep-fried rice balls—is part of a series where we commemorate Rabindra Jayanti each year by cooking a recipe from a book written by members of the illustrious Tagore family. These bhaat’er koftas are from Amish o Niramish Ahar (Vol. 1), a well-known Bengali cookbook from the early twentieth century written by Pragyasundari Debi. She was Rabindranath Tagore’s niece who religiously tried out and recorded hundreds of recipes, both common and uncommon.

Fragrant, flavourful and creamy on the inside with a crunchy coating of yoghurt and semolina (sooji) on the outside, these koftas make a great tea-time snack. If they look uncannily similar to the Italian arancini, it is probably because they may be inspired by it. Give this recipe a go—it is quick and easy—and if you have tried any of the other recipes from Amish o Niramish Ahar, let us know in the comments section of our YouTube video.


COOKING TIME 60 minutes
YIELDS 10 koftas
CALORIES 73 kcal per serving


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300 g Cooked gobindobhog rice
2 pcs Green chillies
2 g Nutmeg
1 pc Cardamom
1 pc Cinnamon
1 pc Clove
4 g Salt
30 g Raisins
8 g Ghee
30 g Khoya kheer/mawa
1 large pinch Saffron
1 tbsp Milk
50 g Yoghurt
3 g Ginger
for breading Maida (flour)
for breading Sooji (semolina)
for frying Vegetable oil + ghee

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Kadai | frying pan
  • Jhhanjhhri | perforated frying spoon

Appliances

  • Stove

Method

  1. Soak saffron in the milk and let it steep until the color enriches. Grind nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove to a fine powder. In a little ghee, fry the raisins until they go puffy.
  2. Now transfer the cooked gobindobhog rice to a mixing bowl. Add a chopped green chilli, salt, powdered spices, grated khoya kheer, and saffron-steeped milk.
  3. Mix together thoroughly, mashing the rice as you go for a creamy texture. Once the rice looks well mixed, add the fried raisins and fold them in.
  4. Divide the mixture in 30 g portions. Apply oil to your hands and roll each portion into a round kofta.
  5. Make a paste of ginger and the remaining green chilli. Add it to the yoghurt and beat until you have a smooth mix. This should be thin (like beaten eggs!), so add water to the yoghurt mixture to adjust consistency. Also lay out the flour and semolina two separate flat dishes.
  6. Bread each kofta by first dusting it in flour, then dipping it in the yoghurt, and finally coating it with semolina.
  7. To deep-fry the koftas, heat oil in a kadai. You can also fry these in ghee. We usually flavour our oil with a tablespoon of ghee. Once hot, drop the koftas into the oil and fry on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until they are lightly coloured. Serve piping hot.