Chops or cutlets are an integral part of the Bengali’s food culture, as is evident when a Bengali lists his/her ‘favourite snacks’ or ‘popular street foods’. Every one of us has his/her favourite bhaaja (batter fried) that we want with our lunch of dal-bhaat (lentil soup-rice) or the evening chai.
The classic street food, a generous appetiser, the perfect accompaniment to the evening drink, a chop is destined to lift your spirits with the crunch of the deep-fried golden brown cover and the perfectly seasoned (and cooked) filling. Satisfaction guaranteed.
There have been times when, as children, the elder sister and I have gazed with longing at that last chop as Maa urged it on a guest. Especially when the chop was the ‘dimer devil’, yet another egg dish that my mother puts together in her kitchen without batting an eyelid!
One of the most popular street foods available in Kolkata, the ‘dimer devil’ literally translates into ‘the egg’s devil’. One can only assume that it is the spicier and Bengali-sed version of the devilled eggs. This version of the devilled eggs sees the hard boiled halves coated in a mixture of potato, cottage cheese or meat. The coated egg is then dipped in a batter of whipped eggs or gram flour, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried till golden brown. Or in my case, dark brown and a bit charred.
I’ve only ever had the ones that Maa makes so whilst she was teaching me the dos-and-don’ts of the recipe, I asked where she sampled a dimer devil first.
“At a book fair in Kolkata that I attended with friends when we were all in our final year of graduation,” she said. “I still remember we were intrigued when the food stall owner said he was selling dimer devil. That first bite was when I fell in love,” said Maa, who even learned the basics of the recipe from that stall owner.
While she does not remember when she first made it, I remember that the dimer devil is a must-make dish for guests who pop in to greet the parents in the post-Durga Puja period. And with puja festivities beginning this weekend, this is the perfect time to learn how to make a dimer devil.
Oh wait! There is a second reason for making an egg dish today.
Happy WORLD EGG DAY my fellow egg lovers!!!
I hope you have an egg-citing October 12, the day celebrated to increase the awareness of eggs and their nutritional importance. You can check out other egg recipes on the blog – the Azeri kyukyu-inspired omelette and the Omelette in a Spicy Curry. Got a favourite egg recipe of your own? Share in the comment section or find ‘From The Corner Table’ on social media.
A popular street food from West Bengal, India, these are the Indian version of devilled eggs.
- 5 Eggs (hard boiled)
- 3 Potatoes (mashed)
- ½ Onion (finely chopped)
- 2 Garlic cloves
- ½ knob Ginger (freshly grated)
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp Chaat Masaala Powder
- Salt (to taste)
- Sugar (a pinch)
- ¾ cup Besan (gram flour | chickpea flour)
- 1/3 cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 12 teaspoon Red chilli powder
- Salt (to taste)
- Breadcrumbs (as required)
- Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
In a hot kadhai or frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
Add chopped onion to the hot oil and cook till translucent.
Season as per your taste with salt, red chilli powder, chaat masala; mix well.
Add the mashed potatoes mix and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and leave aside to cool.
Divide the mixture into 10 parts.
Take one part of the potato mixture and place it on the yolk-side of a halved-egg. Gently and firmly cover the half egg with the potato mixture, covering the edges. It should look like a whole egg.
Once you’ve covered all 10 pieces of the eggs, it’s time to mix the batter.
In a big bowl, mix the gram flour with some salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder. Add water and whisk into a batter with thickness similar to a pancake batter.
Make an assembly line starting with the eggs, followed by the batter bowl and a plate filled with breadcrumbs.
Place a deep frying pan or kadhai on low flame, fill with oil enough to deep fry the dimer devil and allow the oil to heat.
Coat one egg in the batter, cover in breadcrumbs and deep fry until golden and crispy.
Remove on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Serve hot with mustard sauce or dips of your choice.
- You also have the option of coating the entire half egg in the potato mixture; just double the amount of mashed potato stated in the recipe.
- Boost the potato mixture by adding some more vegetables like chopped green chilli, grated carrot, chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves. Add additional seasoning like garam masaala or roasted cumin and coriander powder.
- Replace the chaat masaala with lemon juice for a fresh, tangy taste.
- The devilled eggs are perfect as an appetizer for a dinner party or to be served with tea/coffee. To prep these a day ahead, place the breadcrumb coated eggs in a covered container and refrigerate it. Remove, fry and serve as needed.