The sight of the moringa tree in a neighbours garden, abloom with pristine ivory buds, makes me return to childhood in Karimgonj.
The onset of spring brings in the scourge of chicken pox and according to Grandma, these flowers are an antidote against the painful disease.
So the kitchen goes on an overdrive, preparing delectable dishes with the nondescript flower as the hero.
Dada however is a fussy eater.
He kicks a royal ruckus when Maa serves shojne posto for lunch. He frowns and frets, complains eloquently of the bitter undertaste of the shojne phool and refuses to eat the posto any further.
Maa does her best to reason.
But finally the steadfast obstinacy of Dada makes her erupt. No chicken for you till you have this, Maa declares, before retiring to her room.
Grandma though is not one to submit to Dada’s recalcitrant stubbornness.
The next day, the crunchiest of fritters accompany the aam dal for lunch.
How is it ? She enquires as we bite into the fritters. Do you like them ?
They are delicious, Dada responds in a flash, can I get a second helping ?
Of course you can. She obliges.
The fritters disappear in a jiffy.
Do you know my Princess what fritters you just savoured ? Grandma asks me once we are done with lunch.
No, but I adored them. They were delicious. I respond, flicking through the pages of the new Anandamela that has arrived by this morning’s post all the way from Calcutta.
Shojne Phooler Bora, Grandma announces. You couldn’t guess that, could you ?
That can’t be true, I hear myself say, refusing to believe what I just heard.
Shojne Phooler Bora. Shojne Phool fritters. Spiked with wicked green chillies. Fried to a gorgeous golden. Served with the zing of kashundi. Divine.
Moringa flowers are still in season. Make sure you pamper your taste buds with these I-bet-you-cant-just-have-one Shojne Phooler Bora before the season runs out.
Shojne Phooler Bora (Moringa/Drumstick Flower Fritters)
- 1 cup fresh shojne phool or moringa / drumstick flowers washed and drained
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 tbsp posto or poppy seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp green chilies chopped
- salt to taste
- oil for frying
- Take all the ingredients (other than oil) in a mixing bowl.
- Splash water in small increments, mix it well to make a thick sticky batter. If needed add some more rice flour to get the desired consistency.
- Heat oil in a deep pan, make medium sized dumplings and fry till golden brown.
- Keep over a kitchen absorbent towel. Serve hot with kasundi.