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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Shana Jhiej / Bengal Gram Fritters From Meghalaya Cuisine


Shana Jhiej is a traditional vegetarian starter dish from Meghalaya Cuisine. Basically a Bengal gram fritter, this onion-garlic free snack is vegan, gluten-free, protein-rich and distinct in taste because of the use of black sesame seeds in it. Shana Jhiej is crisp and crunchy , mildly spicy and delicious in taste and makes for a perfect tea time snack, though you can serve it as a side dish with your regular meal. It tastes good on its own but I have paired it with a Vitamin C loaded Indian Gooseberry / Amla Chutney.

By now my regular readers must have noticed that month end is the time when I have a regional post for Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group. For the month of February we were on a virtual tour to the beautiful North Eastern State of Meghalaya. My partner for the theme was Renu Dongre Agrawal who blog at CookwithRenu. Renu's blog is a collection of her kitchen experiments from different cuisines around the globe. I like her healthy bakes and desserts the most. Do check out her space for some lovely vegetarian recipes. For the challenge, we both decided to cook a dish with same set of ingredients. And to our surprise, we both ended up cooking the same dish on the same day. Only difference is that I decided to stay with the traditional method of deep frying the fritters, while Renu opted to give the dish a healthy twist by baking the vada. Click here for the link to her recipe.

                                                          Ssshhh Cooking Secretly

Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sister States of North-East India. The state is geologically rich, is mostly mountainous ,  with stretches of valleys and highland plateaus. Meghalaya has many rivers , most of which are seasonal and rain-fed. The word Meghalaya translates to 'abode of clouds' in Sanskrit. With an average annual rainfall as high as 12000 mm in some areas, Meghalaya is the wettest place on the Earth. This reminds me of my Geography lessons in School, Cherrapunji in Khasi hills, south of capital Shillong holds the world record for most rain in the calendar month.

Meghalaya is a home to three Mongoloid tribes and has a unique cuisine different from the other Seven Sister states of North East India. The staple food of the people is rice with spicy meat and fish preparations. They rear goats, pigs, fowl, ducks and relish their meat.


Preparation Time: 2-3 hours
Cooking Time:
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup split Bengal gram / Chana dal
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger piece
  • 1-2  tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
Method:
  1. Wash the split Bengal gram and soak it in water for 2-3 hours.

2. Drain and transfer it to a grinder jar with green chilies and ginger. Pulse it to a coarse paste adding very little water.



3. Take out the batter into a bowl , add salt and black sesame seeds to it. Mix well. Take small portion of the batter and shape into vada. Make vadas with all the batter.


4. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the vadas until golden brown and crisp from all sides. Remove the fritters with a slotted ladle and allow to drain on a kitchen absorbent sheet.



 5. Serve the delicious Shana Jheij with chutney or dip of your choice.

                            

Recipe Notes:
  • You may add grated ginger to the batter , i have blended it with the batter.
  • Use minimal water while grinding the soaked Bengal gram to batter.
  • Do not skip the use of black sesame seeds in the recipe.
  • The green chili levels can be adjusted as per the spice tolerance.
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
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For more recipes from the North-East Indian states from this blog , do check out the following 
                                
                               
                               


23 comments :

  1. This look delicious and so cruchy Poonam. I would love to try this fried version. Beautifully done.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Renu. Do give it a try. I am sure you will love this version as well.

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  2. Wow..this is similar to the paruppu vada of South Indian...This is a perfect tea time snack to munch on.I love this

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    Replies
    1. Yes Lathi , this is a perfect tea time snack. Thank you

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  3. Wow, the vadas look so crispy and delicious! I'm tempted to take a bit right now. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Priya. The Vadas turned out really very crispy.

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  4. loved both the deep fried and baked version of these fritters. SO much like our paruppu vadai, and perfect with a cup of tea :-)

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    Replies
    1. ate right Kalyani. Both the versions are delicious and go well as tea time snack.

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  5. What an interesting collection of recipes!!

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  6. The vadas look so scrumptious. I love how there are not many spices required for this crunchy snack and adding black sesame seeds makes them appear pretty.

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  7. Love fritters in any form.. Urs look drool worthy yummm ��

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  8. The addition of black sesame seeds is making the flavor of the dish quite interesting. Although I have not tried these lovely fritters, still getting tempted ;)

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  9. Loved this crispy crunchy chana dal fritters. Black sesame seeds add some different flavour. Looks yummy.

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  10. Personally I love these fritters and the South Indian version doesnt have the black sesame seeds in them so its a great addition for my next attempt.

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  11. So similar to our local paruppu vadai...addition 9f black sesame seeds is interesting

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  12. Is it the first time where in the partners are making the same dish. This vada looks so delicious and crunchy. This is so similar to parippu vada we make in South India except for the addition of sesame seeds.

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  13. These Vadas looks so delicious and crunchy from the outside.I love the addition of black sesame seeds.

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  14. India never fails to surprise. Who would think the Dal Vada of the South is also popular in the North-East?

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  15. This is a tasty fritter, addition of black sesame is a slight change here in this cuisine.

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  16. Shana Jheij: the very name sounds exotic. Interesting to find a chana dal based fritter up there in the North East. The addition of black sesame seeds of course would give it an unique taste. Loved this recipe!

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  17. it is quite cool to find the dal vada recipes vary slightly from state to state but still work brilliantly through the whole nation. I hav eto try this with sesame seeds, must be quite yumm.

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