Monday, 4 July 2016



Taikilya Bhojjos - Grainy Version


Cassia Tora or Senna Tora is a legume which is known as Taikilo in Konkani and Takara or Tavara in Malayalam. Cassia Tora often grows wild in the open grazing lands and along village paths and on the roadside. The tender leaves and stems are quite nutritious and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Taikilo is a hardy shrub which can grow to a height of a metre or more in the monsoon season. Though it tolerates a wide range of climes and altitudes, it thrives best in wet, humid climate, both in well drained soils as well as in clayey mud. It loves good sunlight and grows beautifully, branching out nicely when pruned regularly.

With the onset of the dry season, however, it produces small yellow blooms followed by bunches of long thin beans full of grey seeds. These seeds have the power to germinate during the next year or to lie dormant for decades under the soil and then sprout into sturdy young plants. The tender leaves, generally plucked as a shoot tip with two to three sprigs is much loved by Keralites.

The Konkani people prepare many delicious dishes using Taikilo, one of which is Taikilya Bhojjo. I make them in two versions. The first one is in the form of a leafy, fluffy, grainy, crunchy vada for leaf lovers. The second is a smooth, semi-hard, munchy vada for everyone. Both are immensely tasty. They taste even better the second day. You can enjoy them with meals or with tea or coffee. You can even make Curd Taikilya Bhojjo.

Ingredients for the grainy version:

     1)    Taikilo (Takara / Cassia Tora / Senna Tora) – 500 gm.
     2)    Raw rice – 250 gm.
     3)    Tor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) – 250 gm.
     4)    Hot red chili powder – 2 teaspoons
     5)    Powdered salt – 1½ teaspoons
     6)    Asafoetida powder – ⅛ teaspoon
     7)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – to deep-fry

Ingredients for the smooth version:

     1)    Taikilo (Takara / Cassia Tora / Senna Tora) – 175 gm.
     2)    Raw rice – 200 gm.
     3)    Tor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) – 200 gm.
     4)    Hot red chili powder – 1 teaspoons
     5)    Powdered salt – 1 teaspoons
     6)    Asafoetida powder – 2 pinches
     7)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – to deep-fry

Taikilya Bhojjos - Smooth Version

To Make:

Soak the rice and the dal together in water for an hour. Pluck the Taikilo leaves off their stems and discard the stems (the stems are often hard and woody). Wash and drain the leaves and chop them to fine shreds or bits (for the grainy version, they can be chopped roughly).

Wash and drain the soaked rice and lentils. Put them in your food processor. For the grainy version, you can grind them roughly, but for the smooth version, you have to grind them to smooth paste. In either case, take care not to add any water whatsoever while grinding. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Tip in the chopped leaves and sprinkle the chilli powder, the salt and the asafoetida powder. Mix thoroughly with your fingers. If you are making the grainy version, you have to let the dough rest for 20 minutes. If you are doing the smooth version, you can start frying immediately.

Set a wok or deep-frying pan on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil. As soon as the oil is hot (do not heat to the point of smoking), make small balls of the dough (lime sized or gooseberry sized), press them just a little bit between your palms and gently release them one by one into the oil. Take care not to overcrowd the pan. 5 minutes later, start turning them gently to fry all the sides evenly. Once you start feeling the crispiness as you turn them, you know that it is time to lift them out of the oil. Drain off the excess oil. Start eating as soon as the delicious Taikilya Bhojjos have cooled enough to sink your teeth in. Takilya Bhojjo is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is so addictively delicious, one literally needs to take care not to accidentally bite off one’s fingers.

Taikilya Bhojjos soaked in fresh curd are a gourmet’s delight. To make curd Taikilya Bhojjos, just whisk thick fresh curd in a bowl and drop in sizzling hot Taikilya Bhojjos (smooth version) straight from the frying pan. Cover them with more curd and let rest for 15 minutes. Eat fresh. Do not add any salt. You will dance in joy.

Taikilya Bhojjos in Curd


Though both versions are excellent, the smooth version is our family favourite.

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