Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Starter

The state’s are getting difficult for us. Reason being most of us are vegetarian and the staple food of this state’s are Rice, fish and meat. I do not like to replace ingredients unless extremely needed, specially when we are focoussing on regional cuisine. This month our secret group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly group headed to Meghalaya. I decided to make a simple and healthy Baked Shana Jhiej. A delicious starter made using Bengal gram and Black Sesame Seeds from Meghalaya. It is traditionally fried, but I decided to make it healthier by Baking it.


Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter


A Little about Meghalaya

Meghalaya means “The abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. The name is rightly justified as it is the wettest place on earth. The town of Sohra (Cheerapunji) in the Khasi hills holds the world record for most rain in a calendar month. Meghalaya is compared to Scotland for its highlands, fog and scenery. It has some of the thickest primary forests in the country. During the British rule of India, it was nicknamed as “Scotland of the East”.


Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter

Meghalaya Cuisine is divided based on their tribes, Khasi, Jaintia and Garo. Popular dishes include Jadoh, a very popular rice dish among the Khasi community. It is basically red rice cooked with generous amount of pork meat. Doh Khileh is another pork based salad made using minced pork, onions and chillies. Then there are rice based dishes such as Pumaloi and Pukhlein. Pumaloi essentially means powdered Rice, which can be steamed. Pukhlein is powdered rice, sweetened with Jaggery. Other popular dishes are Nakham Bitchi, Doh-Neiiong, Tungrymbai, Pudoh, Minil Songa, Sakin Gata, Kyat.


The Secret Ingredients & The challenge

My partner for this challenge was Poonam Bachhav who blogs at Annapurna. She has a wonderful collection of healthy recipes and I mean it. She explains each and every recipe step by step and I simply love the way she does. Do check her blog and you will be amazed.

So while discussing the secret ingredients, Poonam first gave me rice and Jaggery. But we both wanted to cook savoury instead of sweet. So Poonam came with an idea. She said let’s both take the same set of ingredients. i.e. Rice and Black Sesame seeds. I was a bit worried about Black sesame seeds but I got it. And guess what coincidentally we both cooked the same dish and posted on the same day :-). I will be updating the link to her post soon.


What is Baked Shana Jhiej

So coming to today’s recipe of Baked Shana Jhiej. Typically this dish is made using a batter from Bengal gram. It has a very few ingredients and is fried. Now I did not wanted to make another fried dish. So I was in two minds, whether I should try the bake version or make a small version of the fried. I choose the earlier. I made a baked version of this cute little Shana Jhiej. They took some time to cook, as the dal batter has to cook thoroughly from inside and at the same time should be crunchy enough.

Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter


I was happy that I gave the baked version a try. The end result was a perfect crunchy, crispy and healthy vada. We enjoyed this as a side for our dinner and loved it. Since it is fried, we do not need to baby sit it. Just mix the ingredients, shape them and the rest job is done by the oven. One can even make them in an air fryer. As technically an air fryer is a mini oven. I do not know the settings of air fryer as I do not own one.

Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)
  • 4- Green chillies
  • 4 tbsp – Black Sesame seeds
  • 2 inch Ginger piece
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp Oil for brushing the vada’s

Preparation

  • Soak channa dal for atleasst 1 hour in room temperature or luke warm water.
  • Drain the water.
  • Grind the channa dal, green chillies and ginger to a coarse paste. (One can use grated or chopped ginger too, I prefer to blend it).
  • Use minimum water while grinding.
  • In a wide bowl, add the coarse paste, salt, sesame seeds and mix well.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180 Deg C.
  • Take a tablespoon of batter in your hand and form in the shape of a flat pattice.
  • Line it on a parchment paper.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then brush some oil on the top.
  • Bake again for 10-15 mins.
  • Flip and brush oil on the bottom and let it bake again for 15 mins.
  • Baking time may vary, but it generally takes around 45-50 minutes.
  • When you feel it is done, for the last 5 mins you can broil the top of the vada’s to give it the golden colour.
  • Alternatively one can fry them on medium until golden brown.
  • Yummy Vegan & Gluten free Vada’s are ready.
  • Serve them as a side or enjoy as is.

Notes

  • 1 Cup = 240 ml
  • 1 tablespoon = 15 ml
  • Baking time may vary, depending on your oven.



Few More recipes from different States


5 from 4 votes
Baked Shana Jhiej | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Soaking Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
 

A Vegan and Gluten free starter from Meghalaya, India made using Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) and black sessame seeds. This is the baked version.

Course: Appetizer, Snacks
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Baked, Bengal Gram, Black Sesame Seeds, Chana Dal, Gluten Free, Vegan
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Bengal gram (Channa dal)
  • 4 Green chillies
  • 4 tbsp Black Sesame seeds
  • 2 inch Ginger piece
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp Oil for brushing the vada’s
Instructions
  1. Soak channa dal for atleasst 1 hour in room temperature or luke warm water.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Grind the channa dal, green chillies and ginger to a coarse paste. (One can use grated or chopped ginger too, I prefer to blend it).

  4. Use minimum water while grinding.

  5. In a wide bowl, add the coarse paste, salt, sesame seeds and mix well.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180 Deg C.
  7. Take a tablespoon of batter in your hand and form in the shape of a flat pattice.
  8. Line it on a parchment paper.
  9. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then brush some oil on the top.
  10. Bake again for 10-15 mins.
  11. Flip and brush oil on the bottom and let it bake again for 15 mins.
  12. Baking time may vary, but it generally takes around 45-50 minutes.

  13. When you feel it is done, for the last 5 mins you can broil the top of the vada’s to give it the golden colour.
  14. Alternatively one can fry them on medium until golden brown.
  15. Yummy Vegan & Gluten free Vada’s are ready.
  16. Serve them as a side or enjoy as is.
Recipe Notes
  • 1 Cup = 240 ml
  • 1 tablespoon = 15 ml
  • Baking time may vary, depending on your oven.


Love to read your comments and feedback. Do drop a line in the comment section if you like and do not forget to rate the Recipe. If you try this recipe, would love to see your creations, take a picture and do tag me at @cookwithrenu using the hashtag #Cookwithrenu on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and @Renunad on Instagram. Subscribe to my email list so that you get the recipe straight in your mailbox.


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Baked Shana Jhiej  | Meghalaya Vegan and Gluten Free Starter - A Vegan and Gluten free starter from Meghalaya, India made using Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) and black sessame seeds. This is the baked version.


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