We discovered watana rassa at a restaurant called Cafe Real in Panjim. A Saraswat Brahmin dish, it was a thin rassa made with dried white peas. The server recommended we eat it with buns made of bananas – and rightly so. The combination of savoury-spicy rassa with sweet buns was so brilliant that I immediately knew we had to add it to our opening menu. It has never left O Pedro’s menu since.
- 2 cups dried green watana (dried peas)
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- ½ cup grated coconut
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, packed
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 10 curry leaves
- 4 green chillies, slit on a bias
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
For Bhatura (Goa Bun)
- 400 gm plain all-purpose flour
- 210 gm ripe bananas
- 83 gm sugar
- 44 gm yoghurt
- 13 gm ghee
- 5 gm salt
- 3 gm baking soda
- 3 gm cumin seeds, crushed
- Mash the banana with a hand mixer.
- Toss in sugar, yoghurt and mix until sugar dissolves. Add toasted cumin seeds.
- Sift the baking soda, maida and salt, and add to the banana mix in two parts until incorporated.
- Spoon in ghee and knead for a few minutes until incorporated.
- Portion into balls of 100 gm each.
- Before frying, roll out portioned dough and keep on trays between sheets of butter paper.
- When ready, tip each portion into oil heated to 200°C and keep ladling hot oil over it so that it puffs to its maximum size.
For Watana Rassa
- Soak the dried watana overnight in at least 8 cups of water.
- Next morning, pressure cook watana on low flame for 2 whistles with 6-8 cups of water and 1 tbsp salt until it is soft but not mushy. Drain and save the water.
- In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium flame, add sliced onions and caramelise.
- Transfer to a bowl, and toss in cilantro, garam masala, fennel and coconut. Grind to a fine paste with 1.5 cups of water.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat remaining oil on medium flame. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Follow with curry leaves and slit chillies.
- Finally, add tomato and cook till the oil separates. Lower the flame and toss in the masala paste, stirring continuously.
- Once the paste is cooked, which should take around 7-8 minutes, add boiled watana and 5-6 cups of reserved water, depending on how thick or runny you want your rassa.
- Taste and season with salt. Serve the rassa hot with bhatura.