Telebhaja (fritters) are one of the most popular snack items in the eastern part of India. And if we are talking about Kolkata / Calcutta, the undisputed Telebhaja capital would be Bagbazar Street. The entire stretch from Rabindra Sarani to Bidhan Sarani / Bagbazar Bata is full of Telebhaja stalls. Apart from the permanent ones, there are quite a few makeshift ones too. And the best part is, all of them make brisk business. Such is the popularity of Telebhaja in and around this area.
Potoler Dokan / Potol Babur Dokan is one of the better known places in Bagbazar Street. Located bang opposite Union Bank of India, Bagbazar branch, the shop remains open from 7:30 in the morning till 12:30 noon and again from around 4:45 in the afternoon till 8:30 PM. But if you want variety, it is always better to visit during the afternoon session.
People literally stand in queue for their Kochuris in the morning and Radhaballavis later the day. But my personal favourites here are the Telebhajas. To start with, what I love the most here is the Potoler Chop (Pointed gourd croquettes). If you know what a Dolma is, this is somewhat similar to a veg dolma crumb fried. At most places potoler chops are batter fried potol. This crumb fried one is a far better thing and a must try here.
The Mochar Chop (Banana flower croquettes) are also good here. But you will get similar quality at other good places too. Banana flowers mixed with a spiced potato mash and crumb fried.
Another must try item here is the Dhoka or deep fried spiced lentil cubes. One of the best dhoka I have eaten. The outer crust is crunchy and the inside is a soft paste of well seasoned lentil. And it’s full of fried lentils in between to give you the crunchy feel throughout. The best parts? It is not dry like many places. The inside is well cooked but still soft and moist. And its seasoned to perfection unlike a lot of places who make bland dhokas.
Before coming to their Radhaballavi let’s go through something else. I read a book which said if you hold the Radhaballavi and hang it straight, all the fillings will drop to the bottom. So the filling here must not stick to the outer layer and must be dry enough to respond to the forces to gravity. Exactly what happens with the Radhaballavi you will be served at Potoler Dokan. It’s dry, it’s loose and it’s tasty. The potato curry which is served along with it, looks more like an Alur Dom, but is much mildly spiced and goes well with the Radhaballavi by not overpowering it.
They have other types of telebhaja too, which also are great. If you are around Bagbazar street during morning / afternoon, it will be a sin to give Potoler Dokan a miss.