Basic Bengali Chocchori - lets all mix it up
|Presenting the very nutritious.... Chocchori|
How many Bengali Vegetarian dishes can you name? May be an aloo posto or some jhurjhure aloo - bhaja? Ohh.. Behold everyone!!! You will be amazed at the elaborate platter of various vegetarian delights which Bengalis had discovered since long. Let me name a few.. Dhokar dalna ( lentil cutlet curry ), Chanar rosha ( a curry made of home made cheese ), Potoler dolma (coconut stuffed pointed gourd), Echorer dalna ( jackfruit curry) and the list can go on and on..and on. Sometimes we do not even dispose the skins of some vegetables like lau / lauki ( bottle gourd ), instead stir - fry them to get another side - dish with our multi - course meal. We have a chechra or a chechki, a shukto or a chorchori / chocchori with some variations of spices ( all having their own characteristic taste) to create a typical Bengali mix - veg dish which remains included in our daily diet to fulfil us of the roughage and necessary nutrients which fresh vegetables have to offer. Some of those assorted vegetarian dishes although requires meticulous practice, are made with very few ingredients and characteristically do not include any onion or garlic since they are niramish ( meaning vegetarian.. something which can even be offered to god!!)
Bengali kids like me, would have at least one faint childhood memory of a widowed grandmother in her plain - white sari having a separate stove all by herself, preparing her own vegetarian meals all of which would be extremely tasty. In spite of being a shameful symbol of gender biased power play where widows were forbidden to have fish, meat, egg or any other non vegetarian dishes including onion, garlic or even masoor dal and garam masala because they generate heat in your body (which in turn might aggravate sexual desires, obviously a strict no - no for widows), we will remain eternally grateful to all such grandmoms of ours, who patiently created such vegetarian gems with the humble ingredients like a pinch of panch phoron ( a mix of onion seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds ), some ginger and a hint of cumin paste or sometimes with just salt and turmeric powder.
North India, my work - land, the land of Dal makhani, Butter chicken and Aloo paranthas can seldom think vegetarian preparations devoid of onion or garlic. So their daily chore of cooking a mix - veg dish would essentially require a few drops of tears, culprit being those onions. Here comes a Bengali into the scene with an usual Chorchori ( a mixture..literally meaning ) where you can use any vegetable you have in your fridge ( and does not even require the pungency of onion / garlic ). I did make a few female friends in office, with this fast hastle - free recipe, most of whom have to juggle their home, job and sometimes a kid. Also, my Rajputani Bhabi being a fitness freak became a fan of this dish a few days after being introduced into the Bengali household. Hence, presenting Chorchori - a go - to sabji to be accompanied with some roti or some daal - bhaat.
|Mix - Vegetables|
- Sheem ( broad beans ) - 250 grams
- Brinjal - 200 grams.
- Potato - 1 medium sized
- Radish - 250 grams
- Green Chilly - 2
( All 5 ingredients chopped into medium sized pieces. You can add any left over veggy from your fridge including some ridge gourd )
- Coriander leaves - chopped
- Turmeric powder - 1.5 teaspoon
- Chilly powder (optional) - 1 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Mustard oil - 2-3 teaspoon (add more if you want )
- Heat oil in a kadhai. The oil should be steaming hot.
- Add in the potatoes, radishes and brinjal pieces along with the chillies one after the other. Give them a stir.
|In goes the potatoes..|
|..the brinjal and chillies..|
|Stir through to coat everything with the oil underneath..|
- Toss the broad beans and mix everything.
- Cover the kadhai and leave it undisturbed for around 5 minutes on low flame.
- When you open the lid of the kadhai, notice the veggies all sweat up. Its time to add the spices. Salt, turmeric and chilly powder. Add in a splash of water ( very little, since the veggies will give off more water on addition of salt ) to prevent the spices from burning.
- Stir everything well, cover the kadhai and allow the veggies to cook over low flame for around 10 minutes.
- Open the lid, check if the veggies are cooked through, add in the fresh coriander leaves, stir and done.
A lighter preparation of fresh vegetables with minimal oil and spices without giving you the gas or acidity problems due to excessive use of oil and spices..a true Sattvik aahar ( no sexual desires intended for anyone..but may be a little pun !! )
|Chocchori - a NO - jhanjhat mix - veg preparation|