Friday, June 15, 2012

Curly Kale Leaves and Vegetables 'er Chorchori

I was in an analyzing mood couple of days ago. You would say lo behold again her ramblings will start. But tell me what a food blog is if there is no story to tell you that go with the making of food and the people that are associated with eating that food. Otherwise there are many and probably thousand recipe sites where you can simply go and take or print the recipe and start cooking. There is no bonding between the author and the reader.

Some where down I read that reading is a generosity pact between a reader and an author. I may not give you payments to read this page or you may not pay me for this recipe when you use it someday. But it’s the generosity from both our ends which is so visible here and this generosity somewhere binds us unknowingly. How beautiful that thought is?

It doesn’t strike very prominently that somebody at far corner of the world is reading this post probably at odd hours when I might be sleeping or doing some different work, but still the bonding is there. Even in our day-today life generosity always bounces back to us just like positive Karma brings positive vibrations to us also.
Or probably God keeps an account where he does all the calculations of our day-today dealings and what returns should be given back to us in being meeting and mixing with noble hearted and generous people. But this is our responsibility also not to take others generosity as their signs of weakness or timidity. And it’s also important to realize that manipulations and generosity don’t go hand in hand. We can be generous without any obligations but bowing down to manipulations should not be considered as being generous.
Anyways, but ours is noble pact of generosity, isn’t, so, thank you for being part of our journey and being generous to me.
Now to the recipe part after all these “Gyan.”

Shorshe bata/ mustard paste is perhaps or can be termed as “lifeline” to Bengali food, charchari, mach’er jhaal , Shukto and labra. And this is no exaggeration on my part .If you want to spice up little bit more, add shorshe bata to any gravy,,Shukto, torkari, fish gravy or even mangsho , it imparts lovely flavor to it.
In a foreign land I came across these curly Kale leaves which are very nutritious. I had some reservations using Kale leaves earlier, but when I started to use them in stir/fry or in charchari , I was pleasantly surprised to find that it magnificently blends with Indian spice or probably the flavors gets enhanced when it is used with Indian spices.

This charchari is now part of our Sunday meal quite often. As Bengali food’s first courses always is a shaag preparation or starts with some bitter. This Curly Kale Charchari is a great way of introducing vegetables and healthy green leaves even to picky eaters like my dear daughter. Give it a try someday, a whole new flavors is waiting to be discovered for you.

Shorshe Bata diye Curley Kale leaves ‘er Chorchori 
Recipe requirements (measurements are apporx)
Curly kale leaves prepared and chopped- approx 200 Gms
About 2 cups of cauliflower florets, tender stalks  and tender leaves
10-15 red small radishes or half white radish, whatever available
Half brinjal / aubergine
Half plantain or green banana
1 medium size potato
half tomato

For the shorshe Bata/paste
3 heaped tsp of black mustard seeds/yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp of poppy seeds
2 green chilies
Little bit of salt+mustard oil and few tsp of water
Soak mustard seeds and poppy seeds in water. Then grind them into a smooth paste with mustard oil and salt in whatever medium you have-sheel/nora or coffee grinder or food processor.TIP- If using food processor increase the amount of mustard seeds+poppy seeds to rotate the blades and make the paste evenly. Store the left-over shorshe bata/paste in fridge –stays fresh for 3-5 days. And use as it is required in other fish gravy or vegetables stir/fry or shukto.
There is a home-made mustard powder recipe-  Here and shorshe bata with mangetout recipe is there also

For the stir/fry or  Charchori
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
1 tsp of sugar
3-4 tbs of mustard oil

Let’s start with short-cut and energy saving method
Heat up a pressure cooker, add mustard oil, and temper it with panch phoron mix. Let it splutter.
Add all the chopped vegetables – cauliflower, radish, and brinjal, plantain,( in Charchari thumb rule is every participating vegetable should be cut evenly and in long pieces of about roughly 2 inch.)
Now fry the vegetables for 6-8 mints at med-high flame- season it with turmeric powder, red pepper powder and salt+sugar.
Add in about quarter cup of water. Cover the lid and cook for only one whistle. Open it immediately. TIP- To reduce the pressure, run cold tap water over pressure cooker, pressure subsides quickly, making the pressure cooker lid to open fast.
Now add in prepared shorshe bata/paste to it, again put that over flame. Keep mixing it very well. If you wish you may add mustard oil at this stage to give nice mustardy smell to the recipe.
Serve warm with rice.

Long process
After cleaning and cutting curly kale leaves- blanch them in a saucepan- just put the saucepan with chopped curly kale leaves over medium flame, cover it and let cook for 3-4 mints or the leaves shrinks releasing the water. TIP- Do not discard this water, save it to use it up later in making the charchari.This water is contain the essential nutrients that comes out after blanching curly kale leaves.
Now put another saucepan/kadai over flame, when properly heated add in mustard oil, temper it with panch phoron.let it splutter properly.
Add in potatoes, cauliflower, radish, plantain, brinjal to it and fry them 6-8 mints or till they becomes slightly soft.
Now add in curly kale leaves which should be finely chopped. Adjust the seasonings- red pepper powder, turmeric, salt and sugar.
Cover the saucepan or kadai and put the flame to low. Let it cook very slowly at low. Use the left-over water that came out after blanching the curly kale leaves.
When the vegetable are nearly cooked, add the shorshe bata/paste to it, give a good stir and mix well. The texture should be- makho-makho.
Take out in a serving bowl and enjoy with rice.
I also use red small radish whenever I don't get white radish here.
Curly kale leaves are highly nutritious leaves- it would be better to chop them finely. These days it’s available in reasonably priced and chopped in big packets.
Many do not add posto or poppy seeds paste for preparing shorshe bata.I too often follow that rule but this time I added poppy seeds to mustard paste as well. Generally add poppy seeds as this gives nice texture and also don’t end up in being bitter.
Shroshe bata should never be over cooked as they may turn the gravy/chorchori  bitter, so it’s always good to add them when the vegetables are nearly cooked or probably at the end stage of any recipe, this tip has never failed me so far.

Other recipe from this blog  about chorchori-

Beet Shaak'er Chorchori
Lao Shaak'er Chorchori
Notey Shaak'er Chorchori
Puin Shaak'er Chorchori

Recipes around the net
Chorchori at Kichu Khon
Panch Mishali Chorchori - Cooking in Westchester
Preoccupied's Aloo Chorchori with memories
A detailed post by Bongmom on Charchori
And at Ahaar - Cleaning the fridge with a Labra recipe
Mulo Shaak'er charchari at Homemaker's diary

Happy Cooking and Have a Nice Weekend Friends....


  1. I have never had this but it looks healthy and delicious.

  2. Excellent......sorshe diye kale leaves............asadharan hoyeche.

    1. Sanoli .thank you for liking tis chorchori ..

  3. akdom moner katha bolecho. Kale die dekhi sabai khub oven baked chips banay. tomar charcharir idea ta besh bhalo. dekhte darun.

    1. Kale leaves kotai pabo r atak balglai ki bola plz janaben

    2. Rajia ..Kale leaves you can buy from vegetable grocery stores...In India Kale leaves are not easily available ....

  4. Healthy and delicious combo,yum and flavorful dish

  5. Wat a healthy dish, never tried or had this combo.

    1. Then try it someday Priya..great way for incorporating vegetables in our diets..hugs

  6. Nice recipe..
    where do we get kale in Kolkata? Does it have a specific bengali name for it?

    1. Shaili, I don't think we can get Kale easily in Kolkata, although the world being a global village now, I will not surprised if you can get them in some posh AC super-markets there..As far as I know I have never seen my local vegetable market selling kale-leaves in Kolkata..I am afraid if one has to really make this charchari in Kolkata , probably good alternatives can be spinach or Puin or notey shak..hope it helps..

  7. where can i get kale in kolkata? i reside at gariahat.

    1. Kale is a very a good nutritious alternative for spinach/Puin?notey shak etc here in abroad ...in Kolkata ,may be you can check Spencer/Big Bazaar or something similar to these types of super-markets ...thanks


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