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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vegetarian Dhanshak - A Parsi Dal with vegetables


It never occurred to me that someday I would be cooking up “dhanshak” in my kitchen, but then life is as such –“unpredictable”. I was watching  this YouTube video, which has nothing to do with cooking, so when the lead actress- a Parsi girl by herself, showed her “lunch dabba –Tiffin” it had dhanshak and rice. Since then, my mind was pushing me hard to cook dhanshak with whatever ingredients I had in my pantry. But I waited, waited till I got this ready-made dhanshak masala powder packet in Indian grocery super-market here in UK.Now, imagine a Bengali woman cooking up a Parsi recipe and that too in a "phoren" land, globalization has introduced many new features in to our home, and with it many new “zara hat ke” recipes.





But, somehow I felt a strong urge to pen it down , type it down, as this was quite a surprise for me. And I didn’t want to loose any account of it or wake up someday and realize that I have completely forgotten about dhanshak recipe, the one I cooked, so a hurried post that you see now. I felt like if I read it some three years down from now on and try to recall what was going on my mind while cooking up dhanshak, it should sense all genuine, what ingredients were missing, what should have been part of cooking dhanshak recipe or how it was received at the dinner table by my folks. You know in-depth analysis of everything, but then you may ask why I should bog you down with my ramblings. I think ramblings are eternal part of any recipe that is being cooked up in any kitchen I guess. That says “adda” and Bengali two inseparable entities, what goes in a Parsi home that is not known to me as I have no Parsi friends over here, oye! I don’t even have any in India as well. My sole source of hope was the internet, and with so many recipes out in net, I could not just decide, the correct way of cooking up traditional dhanshak recipe; it all looked very hotched-potched to me like cobwebs, but even cobwebs have some patterns.

So, I took the “traditional cook “part out of the cooking board and made her sleep for a while, and meanwhile the “experimental cook” took the baton and proceeded for the time being. I happen to zeroed down these two – one is authentic as it sounds as it comes from another Bengali who is married to a Parsi Mamas Dal at Finely Chopped and another is a name one can reckon with – Khana-Khazana-Dhanshak recipe…with these two recipes as my guide in this unknown territory that I was about to venture out, in a deep ocean and I was left dabbling, trying to paddle up before it’s too late.

Whatever, my introduction to Parsi cuisine or for that matter Parsi Culture and nice people, was only through Bollywood movies or may be up to an extent Freddie Mercury-Queen fame or Zubin Mehta.Yes, you read it right; a faint image comes to my mind whenever I try to capture a Parsi way of life- Pearl Padamasee –“Nargis”making a cup of tea for her onscreen husband Ashok Kumar –“Homi” and then the brewing tussle between their children. Khatta_Meetha_(1978_film)” was epic- Who needs Oscars anyway, just dig into old archive of Bollywood movies, there are many such decent stories. See even the name of Bollywood movie has something to do with eating- “khatta” means sour, “mitha” means sweet .When they sang "Thoda hai Thodi Ki Zaroorat Hai".. 
I thought, that is how one’s life should be, but for every people that “thoda part” is different. you know for some “thoda means—“thoda!!" and for some this thoda means - "thoda!!"…..

Isn’t it same for the red pepper powder or salt in our day-today cooking—my "thoda" can be little different from your "thoda" or vice versa…

If a Parsi bhai/bahan is reading this recipe, then please do not judge on the grounds of recipes or cooking styles that you all are familiar with or might have seen your mother or grandmother cooking up. This Bengali lady is trying to capitalize the ingredients that are now readily available near her neck of the woods for that matter and believe her when she says she adores dal/chawal, that includes dearly dhanshak as well. Now somebody would even question the significance of dhanshak in a Bengali kitchen. But this is not Navroz/Nowruz as the Parsi New Year I guess has still some time- may be in the month of March but official holiday as I happen to check is in the month of August.
Anyhow,if you really care to know,then traditional dhanshak as customary is served in funeral get-to gathers.

But please, as I said I have put the traditional cook to sleep and the experimental cook has taken over, and this recipe is what my folks liked. Although I would welcome all suggestions to improve this recipe and constructive criticism is always welcome but be kind to it .I know you all will be.

Now to the vegetarian dhanshak recipe made in our apartment kitchen
Dhanshak- Vegetarian way 
Recipe requirements
  • 1 cup of masoor dal/pink lentils or red lentils 
  • ½ cup of toor dal/arhar ki dal/yellow split pigeon pea lentil 
  • 1 small brinjal/eggplant/aubergine
  • 2 cups of pumpkin cube pieces-1*1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup of bottle gourd pieces or any squash-1*1 inch cubes
  • Roughly about ½ cup of fenugreek leaves 
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 3-4 fat clove garlics
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder(adjust heat as per personal preference)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 3 -4 tsp dhanshak masala
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 tbs of mustard oil or any cooking oil
  • 2 tsp of ghee



Method
  • Wash and clean the dals/lentils - masoor, toor dal and then soak them in water for about 1hr.Clean the dals/lentils well in several changes of water. Many times other dal/lentils are also used in addition to toor dal.But Toor dal or arhar ki dal as we know it by common name is the base lentil for dhanshak and in addition to this masoor dal is also used.
  • Now add in ample water in a pressure cooker, to fully submerge the lentils and at least up to the mark up three fingers up the level for lentils. Now add in all the chopped vegetables- pumpkin, brinjal, bottle gourd, potatoes etc .Check the water level if it’s still above three finger mark, if not then add in about 2 cups of water. When I say cups- I mean tea cups, not large coffee mugs.
  • Secure the lid and pressure cook it for two-three whistles. Now let the pressure subside.
  • Meanwhile we will prepare the tadka/phoron/tempering
  • Heat up a fry pan, add in cooking oil, and add in finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Many times I do grate them with the help of mandolin.
  • Now fry them well for about 5-7 mints or till the rawness of onion, ginger and garlic fades away.
  • Add in finely chopped fenugreek leaves and tomatoes now.
  • Adjust with seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, salt, sugar and dhanshak masala.I always use ready-made dhanshak masala powder available here. Although if you can, then go ahead with the basic masala for dhanshak recipe. I use Mangal brand dhanshak masala.
  • Add this fried masala with the cooked dal.Actually before adding the fried masala, check if the cooked dal needs to be made little thin, as with all the vegetables and lentils and that too pressure cooked, turns it very thick. Add enough water to make normal gravy like consistency, and then add the above fried dhanshak masala.Add in finely chopped coriander leaves as well. Adjust salt and sugar if required.
  • Let it simmer for 5-7 mints or till the entire things gets well mixed up. Add in ghee. Actually dhanshak without ghee is unimaginable.
  • This is the very basic way of making vegetarian dhanshak, but dhanshak with meat is the traditional way of preparing Parsi dhanshak .You may add in small cube size pieces of mutton, when frying onion, ginger and garlic and let it cook with the dhanshak masala.Then transfer this cooked mutton with all the fried dhanshak masala to the lvegetables, lentils and pressure cook it for three-four whistles.

This entire process can alternately be done on a slow-cooker.




Note
The dhanshak recipes that are served in many restaurants here in abroad, add many other unnecessary things like –pineapple, spinach etc.Now I am not sure if traditional dhanshak recipe calls for it. However when ever I made it , I always skip these fruits and vegetables- basic vegetables as to my knowledge,that goes in to dhanshak recipe are- pumpkin/butter nut squash, brinjal, fenugreek leaves, bottle gourd and sometimes potatoes as this add up to the volume of gravy. The lentils that go in to making this dal are toor dal/arhar ki dal and masoor dal.And a compulsory accompaniment is Brown rice, if you like eating it. 

For more reference of Dhanshak - 

Happy Cooking Friends


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kanch Kolar Kofta Curry- Green Bananas Kofta Curry


Last time when I was doing the vegetable grocery, I had purchased some green bananas as well.Usually we make a simple"patla jhol"- recipe with green bananas and few chunks of brinjal and potato thrown in , sometimes even ridge gourd/jhinge or add green bananas in charchari and Shukto.But past couple of months we have been wishing to make kanch kolar kofta curry.And it has never occurred to me that this recipe has not been part of the blog so far, until I clicked at the recipe box,although have made kanch kolar kofta curry many times but surprisingly never mentioned it here.So, this time I made sure to click pictures and write recipe before I forget again.


I don’t have to re-iterate the benefits of green vegetables, everybody these days are aware about it.Steamed and boiled green bananas mashed with some green chillies and mustard oil; tastes absolutely tasty with warm cooked rice.Some even make a very delectable kosha bata- like here at Cooking and Recipes and here at Bongmom Cookbook....
Koftas in general are like many other introductions to Bengali cuisine due to the influence of Mughals in the region.And I think, many other recipes of koftas are quite staple in many Bengali homes, like this lao-kofta curry, which is another frequent in our home.Non –vegetarian keema kofta curry is another preparation with minced chicken or meat.Although we as family, don’t eat red meat any more, so most of the time keema kofta curry that we make is only of chicken mince.
Anyhow this post is about a vegetarian recipe for "green bananas koftas" and believe me this preparation is also a crowd puller in case you are struggling to fix a menu for your vegetarian friends.
Now to the recipe



Kanch Kolar Kofta Curry
Recipe requirements
*For the koftas-vegetarian fried balls*
  • 4-5 green bananas
  • 2 medium size potatoes
  • 3-4 heaped tbs of besan/gram flour
  • 1 tsp of freshly churned cumin powder or you may use home-made masala powder , recipe listed below
  • ½ tsp of garam masala
  • Salt as per taste -I added 1/2 tsp of salt

*For the wet masala paste to be used in as base for gravy*
  • 2 medium size purple onions
  • 4-5 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger roots
  • 1 medium size tomato or 7-8 cherry tomatoes
Grind all the above with about a 2-3 tbs of water and 1 tbs of mustard oil


*For Tempering/phoron*
  • 2-3 tej patta
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 crushed cardamom
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 3-4 tbs of mustard oil
  • about half cup of oil to deep fry the koftas

Seasonings for the gravy

  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder(adjust heat as per personal preference)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 3-4 tsp of freshly prepared masala powder
  • 1 tsp of salt for the gravy
Now the recipe for freshly prepared masala powder
  • 3-4 tbs of coriander seeds
  • 3-4 whole dry red pepper
  • 2 tbs of cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs of fennel
  • 1tsp of fenugreek
  • 2-3 cardamom
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 2-3 cinnamon

#Roast above whole seeds  for couple of mints and then dry grind them very finely. Use this as base masala for other vegetable based gravy if you have left-over.#

Method
  • First make all the masala powder necessary to make kanch kolar kofta curry/green banana fried balls in gravy.
  • Toast some cumin seeds separately and then grind them finely. Reserve this to be used in fried vegetable balls.
  • Then roast –4 tbs of coriander,1 tbs of fennel,1 tsp of fenugreek, 2 tbs of cumin,4-5 dry red pepper,3 cardamom, 2 cinnamon and 1 black cardamom for 2-3 mints at med flame. Then dry grind those in mixer or wet grind them over sheel/nora-shil/batta.But if you wet grind them over shil-nora then reserve it in fridge with some oil added so that next time you may use this left-over paste.Use within 2-3 days of storage.Generally I always dry grind them and store in air-tight containers.
  • There will be left-over of this freshly prepared masala, reserve in air tight containers to be used later on.

  • Now to making of koftas-
  • Wash green bananas. Put to pressure cook them or boil them along with potatoes. One whistle and then take it off. Let it cool off properly, and open the lid. Take out boiled green bananas and potataoes. Take off the skin and add the freshly prepared cumin powder and 2-3 tsp of home-made masala powder..
  • Add in besan/gram flour and mash the boiled green bananas and potatoes well with the seasonings-cumin powder+fresh masala powder, mentioned. 
  • Now divide this into small portions to be made into round balls, roll them round with the help of your palms. P.S.- many times these small balls are dipped in to besan batter and then deep fried. I generally don’t do that.
  • Now heat up a fry pan, add in mustard oil. Let it heat up properly, add in 2-3 small balls at a time and deep fry them. Keep on doing the same and fry rest of the small balls/koftas
  • If the oil is left, use it for making the gravy, add in little bit of more cooking oil if required.
  • Add in tej patta, and sugar, let the sugar melt and caramelize for about a mint or two.
  • Add in cloves and crushed cardamom.
  • Add in the freshly made wet masala paste now. Keep on stir /fry it. Add in dry seasonings- red pepper powder, turmeric powder, salt and home-made fresh powder. Add in finely chopped tomato and splash bit of water. Keep on stir/fry for 4-5 mints at med-high flame. Then splash more water as it will tend to go dry. If you see some oil coming out by sides, then the masala is ready , otherwise keep on stir/fry till the masala paste turns somewhat dark in colour.The entire stir/fry process will take about 10-14 mints at medium flame.
  • Add in 3-4 cups of water now. Cover and let it simmer for 8-10 mints. At the last phase of making the gravy add in fried vegetable balls/kanch kola kofta now and cover. Let it cook for a minute or two. Do not over cook them they will tend to break and go soggy. Take off and let it rest.Don't forget to add about 1tsp of ghee and 1/2 tsp of garam masala at the end if you need more flavour, I don't add them these days any more.
  •  At the time of serving garnish with cream, ginger julienne  and coriander leaves. Koftas tends to soak up gravy way too fast, so add ample water at the time of making the gravy. Anyhow mine always turns little bit ‘makho-makho” which we tend to like more than runny gravy for kanch kolar kofta curry.



Note
If you are not into making as such fresh home powders for the kofta curry, then any regular spice packet powders can also be used. But believe me the key to a favorable kanch kolar kofta curry is the freshly churned spices in home, no matter how much time it requires to grind them all , but it's all worth it at the end.

Happy Cooking Friends

Thursday, February 14, 2013

White Turnip stir/fry recipe -Shalgam/Shaljam Ki Sabzi


The week as it looks is very busy, with Saraswati Pujo and V-day happening soon, makes it even busier.
Now I know whenever Puja falls on weekday or a normal working day, my heart wish things should be other way around, festivals should happen on weekends, when families have more relaxed time with themselves and there is no rushing to work it through. No matter what I wish things will pretty go, as per routine-wise with -kids having to go to school and grown –up to their offices.
Back home Saraswati puja is one of the main festivals for us Bengalis. How many of you can remember wearing yellow sari or yellow clothes on this day and offering pushpanjali to Goddess of knowledge, having bhog afterwards,then heading straight to watch latest Hindi film with flock of your friends.For little ones and  innocent kids Saraswati Puja means a days off from studying, some will be having “hathe-khori” –introduction to life’s real challenges ahead – studying is, these days a bigger challenge.Given a choice of playing and studying , most of the kids will always choose to play.My Ma would say on this day “Aajke porte neyi” and with that, we siblings felt a sigh of relief. No study- means playing more or watching others, kite flying upstairs on terrace .Well kite-flying is an integral part of every festival, isn't?
While our Ma would be busy preparing khichuri - but sans onion/garlic for niramish ranna, Charchari  and Chatni  for us and not to forget gota sheddo  eaten next day on shashti , we siblings would end up making some crafts whole of the afternoon or end up kite flying upstairs.


And with end of “Basant Panchmi” as that is what most of us know Saraswati puja in Northern part of India – “Kumbh mela” will also be coming to an end. Although few will still be hanging on camp-side, till Shivratri is over. I know, whole world wonders how millions come to take holy bath in river Ganges, some deliberately pulls down the facts as this doesn't make sense to them  and many are amazed, to me it’s about ones own faith and believe. There are things which go beyond analysis and probably this is one of them. One mistake and like what happened this year, it shows up in the news, but can we just shift our attention and imagine controlling millions of people-size of a population of one big city or probably more , most of them are illiterate and  come from very humble back-ground. But it’s amazing how people, volunteers and army manage and organize this mela with such efficiency, not to mention the support of local people which goes unnoticed. And it never occurs to many, this is really a remarkable phenomenon how everything is planned and synchronized. One bad incident and we start moaning about the mis-management but if you really look deeply, so many volunteers, group of peoples and locals who support the cause irrespective of caste and religion, they are working overnight to make the Mela success. There had been many times we got stuck in the traffic for 2 -3 hrs on the Shashtri bridge which connects the city to other eastern part of UP, but we waited patiently sitting there in our bus or cars to clear up .What baffling days were those...Reminds me of many funny momentsJ...
But this Mela is a place where one can be lost also – and has given many brain-storming story ideas for many Hindi flims.Two brothers separated from each other in younger days, later realize they are brothers while fighting it out with goons, identifying the same tattoos they have on their arms, flashback scenes and then with a thunderous background music - “Tum merey Bhai ho!!”, suddenly the tearful reunion song starts playing in the back-ground. Ok I can even go into details how the stampede on one of the Mela venue, can play havoc in their life, but it will be a long story and slightly deviating from the topic of cooking.

Anyhow, what I will miss this Saraswati Pujo will be the Kul or Ber in Hindi /kind of red berries  which are so easily available during this time of the year back home especially paka Kul/ripened ber.And the Kul’er chatni that my Ma would usually make with topa kul,

But this post is not only about what I will miss, but about what I have right now J
And I do have white turnip-shalgam-shaljam  in my vegetable pantry, so it calls for a simple sabzi/torkari and that is what should be made and so it’s here.The simplicity lies in the fact that it has very basic seasonings one always can have in their stock.

White Turnip-Shalgam er tarkari- White turnip stir/fry with potato and tomato-Shaljam ki Sabzi 
Recipe requirements

  • 1 bunch white turnip- 4-5 turnip
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • Seasoning
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of panch phoron or nigella seeds-kalo jeery
  • 2 tej patta (optional)
  • 3-4 tbs of mustard oil



Method

  • Wash and clean the white turnip well in water to get rid of dirt and mud including the green leaves if they have.
  • Then chop the leaves finely and cut white turnip into cubes.
  • Now cut the potato into cubes and roughly chop tomato.
  • Heat up a saucepan, add in mustard oil, and add in phoron/tadka/tempering- with panch phoron or nigella seeds-kalo jeerey and tej patta.Although if tej patta is not available or out of pantry stock, you may skip it.
  • Now add in chopped potato pieces and chopped white turnip pieces and the green leaves. Let it fry for 4-5 mints.
  • Now add in all the seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder and salt.
  • Mix and stir for another minute or two. Splash some water over it and mix.
  • Now cover the saucepan and let it cook for 8-12 mints. When all the vegetables turn little bit mushy or potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat. White turnip cooks fast as compared to potato and release  water which makes it enough to cook within, however if you wish to have a rasa sabzi – with gravy then 1-2 cups of water can be added.


Serve with warm cooked rice or roti whatever way you prefer. I generally add the green leaves as well to this sabzi/torkari, however if one feels, one can avoid adding it.Garnish with coriander leaves.Many make non-veg curry with shaljam - mutton or gosht shaljam curry is one such popular recipe.

Some of the pictures of our outings on weekends…Please click on pictures to see enlarge pictures.....


View across Thames river..seen through London eye...



Another one - across Thames river...




And on the other side- Big Ben ..London skyline looks stunning , even if it was cloudy...I was expecting to catch the sun-shadow effect ..but then weather god has another plan...Anyhow this is what we got ....


While walking along the sides of the river..This  book display caught our attention...


Some of them were published long back ..some of them were printed when we were not even born..One of the oldest book that caught our eye was of Ben Hur - probably printed in 50's ...but then there were many other books which were even printed in 30's as well...


Since Saraswati Puja is all about knowledge and worshiping the goddess of knowledge, thought of putting up these pictures and who doesn't like reading story books-fiction and non-fiction comes later on ..
These books were displayed very neatly, mind you this is not the single table, there were 6-8 tables like this on display..Some even had very old hand painted British landscape pictures in black-white/ink paintings, which were re- printed way back.These old books, which looked somewhat tired ,many must have been part of many gorgeous Victorian home book shelves, god knows where the original owners are now.If you can realize, every book must have so many stories to tell , if it can have a voice of itself.

What remains constant is "knowledge" that comes from these books, if we share, it keeps on increasing- the flow never stops ....So, as a practice even we give away books to charity so that other can take benefits from reading it and many times we purchase books to support the cause as well.

Ok all dearies, we will be making some of these in pictures for this year Saraswati puja as well.Here is our platter from last year..



Although many will like thick khichuri/  or shukno khichuri , but we as a family like little runny khichuri with lots of gravy ,so make what suits you and enjoy. And also don't forget gota sheddo  if you like eating it..

To all wish you a happy V-day and Saraswati Puja r shubecha in advance...Au revoir mon ami/amie.....

Happy Cooking Friends


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Teto'r Dal -Mong Dal cooked with Bitter gourd, Kochu'r Tarkari- Arbi ki Sabzi/Taro roots stir/fry, Beet Koraishutir Tarkari - Beet Green peas stir/fry- our Niramish Platter


The Indian grocery store that we have over here is on farther end of our vicinity. Now for us it’s not always possible to walk with a jute bag, tucked inside our armpit and do vegetable shopping as we are habitual of doing it back home or might have seen our parents doing that way may be at least once in a life-time.Although these days back home, even vegetable vendors do home-delivery and are very much hi-tech people with latest mobiles,now all one needs is to call them up and they will do home delivery but don’t expect them to strike a conversation with you as they have other clients to look after who might be expecting them to turn up.So, gone are the days when one can go to vegetable shopping, smell and feel the vegetables and do bargain, anyhow when everybody is going technical/electronic, why these people should be left behind .


And over here,I have to motivate myself to travel to that far corner of our vicinity and bring fresh green vegetables home. And believe me once I am there is no stopping. I really like to pick everything, sometimes smell and feel, seeing all those vegetables, my mind starts planning what should be made in due course of coming week ahead.Then there are quite other vegetables which are not part of our staple Bengali cooking and which do tends to intimate me, but still I refrain myself from buying them, exception being curry patta- we, I mean me and my husband really like the smell of curry patta, although my daughter still hasn’t developed that affinity.And then many of them are the ones on which our Bengali cooking adhere. But I control myself; trying to recollect what my ma and ma-in-law used to make with those vegetables. Then I start picking those “chosen ones”- vegetables that I would like to cook as it used to be made in our home, keeping in mind the choices of my folks over here.Generally I like to pick at least these or possibly almost all of them depending on the availability and quality - sajne data/drumstick, korola/bitter gourd, green banana, green papaya, curry patta, and coriander leaves, parwal, turnip, beet, cabbage etc. 




Even though some of the vegetables are not relished in our home, but still they are very much sneaked into eating many other ways. But then, even with such efforts there is still couple of them which are never liked in whatever way I would try to make them. Actually it’s mainly two of them -Korola/bitter gourd and Kochu/Arbi or taro.I have given many lectures on the benefits of these vegetables, but it came back to me, re-bouncing. Anyhow can’t change the way my DD and DH like to eat and eating should be a pleasure not punishment.
“Kochur tarkari with green peas”- arbi ki sabzi/taro vegetable stir/fry is something I like to eat quite often compared to this, my folks are not into eating much of this and so is “teto’r dal”- korola/bitter gourd cooked with lentils. So, whenever I make “teto r dal” or “kochur tarkari”, I have to make a separate dal  and sabzi/tarkari for my DD and DH.And it’s most of the time tomato-masoor dal as the dal cooks quite fast as compared to toor dal/arhar dal.Some times when I pressure cook the mong lentils, I remove my portions and add in fried bitter gourd pieces which I generally like to do it in advance and reserve rest of the dal for tempering with tomato to make tok’er dal.This isn’t a case in our paternal home where tero’r dal is quite a staple especially in summers. I haven’t seen my ma-in-law making this dal but have heard from my father-in-law that his mother used to make this dal often. There- tradition is all about how one perceives things and likes to incorporate, so what works best for me, might not work for you as well.Although I would say if you really like to incorporate some healthy recipes,particularly low-calorie recipes, in your menu then once in a while one can make these vegatarian recipes and many more such things.

Now to the recipe part



Kochur Tarkari-Arbi Ki sabzi- Taro root-(Satoimo) stir/fry with green peas
Recipe requirements-(Serves 3-4)
  • About 10-12 Kochu- as in Bengali /Arbi as in Hindi /Taro root in English/ Satoimo as in Japanese
  • 1 cup of fresh green peas or frozen green peas whatever available
  • 1 medium size potato
  • Seasoning
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of ginger paste
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • Two pinch of hing
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 2 tej patta
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3-4 tbs of mustard oil

Method
  • Wash and clean taro root/kochu/arbi in water to get rid of dirt and mud.I tend to leave them in water for 1 hr and then rub them with hands to get rid of dirt, this way it's much easier.
  • Then pressure cook them for one whistle with sufficient water. Let the pressure subside, open the lid.
  • Take out the boiled arbi/kochu and then peel the skin. Cut roughly in slices or rounds whatever way you prefer.
  • Now cut the potato and de-shell fresh green peas or use frozen ones.
  • Heat up a saucepan, add in mustard oil, and add in phoron/tadka/tempering- with cumin seeds,hing and tej patta. Sometimes kalo jeery/nigella seeds also is used.
  • Add in ginger paste.I even use fresh grated ginger, that imparts nice gingery flavour. Fry them for 2 mints.
  • Now add in chopped potato pieces and chopped and boiled kochu/arbi pieces. Let it fry for 4-5 mints.
  • Now add in all the seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder,coriander powder and salt.
  • Add in frozen green peas. Mix and stir for another minute or two.
  • Now cover the saucepan and let it cook for 6-7 mints or till the potatoes are well cooked.
  • When all the vegetables turn little bit mushy, turn off the heat.Kochu/arbi is bit slimy, so if you wish you may add bit of lemon juice at the end to get rid of sliminess, although I don't do that generally.
  • Serve with warm cooked rice or roti whatever way you prefer.



Beet Koraishutir Tarkari 
Recipe requirements
(Serves 3-4)
  • 2 -3 medium size beet
  • 1 cup of fresh green peas or frozen green peas whatever available
  • 1 medium size potato
  • Seasoning
  • 3/4  tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1-2  tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds/panch phoron
  • 2 tej patta
  • 2 dry red pepper
  • pinch of hing(optional)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3-4 tbs of mustard oil or any other cooking oil

Method
  • Wash beet very well in  water.
  • Cut roughly in cubes with potatoes, or  whatever way you prefer.
  • De-shell fresh green peas or use frozen ones, whatever is available.
  • Heat up a saucepan, add in mustard oil, and add in phoron/tadka/tempering- with cumin seeds and tej patta.Although sometimes I like to use kalo jeery/nigella seeds or panch phoron as well.
  • Now add in chopped potato pieces and chopped beet pieces. Let it fry for 4-5 mints.
  • Now add in all the seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder and salt.
  • Add in frozen green peas. Mix and stir for another minute or two.
  • Now cover the saucepan and let it cook for 8-10 mints.
  • When all the vegetables turn little bit mushy, turn off the heat.take out in a separate bowl.Sometimes when I do feel I try to include fried Bodi/dried lentil dumplings as well.




Teto’r dal – Yellow mong dal- lentils cooked with Bitter gourd
- serves 3-4 
  • 1 cup of dhuli mong dal
  • 1 karela/bitter gourd or korola
  • Seasonings
  • ¾ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of kalo jeerey/nigella seeds/kalaunji
  • 2 dry red pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbs of mustard oil



Method
  • Wash and clean mong dal.Pressure cook for one whistle in ample water. Let the pressure subside, open the lid. If the water has all been soaked up, then add about 1 or 2 cups of water now.
  • Meanwhile the dal is being cooked. Cut and chop bitter gourd into small pieces and marinate it in little bit of turmeric powder and salt. Now let it sit so that the water comes out.
  • Heat up a saucepan,add in cooking oil, add in marinated bitter gourd pieces and fry them for about 5-6 mints at medium flame or till the bitter gourd/korola pieces turn slightly brown. Take out and then proceed for tempering the dal.
  • Add in more mustard oil now, add in nigella seeds/kalunji/kalo jeery and then add dry red pepper.
  • Add in fried korola/bitter gourd pieces, transfer this phoron/tadka/tempering to he cooked dal.
  • Now let the dal simmer for about 3-4 mints or till korola/bitter gourd pieces are well incorporated into the cooked mong dal.
  • This dal is always eaten as first course.Please include at least one bhaja/fry like potato bhaja or begun bhaja /eggplant fry , even better if you can make a side-dish like the above recipes.
Note-
Alternately you can cook bitter gourd pieces with the simmering mong dal/lentil. Although the above way it also comes out nice.

Happy Cooking Friends