Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Bengal Special Chorchori

Chorchori is a very simple yet delicious part of Bengali cuisine. While it is similar with the regular mix vegetable curry that we get in most other parts of the country, the addition of mustard and poppy seed paste makes it different from the rest. This dish can be prepared with any combination of veggies like spinach, drumsticks, brinjal, cauliflower, and even leftover cauliflower stems and any variety of greens. I had just a Chayote (or Squash as we call it in Bengali/Assamese) and some broad beans (or Sim in Bengali/Assamese). So go ahead and enjoy this bengal speciality with hot steaming plain rice and crispy fish fries or potato crispies (if you are a vegetarian).

1 chayote (squash) chopped into medium sized cubes
1 medium potato, cubed into similar size as the chayote
6-7 broad beans cut into 2" pieces
1 tbsp mustard seeds, soaked
1 tbsp poppy seeds, soaked
2-3 green chillies
1 tsp kalonji or onion seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp ginger grated
Handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp mustard oil 

In a grinder, make a paste with the soaked mustard and poppy seeds and the chillies. Add a dash of water if required. Keep aside.
In a pan, heat the oil and bring it to smoking point. Now add the onion seeds and let it splutter. Tip in the grated ginger and stir for 1 min. Now add all the chopped veggies and fry on medium heat till slightly browned. Now add the dry spices and stir till the masalas are fried and evenly coat the veggies. Now add about a cup of water and cover cook till the veggies are cooked enough but not mushy or overcooked. Now add the mustard poppy paste and mix well. Cover again and cook for 5-10 minutes until the gravy dries up and the masalas and the paste gets stuck on the veggies (makhamakha in Bengali). You will know that the dish is done when you start getting the lovely aroma of the mustard seeds coming out of the pan when you remove the cover. Check the seasoning and add the sugar.It is  important to add the sugar at the end to ensure the sweetness is not lost with the other spices. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with plain rice and a dash of mustard oil on top (optional).


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