Thursday, June 3, 2010
Pui Shaag - er Chorchori
Pui Shaag - er Chochori is a typical Bengali dish. Chorchori in Bengali - a medley of vegetables, cooked over low heat and not very spicy.
The Botanical name of Pui Shaag is Basella alba. It is also known as Malabar spinach, Red vine spinach, Creeping spinach, etc. This creeping or climbing spinach grows very fast, can also be grown in a flowering pot at home.
My pui shag chorchori is a very simple recipe...can be cooked easily.
Pui shaag – 1 kg. The leaves need to be broken from the soft stem and chopped into small pieces. Cut the stem into 1 ½ length.
Kumro (pumpkin) cubed – 2 cups
Potatoes – 2, peeled and cubed
Eggplant (optional) – 1, cut into cubes
Green chillies – 2-3 slit in the middle
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp and Poppy seeds – 1 tsp, made into a paste (This dish can also be cooked without adding mustard and poppy seed paste).
Panch phoron – 1 ½ tsp
Haldi and red chilli powder
Sugar (optional) – as per taste. The red fresh pumpkin adds sweetness.
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp
Heat oil in a pot or wok and as soon as smoke comes up add the panch phoron and as the crackling sound comes up add the green chillies. One minute and then all the vegetables along with the pui shaag goes in. Stir and cover. Cook for a couple of minutes. Next goes in the haldi and chilli powder soon followed by salt and sugar. Cover the pot and cook over low flame. The shaag and the vegetables releases water and the whole medley begins to cook in the pot...slowly.
Don’t let the pot go unattended. Open the lid and stir it from time to time. Before all the water dries up add the mustard and poppy seed paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes over high flame till the whole thing looks mushy.
Transfer into a serving bowl...serve, eat and get the taste of it.
The dish I’ve cooked is totally vegetarian. You can also add chingri (small size prawns) and fish head to this Chorchori to serve as a non-veg dish.
To add the prawns, first clean and devein the chingri, fry and keep it. For the fish head, the hilsa fish head adds a distinct Ilish (hilsa) flavour. But you can also add the Rohu fish head and even others. Clean the fish head, fry till it looks dark and crispy. The prawns can be added 2-3 minutes before the gas is switched off. For the fried fish head, break into small pieces before adding to the chorchori.