Friday, April 26, 2013

Phulkopi Dathar Chorchori / Mishmash with Cauliflower Leaf Stalk

Phulkopi Dathar Chorchori 

Going through the photos lying in my album, I found so many pictures - time I sorted and shared them. These pictures of the Phulkopi Dathar Chorchori were clicked long back but never got a chance to be on the BlogSpot.

I sat looking at the pictures and then…

‘Why?’ cries the picture.

My consolation words, “nothing was written about you, so it stands where it is”.

“Didibhai, give me the chance to be shared with others”, say the pictures.

I thought over the words of this Cry-baby. Sitting there it may get into oblivion, so better show-off the texture, colour and the way of preparation using my thoughts and words.

Bengalis don’t like to throw away even the peeled skin of so many vegetables. Aloo-r khosha/potato skin, lau-er khosha/bottle gourd skin, kancha kolar khosha/green banana skin, and so many other peels are chopped and cooked into chorchoris or batas/paste in most Bengali kitchens.

The other day a friend told me, “I was served with the potato peel chorchori at a Bengali friend’s home and it tasted wonderful. If you have the recipe, can you share it with me?” A soft smile crossed my lips and then the sharing and…

We have so much to learn from one another and what the harm in owning up and speak out loud and say, “I’ve learnt this from so and so”. Every day is a learning day, be it in whatever field it may be.

Winter comes and the season brings with it fresh cauliflowers. Phulkopir dalna is a very common dish in my home. So also Aloo Phulkopir bhaja, phulkopir singara/samosa, phulkopir pakora, gobi paratha and…

Some childhood reminiscences: During winter the hens kept in the huge enclosures were fed with phulkopir saag and danta/cauliflower greens. They pecked with their beaks and even fought with their mates for their share. The cows were also given the greens and then they sat chewing the cud. At times the parrots nibbled the leaves, but not to their liking, they loved the Kundrus, that too the red ripe ones. Common pets, the dogs and cats were least bothered about the vegetable. As I write this I wonder how nice my childhood days were. Living in big houses with large Uthuns/open cemented space, and how we played Kumir danga/Land and the crocodile. My sons get this luxury in their Didas and Thammas house. Change has made all the difference.

Time I got out of this natter and do justice to my Cry-baby…phukopi dantar chorchori…or else will not come out of its shell again.

Phulkopi Dathar Chorchori with Rice

For the Kopir danta chorchori:

Separate the greens from the stem and the cut out thin strips from the stalks of about 2 inches long. Wash and keep it aside for that’s the main stuff of this dish -- should be about a medium bowl full.

Other ingredients:

Mustard seeds: 2 tbsp
Potato 1: Cut into mini dices
Pumpkin: about 150 gms cubed
Tomato 1: cubed
Green chilli: 3-4
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp.
Red chilli powder: ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance the taste


Put the pieced stalks, potato, tomato and pumpkin and some water, about 1 cup, and pressure cook it for 2 whistles or till the stalks are soft but with the crunch.

Make a paste of mustard seeds, 2 green chillies, a pinch of salt and a pinch of turmeric.

Now heat about a tsp. of oil in a wok. Once it is hot add the 2 remaining slit green chillies and give a stir. Soon add the contents from the pressure cooker and stir again to mix well.

Add the turmeric and red chilli powder. Once the boil comes add salt and sugar and let it cook. Add the mustard paste and mix well and cook till the pumpkin and the potatoes give a body to the Chorchori and let the water dry completely. Now it is ready to be served. That’s one of the magic of Phulkopir danta.

© gouriguha 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aamer Jelly/Mango Jelly

This recipe has brought back memories of my Ma. My Ma has left this world many years back. She was such a good cook. In Bengali they used to say, “oor hather ranna-e daroon s(h)aad , means she cooks really tasty food.” She really had some magic in her cooking. She knew so many recipes, varieties and also made innovations. Wish I had learnt them from her; I could have shared so many new recipes. But then, never thought I would be cooking in a kitchen of my own and then blogging and sharing my recipes with others.

Summer days have brought to us the most liked fruit of the year, the mango. It was only after the Dol Jatra, the festival of Holi, that we ate raw mangoes. Ma would offer raw mangoes to the Gods on the day of Dol, and then it would be the cooking of Tak in the kitchen. How we relished the thin flowing gravy of the Tak. Till now I love to mix some Tak-e-r jhol with my bowl of dal and drink it at the end of my lunch.

How can I forget those childhood days when salt mixed with red chilli powder enhanced the taste of the sour green mango that we ate and now just can’t think of biting the sour green mango. Age and time brings about so many changes in life.

Back to my mango Jelly. This recipe is simple but time consuming. But once it’s done and bottled, joy runs through…

For this we need:

Green mangoes: 1 kg
Sugar: 750 gms
1 tsp. red chilli powder
Salt: just enough to balance the taste (about half a tsp.)

Preparation time: Nearly an hour

First peel the mangoes and cut into small cubes. Separate the hard seed. Wash and place the mango pieces in a pressure cooker. Add little water (about a cup) and cook till the first whistle comes. Keep it aside.
Now put the sugar in a big kadhai/wok, add little water so that the sugar melts once it gets the heat of the oven. Check for the first thread of the syrup to come.

In the meantime mash the mango with a ladle against the sides of the cooker to make it into a thick paste.
Now add the contents of the cooker into the sugar syrup.

From now on the hard work starts. Constantly stir and don’t let the sugar burn at the bottom. Go on stirring and mixing and cooking till it becomes soggy. Now add the red chilli powder and salt and go on working till the jelly is ready. The water must have dried up by now. To check if it is done take some of it in a spoon and drop it. If it falls clean off the spoon then it is ready. Don’t over-cook for it will become hard once the jelly cools down. Once it becomes hard it will lose its texture and taste.

Cool and preserve in the jars that has been washed and cleaned and dried earlier. Jars have to be clean and dry to avoid growth of fungus.

This Khatta-Meetha jelly tastes good with parathas, rotis, bread and can be used like a dip with bhajjias. And why not, a spoonful can also be tasted just for a change.

© gouriguha 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Soup with the Bite

Variety in food – that’s what – makes all the difference to a person’s taste and appetite. And then, comes, the dish from one’s own kitchen to be laid on the table for people at home. Everyday cooking is like passing an exam on a daily basis. Little more salt and faces come up and speak out frankly, “aajke aee tarkari-ta-te noon besi hoyeche. Or – dal-ta aeeto jaljale aar mach khoob kora bhaja… (this curry has too much salt, the dal is so watery, the fish has been fried too much).

Hah! Says the lady, but not unhappy with what she has heard. “It happens, it happens”, she says with a wide smile, taking it sportingly. Silently she vows to serve them a different dish, not the regular ones for dinner. That’s how this soup comes up. The fridge is opened and all the stuff comes out from the Big Thanda Box – the refrigerator – understood…

Jokes apart let me serious. J

The vegetables for this dish:

Carrots: 2
Radish: 2 along with the stems of the greens cut into 2 inch length
Brinjal/Eggplant: 1
Cauliflower florets: 6-7
Green bananas: 2
Tomatoes: 3 nice ripe red ones
Green chilli’s 3: slit in the middle

Other ingredients:

Oil: tsp.
Haldi powder: ½ tsp.
Black pepper or chilli powder (as you prefer) ½ tsp.
Salt: to taste
Panch phoron: 2 tsps. (for all the aromas of jeera, sauf, methi, kalonji and mustard)
Sugar (optional): 1 tsp.

To start off with the cooking, first wash and cut the vegetables into small pieces.  Put all the vegetables in the pressure cooker, add enough water and wait for the first whistle to come. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool.

Once it has cooled down, open the lid. In the meantime take a kadhai/wok and put it on the burning stove. Now add oil and once the oil starts to release the heat add the panch phoron. Let the whole spices crackle, but don’t let it burn. Once the aroma of the spices start to come up, pour the vegetables along with the vegetable stock from the pressure pan into it. Now add the haldi powder, chilli or pepper powder, salt and sugar and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. By now the flavour of all the vegetables has mixed together with a slight sour taste from the tomatoes. Soup is ready to be served…hot of course…

Enjoy the soup with the bite of the veggies. You can also eat it with hot rotis or with the dip of bread slices.

© gouriguha