Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chochori~Vegetable Mishmash

Amaranth leaves

Being a Bengali I love to eat leafy greens(saag). In West Bengal people eat different types of leafy greens, Palang saag(spinach), Kolmi saag(water spinach), Lau saag(leaves of bottle gourd), Kumro Saag(leaves of pumpkin) and many more. Be it sweet, or neutral or some being terribley bitter in taste saag is a common regular part in Bengali food platter. Either as simple fried(bhaja) form or mixed in the mishmash(chochori). Mostly the leaves are chopped and fried, the saag bhaja, and the stem part(daNta) is added to the mishmash, the chochori.

Mostly 5 or 7 different vegetables are used to make chochori.And the vegetables are cut into large cubes. For chochori you can use any vegetables, but potato, pumpkin, radish and egg plant are must, along with that you can use ridge gourd(jhinge), pointed gourd(potol), taro roots(kochu) and stems(danta) of leafy greens. Some also uses lentil dumplings(bori) to chochori.

It is a very healthy dish, as it has loads of veggies and requires very less spices and you can cook it in very less oil. I made mine with some amaranth stems and other veggies. I also used jackfruit seeds to my chochori.

Things you need to make chochori(mixed vegetable):

  • Potato :1cup
  • Pumpkin :1cup
  • Radish :1cup
  • Eggplant : 1/2cup
  • Ridge gourd(Jhinge) :1/2cup
  • Taro roots(Kochu) :1cup
  • Amaranth stem(Katoyar danta) :1cup
  • Jackfruit seeds(Kanthal beej): 1/4cup
  • Paanch foron(five spice mix): 1tsp
  • Green chilies:6-7
  • Turmeric powder:1/2tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil:2tbsp

How to make chochori:

1.Peel and cut the vegetables into large cubes. String the amaranth stems cut into fingure size (3inch) pieces. I steamed the jack fruit seeds separately, as it takes a lot of time to cook. Marinate the egg plant pieces with little salt and turmeric for 15min.

2.In a kadai add mustard oil, when the oil is hot add potatoes cook them in high heat for 4-5min and keep them aside. Do the same for pumpkins. Also fry the egg plant cubes in medium heat. The egg plant pieces will be fully cooked, and you only need them at the end of your cooking. The potatoes and pumpkin will be half done.

3.Now add paanch foron and green chilies to the oil. Paanch foron is mix of five spices, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, kalonji. Sometimes 'Randhuni' (very close to celery seeds) is also found in paanch foron. Take care not to burn the spices, that will give a bitter taste to your dish.

4. When the spices will spatter add radish and taro roots. Add little salt cover and cook in medium heat. Cook for 7-8min. These two vegetables take longer time to cook so I added them early. Next add the ridge gourd, cook for 2-3min. Add the potato and the danta. Cook for 3-4min. Add pumpkins and steamed jackfruit seeds. Add salt and turmeric powder. Cover and cook till the vegetables are almost done.

5. Uncover and cook in high medium flame. Chochori is a very dish. The vegetables will be cooked in its own moisture. You do not need to add water. Add sugar and mix well. Take care so the vegetables should not mashed with each other. It will be a nice mix of the veggies but again one should recognise the vegetables individually. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. If you like your dish to be hot then add more slitted green chilies.

Kanthal beej aar Danta diye Chochori (Vegetbale mish mash with green sticks and jackfrui seeds)

Serve hot with steaming hot rice and a bowl a dal(lentil soup).