Friday, July 20, 2018

Uchche chochori...

bitter gourd, recipe

It feels great to come back and write a new post. I've promised myself to post at least once a week, though not sure whether I'll be able to keep that promise to myself.. The reason behind the hiatus is my health, I was not well. Since the year 2018 started I was visiting the doctors and hospitals, went through an operation. Right now I'm feeling much better but still under regular check ups. I think not posting or not clicking and taking this long break is not solely because of my health. It's more of a mental state that put a barricade around me. I was so dispirited and needed time to look inside myself to understand what I want. The most important thing I realized during this time, we all get only a single chance to enjoy this beautiful life and we must not give up on things that we like to do and love to do. One must keep doing it, without any expectation or reward. I took up the camera and started clicking again and felt free. My blog has been always my creative outlet for me, so I will continue to do that. Thanks to all my readers and followers who encouraged and supported throughout.

The recipe I'm sharing today is a simple and humble one. A recipe that I regularly prepare in my kitchen and very common in any Bengali household. People around the world assume Bengalis only eat rice and fish (মাছ আর ভাত), but in reality there are thousands of pure vegetarian preparations in Bengali cuisine and we can survive without eating fish. Here is one such vegetarian dish that is served at lunch during the first course. Any bitter tasting dish is serve during first course, as it cleanse the palate and of course no one would like to finish off there meal with a bitter taste.

uchche chochori recipe

Though bitter gourd (করলা or উচ্ছে) is not a likable vegetable because of its bitterness, I somehow love it. I can have it in all possible ways, from boiled to fried or traditional curries. The best way to reduce the bitterness is to cook bitter gourd with other naturally sweet vegetables like pumpkin, potatoes etc. Adding other vegetables balances the bitterness. This time I added potato, pumpkin and eggplant/ aubergine to prepare the mish mash.

uchche chochori recipe

Things needed to make Uchche Chochori:

  • Bitter gourd (cut into cubes): 1 cup
  • Potato (cut into cubes): 1/2 cup
  • Pumpkin (cut into cubes): 2 cups
  • Bori (lentil nuggets): 10-12
  • Panch foron (benagli five spice mix): 1 tsp
  • Green chilies: 3-4
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard oil: 3 tbsp

Steps of making Uchche Chochori:

1. Wash all the vegetables well. Peel potato and pumpkin. Cut all the vegetables into cubes, more or less same size. If the bitter gourds have hard ripened seeds then discard the seeds.

2. In a kadhai or wok heat a tablespoon of oil, when the oil is hot fry the lentil nuggets or bori. If you do not have bori in your pantry skip this step. Take out the fried lentil nuggets and keep aside.

3.  In the same pan add more oil, fry the potato cubes till little brown spots appear. take out and keep aside.

4. In the same pan add green chilies and bengali five spice mix (panch foron) to the leftover oil. As the seeds start to splatter add the cubed bitter gourd, turmeric powder, cover and cook for 4-5 min. Stir in between.

4. Add the fried potato and pumpkin, sprinkle salt, mix well, cover and cook till the vegetables are done.

5. Add the fried lentil nuggets, sprinkle a little water (2-3 tablespoons), mix. Cover and cook over high heat for 3-4 min. Mix well. Uncover and cook for 2-3 min over high heat. Transfer to a serving bowl, serve with steamed rice.

uchche chochori recipe

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