Monday, June 5, 2017

Chingri Mach diye Lau Shak-er Charchari ( Bottle Gourd Greens with Pawns ~ a Bengali Delicacy)

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         The nutritional  value of Bottle Gourd is known to us all. The fruit is a store-house of Vitamin C, Thiamin, Niacin (vitamin B-3), vitamin B-5, vitamin B-6 and many other nutrients. It also contains minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, sodium, manganese and magnesium. Bottle gourd is one of the lowest calorie vegetables and contains 95% water. Therefore, it  keeps your body cool in summer. Bottle gourd tender leaves and stems are also edible and contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than its fruit.

           Because of the richness in terms of vitamins and minerals, in Bengali Cuisine, we have recipes for every part of the plant - fruit, the green part of the plant - leaves and tender stems and with skin of the fruit, too. I have shared many recipes with the fruit or bottle gourd and even two recipes with the skin of the bottle gourd(check below). But never shared any recipe with the bottle gourd greens.
          So today is the day when I will share a delicacy with bottle gourd greens, i.e., leaves and tender stems. This dish is called " Lau Shaker Chorhori". The word ‘ Chorchori’ in Bengali means almost fried or dry vegetable dish made with just a tempering and minimal spice added. We, Bengalis  make Chorchoris from all all the vegetables like ‘Kumro chorchori’(Pumpkin fry) , Aloo chochori (Potato fry) or ‘Dharos chorchori’(Lady’s finger fry) and many more but sometimes prawn or tiny fish is added to enhance the taste.

            In Lau Shaker Chorchori, few selective vegetables goes into this with bottle gourd leaves and tender stems and a little mustard and poppy seed paste added at the end of the dish, to make this dish taste finger-licking good with hot rice. If you are non-vegetarian, try adding medium or small sized prawns into this dish. You can make this dish without prawns too.

You Need :
Bottle gourd leaves and stems : 2 stems with leaves, chopped
Prawns(medium) : 9-10
Potato : 2, medium, cubed
Pumpkin : few, medium sized cubes
Pointed gourd/patol : 1/2 cup, cut into circles
PanchPhoton(Bengali five-spice mix) : 1 tsp. [mix fennel seed, mustard seed, cumin seed, black cumin seed and fenugreek seed-mix into equal quantity and USE]
Dry red Chilli : 1, whole
Turmeric powder : 1-2 tsp.
Green chilli : 2-3, slitted
Mustard  seed : 1 tsp.
Poppy seed : 2 tsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil(preferably mustard oil) : 1 tblsp.(oil for frying prawns ) + 1 tsp. (for cooking)

How To :
  • Preperation : Cut bottle gourd stems into 2 inch long pieces, and chop the leaves into big pieces. Separate the stems and leaves as we are going to add them in different times in the dish. Also because stem needs more time to cook than leaves. Wash carefully in a big bowl of water.
  • Cube all the other vegetables. Make a smooth paste of mustard and poppy seed, adding a pinch of salt in there. Keep aside. Smear little salt and turmeric powder over prawns and keep them marinated for at least 15-30 minutes.
  • Cooking : Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, fry the prawns in medium heat on both sides till they turn slightly brown. Remove and keep aside. If you're not using prawns, skip this step.
  • In the same oil, all 1 tsp. oil and heat again(if you are using mustard oil, you have to wait till smoke comes out from the oil). Temper with dry red chilli and 1 tsp. panchPhoron, when seeds crackle, add potato, patol(pointed gourd), pumpkin cubes and bottle gourd stems. Saute adding little salt for about 2-3 minutes. Then add turmeric powder and slitted green chillies at least 2 or more if you want. Add fried prawns also at this moment.
  • Saute everything together in medium flame for another 2 minutes. Now add another 1 cup of water to cook the vegetables. Cover with a lid and let them cook. After 4-5 minutes, when there is little water left, add leaves and mustard-poppy seed paste. Mix the paste well with everything. Add sugar and salt to taste. 
  • When all the water eveporates and veggies are cooked, remove from heat. Serve with warm freshly made rice and enjoy the deliciousness.................
  • Try it to believe me. :)
  





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