Monday, April 30, 2007

I Believe...

... in Angels, something good in everything I see...
(Courtesy: Abba)

The Desi Momz Club is celebrating May with Motherhood. If you want to share an anecdote, a story, a cherished memory about your Mother, your Ma-in-law or any Mother you know send us a mail at e-mail: If you are a member just come and post. Come celebrate with us...

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Palang Saag er Chop

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No, it does not mean Chopped Spinach, silly, to find out, go through my rant...

(Note: A part of this post shared at Desi Momz Club)

The Parents left over the weekend after a long stay, leaving both me and S miserable. Don't know about D though. It's amazing how guys never crib about their in-laws and yet lead a peaceful life, thus leaving no opportunity for serials like "Sasur bhi Kabhi Damad Tha"

More than me missing my parents I was worried about S who was extremely attached to them, more with her dadai, my Dad. So whole of last week I kept explaining to her that Dadai & Didun are going back to Kolkata, because they have a house there which is also missing them. She took it nicely after my Mom promised to come back after taking care of the house. At the airport I told little S it's ok to be sad, even I am sad and she said she was "6" sad. Rating sadness on a scale at age 3 is pretty amazing I thought when I cannot even rate my pain in 1 – 10!!!

After coming back from school yesterday, as I slowly unlocked the door and let ourselves in, S asked me in a hushed voice "Didun ki opore ache ?" ("Is Didun upstairs?" ) and my heart went out to her

On the other hand I am amazed by the tenacity that grandparents seem to garner. The way my Ma would keep little S busy by doing little projects with her, teaching her Bengali Rhymes and Bengali Letters is amazing. I don't think I will ever make a good grandma. I can never do for my grandchild what S's grandparents do for her. When I think of retirement I hardly envision myself sitting and playing with a 2 year old in my daughter's home, no I think of lazing in some private island with some good books in tow!!!

But both my parents and D's parents love spending time with S, maybe because she is their only grandchild till now. They agree though that being close would have helped, then they wouldn't have to stay here for a long stretch and abandon all other aspects of life they have in India. But even then they are ready to pack their bags and come to spend time with her

On a funny note, yesterday during afternoon tea time I was telling D, that tea time was more fun when my Ma was here because it was she who would make it when I would get back from work and we would sit around the table and chat over tea. Hearing this little S went away and came back with one of her cute play tea cups and offered me some wonderfully brewed make believe tea.

Before leaving my Ma who by the way knows about most of you and also the events, helped me make Palang Saag er Chop for JFI-WBB Greens hosted by the creator herself, lovely Indira of Mahanadi. Since this time Nandita's WBB is hosted together this is a good dish both with greens and for a leisurely Sunday breakfast.It is like a cutlet made with Spinach and Potato which we call chop in Bengali. It is different from the Alur Chop as it is not dipped in a batter and fried. Friday being a day we eat strictly vegetarian food this chop did not have onion or garlic. Yet it was absolutely yummy.


Palang Saag er Chop/Spinach Cutlets

What You Need

Makes about 8-9 Chops

Baby Spinach ~ 1 Bag about 6oz/170gm. There was no need to chop these as they came in a bag and they were baby leaves. If you buy a bunch of spinach, wash and chop them

Potatoes ~ 1 medium sized Idaho Potatoes. They are usually on the large size. It amounted to 1 cup of mashed potatoes

Peanuts ~ 1/3 cup. Roast them in little hot oil and crush them in halves.

Besan ~ little less than ½ cup. Almost 3/8 cup

Bhaja Masala or Dry Roasted Masala ~ 1 tsp heaped
My mother makes this masala and stores it. To make this Dry Roast 1tbsp each of Jeera (Cumin Seeds), Dhania (Corriander seeds), Saunf (Fennel Seeds), 6/7 Laung (cloves) , 6/7 Elaichi (Cardamom), 6/7 TejPata(Bay leaves), an inch & half of cinnamon stick and peppercorns according to desired hotness.Then just dry grind it to a powder.
You can also use your own Garam Masala Powder or any suitable spice mix instead

Amchur ~ 1tsp heaped
Chilli Powder ~ ½ tsp
Salt ~ to taste

Rice Flour ~ to roll the patties in. 2 tbsp should be fine

Oil ~ For shallow frying

How I Did It

Boil the Potato and mash it up smoothly. We need about 1 cup of mashed potatoes
Steam or cook the spinach in the pressure cooker. Do not add water to the spinach as it releases water. Drain any excess water from the cooked spinach and mash it up smoothly
Roast the peanuts in a little hot oil. Get rid of their skins and crush them in halves. Roasting makes the skin removal a breeze
Mix together the mashed potatoes, the cooked & drained spinach and the besan to a smooth dough like texture. The besan is used to hold or tighten the mix so if you think you need a little more of it, fine.
Add the peanuts, the Salt, Amchur Powder, Chilli Powder and the Bhaja Masala. Mix well. In absence of the Bhaja Masala you can add freshly made Garam Masala.
Shape into Patties and refrigerate for half an hour

Sprinkle some Rice Flour and shallow fry in hot oil till both sides are browned
It is absolutely necessary that you have them with a tangy Tamarind Chutney or my all time favorite Maggi Hot & Sweet Ketchup. Wash it down with some hot Ginger Chai

Note: Sailaja at Sailus Food has a yummy Palak Kebab recipe. I am sure they taste better with all the ginger and onions that go in. I am going to try them next

Trivia: Popeye the Sailor has a strong affinity for spinach, becoming much stronger after consuming it. This is partially due to the iron content being mistakenly reported ten times the actual value, a value that was unchecked during the 1930's (Wiki)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tak er Dal | Mango Dal

Tak er Dal, Tok er Dal, Tauk Dal

Tok er Dal | Mango Dal | Aam Dal

Tok er Dal or Tauk dal,  a Dal with green mangoes, slightly sour and sweet is a favorite Bengali dal to serve during the hot summer months. It is usually made with Mator Dal(Yellow spilt peas) though in my recipe I often use a mix of Red Masoor and Mator Dal.

Tak Dal with Masoor Dal -- This is another version of the Tok er dal but with Red Masoor and spiced with paanchphoron

Beginning of each week, I start off singing “A B C D…” to myself while little S looks on quizzically. No I am not trying to teach her alphabets and neither have I taken the role of Cookie Monster. I am trying to remind myself of the letter of the week for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables.

I start the week searching for an Indian Dish with the said letter whatever that might be. But I want to think up a nice exotic Bengali Name, or maybe a more exquisite Sanskrit One, or even one in Pali in my search of something different. I want the name to be lyrical, difficult to pronounce, a name that would give others no clue as to what I am talking about. I might be talking about my every day dal-chawal but I want a name like Lens Culinaris to adorn it.

What’s in a Name you would say or rather Shakespeare would say. But then Shakespeare never knew about k – K – Kkusm did he? Neither did he know of some of my esteemed Blogger friends who took the extreme step to change their names mid-way of their dazzling Blogging careers and some who are contemplating to change theirs. So as I say theirs lot in a name.

When I hear a lyrical name like “Ghugra”, I have a vision of Rajasthani Women dancing in their colourful “Ghahgras” and I desperately want to eat whatever “Ghugra” is. Same with a name like “Mor Khuzambhu”, the name says it all, I want to yell “Dil Mange More” like Aamir Khan did and even add a “Aha” at the end.

So as I chomped on my “Lau Ghonto” last week I was still searching for the “L” word…
But this week I am adamant, I let Lau (Lauki in Hindi) pass just because the name seemed very next door-ish but no not this week. I am not going to search for any veggie dish with “M” and let the week pass. I am going to send Nupur whatever I am having for lunch and she better like my regular Dal-Chawal with M for Mango thrown in. And hey whats better the dal I cooked is Matar Dal (Yellow Split Peas) , one more M, so that makes it M squared for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables.

Tok er dal, Bengali Mango Dal, aaam dal

Tok er Dal | Mango Dal | Aam Dal

Tak er Dal in Bengali means a Dal which is a little sour in taste. Tamarind not being used much in Bengali cuisine its the green mango which is used to achieve the desired sourness. Mango Dal is a simple Dal cooked with raw green Mangoes usually during the hot hot summer months in India. It had to be cooked during summer because that was the Mango Season of course. Its beautiful how we always associated certain foods with season in India because of their sole availability during those times.

My beloved “Patel Brothers” manages to get his share of Raw Mangoes all year round so I can afford to eat Mango Dal with my fireplace on. Doesn’t have just the same effect though. Mango Dal and White Rice on a hot summer afternoon with the windows shut, the draperies drawn to hush the harsh light and the fan on the ceiling humming and stirring the hot humid air is just another story

Updated on 05/11/2016: Both my girls love this mango dal, however they always insist that the tauk er dal made by Didun (my Mom) tastes better. I have been dilligently working on this recipe since last summer and appears I did hit the nail this time.n I have updated the recipe with the changes.


Tok er dal | Mango Daal

What You Need

Matar Dal (Yellow Split Peas) ~ 1/2 Cup (In absence of this try only with Masoor Dal)
Red Masoor Dal ~ 1/2 Cup
Water ~ 2-3 cup to cook the dal in pressure cooker

Raw Green Mango ~ 1 chopped into thick slices. Depending on your love for sourness and the sourness of the mangoes you might want to increase this amount. Decerasing is not a good option though
Green Chillies ~ 4 slit

Mustard seeds ~ 3/4th tsp
Turmeric ~ ½ tsp
Salt ~ according to taste
Sugar ~ 2 tsp. More if you are a sweet Bong :D like my Ma
Mustard Oil ~ to cook

Water ~ 2 cups or more
Ghee ~ 1 tsp to finish off

How I Did It

Wash the Dal and pressure cook with twice the amount of water. Time taken to pressure cook is little more than Masoor Dal but less than Toor Dal. Now go figure.
In my Futura pressure cooker it took 4 minutes. In a regular pressure cooker about 3 whistles.

Meanwhile peel the green mango and chop into longitudinal thick pieces
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Add 3/4th tsp of Mustard seeds and 4 slit green chillies
The mustards will splutter so cover it if you are afraid
Add the mango pieces and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric.
Sauté the mango for a 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle little water and cover to cook mangoes until firm but almost done..

Whisk the pressure cooked Dal with a Wire Whisk or Spoon and add it to the Kadhai
Mix well and cook for a minute.
Add about 2 cups of water and salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook. You may need to add a little more water if the dal turns too thick. The result should not be watery though.
Cook till the mangoes are fully mushy.

Add 2 tsp of sugar and take it off the heat
Have it with White Rice and any other veggies on the side. A tsp of Ghee adds to the taste of this Dal.

Note: Matar Dal is not same as Chana Dal though both look almost same. You can also try this recipe with Masoor Dal but never with Chana Dal . When using Masoor Dal a popular spice for tempering is Kalo Jeera or Kalonji

Trivia:The yellow Split Peas or Matar Dal have an earthier flavor than green peas. Scandinavians like to use them in soups, while the British use them in their pease pudding. It's best to buy them split, since split peas don't need to be soaked and cook fairly quickly. Source:Cook's Thesarus

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Shubho NaboBorsho

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...Happy Bengali New Year To Every One

Poila Baishakh or the First Day of the Month of Baishakh is the first day of the Bangla Calendar. This is the Bengali New Year and is celebrated amongst Bengalis in a much festive manner. According to the Gregorian calendar it falls on April 14th or April 15th, this year it is April 15th. This is the New Year for both BanglaDesh and West Bengal.

The Bengalis usher in the New Year with a lot of festivities importance being given to cultural functions, and food. The day is started off with visiting the temples to seek blessings for the New Year but this is not a religious festival and Puja is not the mainstay of this day. Though for businesses this is the day to begin their new accounting year and so this group of people offer Puja and seek blessings to begin the year with a new accounting book called halkhata. With all the new accounting software I don't know what they do, maybe open a new fresh account or something.

For mere mortals like us it was more about a quick prayer at the temple early morning and then off to school , yes my school did not believe in Bong Calendars. Rushing back home in the afternoon, we would change into new clothes bought for the Day -- and then after devouring the sweets my Ma would have made we would rush off in the evening to attend the cultural program that our town had to offer. That was important for my parents. My Ma in her fresh new Tanter Shari with that crisp smell that only such saris can have and my Baba in his starched Pajama and Punjabi would sit there engrossed in the Rabindra Sangeet being sung. I would be thoroughly bored and look around for familiar faces of my friends who would be equally bored.
Often we would be invited by the shops we were loyal customers to and this part was more fun because it involved gorging on great food.

It is not very different here regarding the cultural functions part and I am sure the Bengali Association has things lined up for this day but I have already said about D not very keen on going there. So we usually visit the temple on this day and binge on good food.
Though the New Year is tomorrow we we extended invitations and had an early celebration with some of our friends over last weekend for dinner. Though we did not serve a typical Bengali menu this is what we had for the main dinner. The appetizers were assortment of Dhoklas, mini samosas etc.

Plain White Rice ~ like what an average Bong would prefer
Roasted Yellow Moong Dal ~ Split yellow moong dal roasted and then cooked and garnished with grated Coconut
Cat Fish Nugget er Charchari - Remember in my Charchari post I had said that Charchari might not be vegetarian and we have Fish Charchari too. In absence of the small fish like Mourala etc. we made a Fish Charchari with Cat Fish Nuggets. Tempered with Panch Phoran and with Potatoes and Brinjal to keep the Cat fish company this was the most wanted of all the food items.
Paneer in a gravy of Kaju and Posto ~ Paneer cubes simmered in a light gravy of cashew and khus khus paste
Mashla Chingri or Shrimps in Masala ~ A spicy shrimp dish
Pepper Chicken ~ This I followed Sailaja's Pepper Chicken Recipe and it was a big hit too
Pineapple Chaatni ~ The recipe is here

For Dessert
Mango Pudding
Pineapple Malpua

However since we cooked for a large crowd neither me nor my Ma took any measurments while cooking so I won't be able to post the recipes until I measure and cook again !!!

To end this post on a Sweet Note I will post the recipe for the desserts soon but you have to wait for the rest :)

Mango Pudding

Pineapple Malpua

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thai Red Curry

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This Thai Red Curry is for GBP and also my dear friend N who has no clue that this blog exists.
N is the first Bong friend I had made after coming to US and when I think of it now, I cringe thinking of the way I befriended her
It had been more than two months that we had arrived and I was yet to meet a single Bengali soul, not considering the hubby of course. How I pined to gossip in Bengali, to chat with someone about Kolkata, to ask someone the best place to buy Hilsa. But there was none.

Of course there were the Bong organizations like all other cultural desi organizations beckoning to you with a smile in return for the yearly membership fee. But no, D would not be a part of them, he flatly refused to be part of the Bengali milieu that spoke and talked about a Bengal they had left some thirty odd years back. Though D is a Bengali and has grown up in Bengal unlike me who stayed outside Bengal for a considerable time, he lacks the full dosage of Bangaliana (the Bengaliness) a true blood Bengali has and was as happy in absence of the above.
Ok but this about N and not D so let’s not deviate

In my then state of frustration I was walking the aisles of K-Mart in lack of better things to do, when I hear fragments of Bengali being spoken in the neighboring aisle. I peered and I see this young couple, the girl in a Salwar-Kameez talking animatedly to her husband about some mundane K-Martish stuff.
I felt an immense urge to butt in and join in their discussion, voicing my opinion too in Bengali and then maybe inviting them over. But I restrained, I was frustrated yes, but still short of being labeled a lunatic.

Back at the Parking Lot while I was getting into my car, they were there too, lugging something into their trunk. I felt the urge again and this time asked D. D being the non-passionate Bong refused to play a role but gave me leeway to do things I wanted. The couple in the mean time were closing the trunk and revving the car. In a sheer state of desperation I bolted toward their car, said “Hi” muttered something about me being Bengali and it would be nice if we could meet etc. and scribbled my number on one of D’s business cards and ran. Yeah I just ran back while they stood there patiently, quizzically…

Thankfully none of us knew anything about Quixtar aka Amway

Then one day she called and I called and as they say – Rest is History

N has since grown to be my best friend. Though she is younger to me and is a English major, she was kind and patient enough to let me explain my tacky tech assignments to her while I attended grad school. She still listens to all my woes, gives me all her support and occasionally chats up my 3 yr old too. She is an awesome human being and a great friend and a foodie at heart and yesterday was her twins – 2 cute boys first birthday. Lots of happiness to them and their Mom & Dad

Recently N & her family were on house hunt and almost every weekend they would be out with the twins. If they were in my 15 mile radius I would ask them to drop by for lunch. Since N loves Thai food I made Thai Red Curry with Chicken for her on the weekend they finally decided on a house they liked. I served it with a Fried Rice, but its best with White Jasmine Rice. Just like N we love Thai Food too and this curry came out perfect. I often use shrimp instead of Chicken in this recipe and that comes out better.

I mostly frameworked my recipe from here - this site. I did throw in my own steps but the whole thing is pretty easy and quick and you can mould it around your comfort level. I did not use Fish Sauce as I had none. The recipe says chicken stock and cornstarch, but I don't think you need these. I also do not exactly remember the measures as I did this a month back, so give me some leeway there too


What You need

Chicken ~ 1 and ½ lb approx. I used skinless Chicken Thighs cut in small pieces(this is approximate measurment)
Onion ~ 1 large grind to a paste
Red Bell Peppers ~ 3 cut into thin slices
Garlic ~ 2 cloves minced

Coconut Milk ~ 1 can
Red Curry Paste ~ a 4 oz can of Maesri Brand Red Curry paste . This is pretty hot. So you could add less of this

Sweet Basil Leaves ~ 7-8
Lime Zest ~ from half of a medium sized green lime
Kafir Lime leaves ~ 2-3 if you can get hold of them . I never found them

For Marinade (if you are doing it)
Ginger paste ~ 1 tsp
Garlic Paste ~ 1 tsp
White Vinegar ~ 1 tbsp


How I Did It
Marinade the chicken pieces with 1 tbsp of vinegar, salt and 1 tsp each of ginger paste and garlic paste. I did this because I cannot have chicken when it has not been marinaded, I get a smell !!!
Heat Oil in a Wok/Frying Pan
Add 1 clove of minced garlic and 4 Basil leaves(no need to chop them)
When you get the fragrance of Basil and Garlic, remove the garlic and the basil leaves from the hot oil. Now you get a beautifully flavored oil which you use for rest of the recipe
Now to this oil add the chicken pieces, lightly brown them and remove and keep aside
Add Onion paste and fry till it turns pink
Add 1 clove of minced garlic
Sauté and add the red bell pepper
When the Pepper turns soft add the Red Curry Paste. I added the entire content of the can. It was fiery spicy but I liked it. You may like to reduce the level if you wish
Cook for couple of minutes and then add the Coconut Milk. You may need to add ½ or more cups of water at this point.
Let it come to a boil and add the remaining Basil Leaves
Add the chicken pieces and let it simmer at medium heat
Add salt and 1 tsp sugar and cook to desired consistency
Add the Lime Zest or Kafir Lime Leaves

Trivia: The word basil comes from the Greek βασιλευς (basileus), meaning "king", as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross (Source: Wiki)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Basil and Basil for GBP


GBP – Green Blog Project. When I started Blogging last October I was not aware of this event. I have rarely attempted growing anything during the cold North-East winter months before except for my clan of indoor plants. By the time I was aware of GBP winter had planted a firm foot and I had no clue how to start an indoor veggie patch.

I already had the Tulsi or Holy Basil plant which I had acquired as a tender sapling from the Hindu temple sometime last September. I was not sure it would survive the harsh winter and was very careful to move it around to give it its dose of sunlight during day and kept it away from the cold window at night. It survived “Touchwood”. Those Tulsi leaves help me a lot in preparing a concoction for my daughters cold during the Winter.

The other Basil Plant came into my life a couple of months back when D brought back a pack of basil with roots on from the Supermarket. He promptly planted it and I guess she liked our family because she decided to stay and spread her roots. It’s almost Spring now and I love to see both these plants who made it through the cold winter.

With the Tulsi leaves I make a brew, just like my Ma did when we would be down with the cold. I make my daughter sip onto it much to her chagrin whenever she has a bout of cold

Take a cup of water in a small pot or kettle. Put 5-6 Tulsi leaves, 4 Cardamom, 4 Cloves and a spoon of Palm Sugar or Mishri for a cup of water. Let the water simmer and come to a boil. Lower the flame and let it sit on the stove till you get a pale brown almost golden brew. If you can, sip onto the hot brew. For children give them spoonfuls of this brew at temperature they can withstand
Check out this site for more benefits of Tulsi

The recipe with the other Basil comes in my next post. Watch out before 10th April and rush your entries too
GBP hosted by Mandira of Ahaar for Winter-Spring and created by InjiPennu of Ginger & Mango. A wonderful effort and Thanks to both of them for making us go Green

Trivia: Tulsi is a perennial in tropics but it can endure a temperature as low as 18C. In regions where temperature drops below freezing in winter, it is best to grow it indoors in a greenhouse or on a windowsill

Friday, April 06, 2007

Charchari - a Bengali Vegetable Mélange

Charchari, according to Wiki is a unique char flavored vegetable dish, found primarily in Bengali Cuisine

Why I resort to Wiki -- because I did not know about the importance of this char flavor and that this is the reason the dish gets its name. Wiki further says -- Just as the vegetables begin to char, a sizzling sound is heard, and the pot is removed from the heat. After a few minutes, the thin charred crust is stirred gently into the dish. No, I don't wait for the sizzling sound, am not that good a bong cook yet. There is little chance of the vegetables charring in my non-stick Kadhai and I would rather not wait to hear the sizzle to get the right amount of charring and have the risk of my vegetables burning away to glory.

For me Charchari has always been a dry vegetable Bengali Dish, where the Charchari is a noun and the particular Vegetable gracing it the adjective. Thus Alu Charchari is a Charchari with Potatoes, Alu-Fulkopi Charchari is a dry dish with Potatoes and Cauliflower, Begun Charchari has Brinjal playing the central character and so on. The method of preparing is more or less the same and the only thing that varies is the vegetable and the spice used for phoron or tempering. It could be Panch Phoran, Black Mustard Seeds, Kalonji.

Interestingly Charchari can also have fish in it, the small fish like Mourala or small Shrimp is sometimes added and with some fish head thrown in the regular Charchari becomes the mouth watering Kata Charchari

However the quintessential Charchari is the PanchMishali Charchari or the Charchari prepared with 5 different veggies. The 5 is a average number not random though, it could be 4 or 6 but definitely not 10 or 2. Nowdays when I or anyone in the family or my friends say Charchari, we always know that the Charchari in question is the "PanchMishali Charchari" and not any of the Single Veggie Charchari. So I guess the name Charchari is now synonymous with the one made of 5 or more different vegetables one and it has gained its present status by its popularity, and health benefits.

Though we would refer to Charchari as a Mixed Vegetable Dish in English, it is not a generic Mixed vegetable Dish i.e a generic mixture of any vegetables would not do. There are some that are absolute must and some that are optional

The Main Actors
Jhinge or Ridge Gourd ~ This is a tender veggie, it releases water on cooking and this aids in cooking the Charchari without any additional water being added
Kumro or Pumpkin ~ This lends its sweetness to the dish and I think also adds that colour
Alu or Poatoes ~ Keeps the dish together by its integrity and solidness.
Begun or Brinjal ~ Gets mushed up easily and its softness lends a tender touch to the Charchari

The Side Players
Shim or Runner beans ~ You could substitute this with string beans or french beans
Mulo or Radish ~ This I guess adds a crunch to the dish, and is my Ma's favorite. She is always trying to add this while I try to avoid
Shojne Data or Drumsticks ~ Tender, Green drumsticks a joy to munch on were my favoroite but they were available only during early summer. The frozen ones here are aged and does not taste that good but I add them sometimes

Care should also be taken while cutting the veggies as all of them go in one pot and are cooked at the same time. So you should try to have some semblance in sizes which they are chopped.

Just like most traditional dishes dishes every Bengali Household has its own way of cooking this Charchari, how else would you compare your Ma's Charchari with your Ma-in-laws. They vary a little around the central theme but do not go off the tangent and add onion and garlic to a charchari and I am yet to see anything like this recipe Wiki refers to here. Nutmeg and Cloves in a charchari, no thanks I would stick to the traditional one.

The recipe here is my Ma’s way of making Charchari. She steams the veggies a little first as that lessens the cooking time or something. Instead of steaming first you can do it all together too. Serve it as a part of a traditional Bengali meal with White Rice for Lunch or Dinner but Lunch is usually the preferred meal to serve and eat Charchari

I am sending this to Anh for this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging -- created by Kalyn of Kalyns Kitchen hosted by Anh of Food Lovers Journey


Charchari - a Bengali Mixed Vegetable Dish

What You Need

Serves about 6-7 people when served with other dishes

Potatoes ~ 2 cups. I used the red potatoes, others work fine
Brinjal ~ 3 cups
Yellow Pumpkin ~ 3 and ½ cup
Ridge Gourd ~ 3 and ½ cup
Shim or Broad Beans ~ 2 cups
Drumsticks ~ 6-7 cut ones (not in pic)
Green Chillies ~ 6-7 slit

Mustard paste ~ 2 tbsp
To make paste: Soak mustard seeds in water and then wet grind to a smooth paste with green chillies and a little salt

Turmeric ~ ½ tsp
Hing or Asafetida ~ ¼ tsp
Panch Phoran ~ 1 tsp

Salt ~ according to taste
Sugar ~ 2 tsp

Canola Oil ~ 6 tbsp. This is an approximate measurment
Mustard Oil ~ 2 tsp

Vadi ~ 8-10 small Bengali vadis are best. I used the Punjabi Vadi found here but the flavor did not go well.

How I Did It

Wash & Chop the veggies in almost equal sizes
In a Kadai put all the veggies with ½ tsp of turmeric and 2 tbsp of mustard paste and cook covered. No need to add water as the Ridge gourd will release water and this will be enough.
Cook till the veggies are done
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Temper with Panch Phoron and Hing/Asafetida, Green Chillies and wait till the spices pop
Add the steamed veggies
Sauté and add sugar and salt. Mix well.
Do not stir any more and cook till the water dries out and maybe try hearing the sizzle sound if you would. I just wait for the water to dry and that is absolutely necessary.
Drizzle 1 or 2 tsp of Mustard Oil before you take it off the heat. If you don't have Mustard Oil you can skip this step
Enjoy with White Rice or you can also have it by itself if you wish. A healthy, tasty dish is waiting for you.

With Vadis
If you are using Vadis, fry them brown and keep aside. Crumble them on top of the finished dish. The Punjabi Masale Wadi I found in my Indian Grocery Store lacked the requisite flavor and crunchiness that is required for this dish. The Bengali Dal Vadis or Boris are best for this. The Bengali Vadis are known as Boris and are small sun dried cones of lentil paste, the shapes are like Hershey's Kisses

Note: Remmeber to cut the veggies in similar shapes and sizes.
The other Bengali dish which is also a medley of vegetables is

Trivia: Bengali Bori (Vadis in other parts of India) is made of various types of lentil paste. Usually they are shaped like cones some what like the Hersheys Kisses and sun dried. Making Boris was a art in a Bengali house and was done with the utmost sanctity. The Boris were usually shaped some what like the Hersheys Kisses and there was a lore that if you could make your cone(the pointy thing) sharp, your husband would have a sharp nose. The district of Midnapore is famous for its Goina Bori , Goina meaning jewellery, which are unique for their beautiful designs

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Calling All Moms

If you are a Mom...

Has this ever happened to You?

You have had a hard day as a Mom and all you want is to have someone patiently hear you without judging you -- come be a part of us and rant
You want to discuss about your kids education, play, achievements, next project or maybe plan a birthday party or a play date -- come share with us.
You are a Mom who has hit that amazing routine that soothes the baby and makes her sleep in 15 minutes flat -- before you apply for a patent come teach us
You are ready to go back to work or maybe taking a break from work to stay at home and you want to talk it out -- come let’s talk
You have ideas, plans, anecdotes about yourself the kids, the neighbours kids -- come tell us
You have concerns, worries, issues and you think more Moms should hear you -- come discuss with us

Come join The Desi Momz Club

This is going to be your blog, the Mom's blog, for The Mom, Of The Mom, By The Mom

It’s you who is going to post and help others out if necessary. It’s a place where we all Moms meet at our own time and still have fun

Why This Blog ?

I have a 3 yr old and as a Mom that's my age too. As my daughter grows there have been questions and more questions. I have spent a considerable time Googling and asking around. I have also spent (and still do) discussing various aspects of my daughter's growing up with my friends. Numerous questions always -- Gymboree or MyGym ? Puzzles or Books ? Should I feed or let her eat on her own? Am I right if I get stressed out and scream sometimes or do I clench my fist and mix honey in my speech?
When my daughter first started day care last year I was so worried that I would call up my very dear friend N and giver her hourly updates about my daughters status and my emotional status, seems funny in retrospect, but yes that was what I did.

I am sure many of you have gone through similar situations and looked around and bonded with others going through the same
As I look around in the Blogosphere and I see Asha whose daughter T has achieved laurels in school , I think it would be really nice if we get to know from Asha how she nurtured her daughter.
When SJ says , she finds fairy tales have changed a lot since she was a child– I think that's exactly what I have felt all this time.
As Indo's daughter DD makes beautiful clay artifacts – I feel maybe Indo could give us tips as how she mnages work, blog and also teaches her daughter such skills.
When @ says about Kodi's baby talk – I smile by myself and the day looks brighter.
When I see Trupti managing two adorable cuties and taking them to several activities -- I think it would be great to know how she keeps them active
When Vani shares about little M and her daycare -- I think that can help other Moms with little babies
When Maheshwari, Swapna, Vini, Padmaja, Sailaja, Sunita, Sharmi, Hema, Linda, Shaheen, Manisha, Sri, Shilpa(Flog&Rosbif) and all other Moms whom I have known through their food blogs and all those whom I am yet to know could all come and share I think it would be a great place for all of us.

There are many more of you who are bringing up your kids beautifully and I feel it would do us all good if we could all come and share and talk. You need not have a blog, you can just come and join us.
I bounced off my idea with IndoSunGod of DailyMusings and Asha of FoodiesHope and Aroma, two very experienced Moms and they were kind enough to come and join as administrators

Since we can't meet at a Coffee Place and chat let’s have a virtual place of our own and we meet up at our own time, maybe sipping that chai or coffee...

Why The Desi Momz Club ?

I felt that a common background would help us bond better. There are many Mommy sites but I wanted to have one where at least we all share the same roots. But even if you are not Desi aka Indian, it’s good enough if you are an Indian at heart.

What You Can Do?

If you want to be a part send an e-mail at and when you get an invite, come and join

Post whenever you want as often as you wish but remember the posts should be either Mom or Kid centric. It can be anything either your own experience or any information you have gleaned from somewhere that you would like to share. Remember to give a link if you are quoting some other source. Also do not use contents if they are not for public use.

Since everyone is on a time crunch, if you already have a blog and you have a post in your own blog you want to share, you are welcome. That's easy yippeeeeee !!!

Come and check the posts and comments and actively comment to agree, disagree, discuss.

Get other moms to come and join, spread the word and let the club grow

If your a not a Mom, don't fret, you are important to us. If you have a post you would like to share, e-mail the post to and you could be our guest contributor. Also please drop by and leave your comments, views, suggestions on the posts. And if you can rope in your Mom too that would be best !!!