Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bati Charchari with Love

I made a different kind of bati charchari yesterday, one very different from what my mother makes. She makes it mostly with potatoes chopped in long, slender, finger like slices but mine was more like this. I had green beans, cauliflower, pumpkin, potato, potato peels(aloo'r khosha), and even peels from the pumpkin.Though traditionally a bati charchari would be made in a steel container with a lid (a bati),  which was then be put in  a pot of boiling rice, I make it in a kadhai and it tastes just as good.
With some tauk er dal with green mangoes, it was perfect for a day which showed promises of getting warmer.

Bati Charchari


Revisiting a recipe from the past



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My grandparents lived in an old rambling house in a nondescript para(community or development) in North Calcutta (now Kolkata). The house was old, it's days of glory being long over.As appendages were added on to it and banyan trees took roots in its crevices, the house tried desperately to hold on to its rich past.

In this house my maternal grandparents came to live after retirement as a part of a large "joint family", a term as rare these days as those old houses in North Calcutta. My Ma's three uncles and an aunt along with their offspring, some married some not lived under one roof, their kitchens separated but their roof united. There were some undercurrents among its residents for sure but on our annual visits every winter the whole house and the family came together and welcomed us as one.

So while we watched Chitrahar and snacked on alur chop ar muri lazing around at Baro Dida's (Eldest Grandma) ornate teak bed, we ate egg roll at Ful Dida's (Flower Grandma) fancy dining table. The main meals were always at my own Dida's(my maternal grandma) kitchen though and we wouldn't give those up for anything.

My Ma's aunt or pishi, C Dida, had lost her husband at an young age and lived in this house along with her four daughters. She was a proud soul and instead of being dependent on her brothers financially she worked as teacher at a nursery school and lived within her meager means to bring up her four daughters impeccably. One of her daughters pampered me a lot and so I would spend a considerable portion of my time at their room or tag along with her wherever she went.

Many mornings during those vacations, I would go and sit in their small kitchen while C Dida made breakfast. Their small but squeaky clean kitchen with a shiny pump stove and minimal utensils exuded a charm that no gourmet kitchen ever has. Their breakfast too was extremely simple, left over ruti(chapati/roti) lighty fried with little oil to a wafer like crispiness was served with bati charchari. I loved that simple breakfast so much that most days I would have that sitting on their red-oxide kitchen floor, still damp & cold with early morning moisture.

I don't know what makes an indelible impression in a child's heart, the stinging coldness on one's bottom, the hot off the tawa ruti mingled with the sharpness of mustard oil in a bati charchari or the love of near ones but those mornings of two and half decades back are etched in my childhood memory and bati charchari and basi ruti bhaja( fried leftover chapati/roti) is still a favorite on my food list.


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My Ma too would make a Bati Charchari often and the only time I would have ruti for breakfast at home was when it was accompanied by a large serving of bati charchari.

On this post the other day, a reader Boishakhi, reminded me of the delicious yet simple Bati Charchari. She also mentioned how she adds other vegetables to this dish. That is what I have today. And so while my Ma's and C Dida's bati charchari had only potatoes, this has carrots and sugar snap peas in it. A sprinkle of glittering red middle eastern sumac makes the dish more international than you can imagine.

I am sending this off to WHB #190 hosted by Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. This event was started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and now has a new home at Cook Almost Anything at Least Once


Read more...






Bati Charchari


Prepping the veggies: Peel and chop two medium sized potatoes in 1" long pieces. Peel and chop carrots similarly. I had about 1 and 1/2 cup of chopped carrots. Wash and keep whole 10-15 sugar snap peas. The snap peas are optional and you can use any other vegetable.
I have also made this dish with a mix of green beans, cauliflower, pumpkin, potato, potato peels(aloo'r khosha), and even peels from the pumpkin Note: Ideally the vegetables for this dish should be cut thin and small, so that they all cook at the same rate.

Start Cooking:

In a heavy-bottomed deep pan heat 2 tsp of Mustard Oil

Add 4 hot Indian green chili, slit halfway

Add all the veggies

Add salt to taste + 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and mix well

Add 1&1/2 to 2 cups of water and mix well.

Cover and cook without any stirring till veggies are cooked and water dries up. If needed add more water for cooking

Once done, add 1-2 tsp of Mustard oil on top before serving

I sprinkled some sumac for its gorgeous color but this is totally optional as it is not a native ingredient for this dish.

Note: I have not used Red Chili powder, tomatoes or coriander since my Ma wouldn't. I also went a little low on the oil. You can adjust these according to taste.

44 comments:

  1. what a lovely post...I used to love my visits to my Dadu and didu's house after I came to India as the papmpered first grandson - polishing luchi alurdam and pantua made by her. Never did I think that i would actually live there for a yr after my father passed away. She still makes it for my wife and me twenty years later with all her aches and pains.

    I will try out your recipe. I was running out of vegetarian options which I could stand till I tried Sharmila's palak chochhori. This looks like another lovely option.

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  2. a healthy choice dear..looks perfect

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  3. Nice post..and that's so simple ...looks just perfect

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  4. Love the simple recipe there.

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  5. Love the beautiful vegetables and I love the sweet memory tale - nothing like the homefolks :)

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  6. Shokal-e uthei tomar blog ta porlam, besh bhalo laglo! Tumi ranna to obboshoi bhalo koro, tar thekeo bhalo tumi darun lekho, and that makes your blog interesting!!! Keep it up Sandeepa!

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  7. What a vivid post is this ? I could imagine every single scene you have described. I too had a neighbour when I was in my 2nd standard. She is a keraliate and would make us thin but soft and melt in the mouth kind dosas with chilli chutney. Most of my breakfasts would be that while that Aunty's kids would relish idlis from my Amma's kitchen. I long for such comforts now. The Charchari is simple enough to make but would kinlde lots of memories each time I believe!

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  8. Koto kotha mone pore gelo .. purono bari, joint family ... ek jethimar kucho nimki ar chaa, ek kakimar patla macher jhol, aro ek kakimar dudh+narkel kora+muri. :-)
    Thankfully amar zamindar borodadur(dadur baba) bari, bagan, ghat bandhano pukur and baganbari ekhono ache. :-)
    Bati chorchori toh bhalo lagei ... amar o kintu bashi ruti kora kore bhaja khub bhalo lage ... besh ghono dudher cha diye. :-)

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  9. such an evocative post, was a treat to read. Your beautiful description has evoked so many memories of my own.

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  10. I miss going to my grand parents house (after marriage)....dish looks nice n healthy...

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  11. hi sandeepa,
    Beautiful read as always :) I love bati char chari, I learnt it from S, I also use kitchen king masala to it. U've kept the dish very simple I'd love to try it ur way sometime. Thanks.
    TC

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  12. Sandeepa, tomar mato amar-o anek gulo dida, baro theke suru kare phul abdhi, anek old memories samne ene dile..darun post..ami bati charchari jani jetate sabjir sange khosa o deya hai, tomar version ta o very simple,kintu somac ta very new to me

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  13. A simple bowl of soul soothing food. Lovely write-up, too! :)

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  14. What a delicious bowl of vegetables. And I loved reading about your memories... really, there's nothing so special as those memories of one's childhood.

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  15. What sweet memories :-)

    Love the bati charchari.

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  16. You have a way with words Sandeepa.. Loved reading the post! Happy long weekend!

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  17. Sounds delicious.
    Childhood memories are just something else. It was a different world.

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  18. Enjoyed reading this post- especially since it is summer and I always think of our summer hols in the village with family

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  19. alur chop are muri shune besh khide peye gelo..

    lovely addition of Sumac to bati chorchori. these simple things are such comfort food. i make bati chorchori.. only alu & with other veggies with luchi:-)

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  20. You have weaved childhood memories into such a good tale. As usual a great write up!
    The bati charchari is a regular in any East Indian Kitchen :)

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  21. What a wonderful childhood memory! Thanks for sharing with us :) And the recipe is absolutely simple and I'm sure very satisfyinh!

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  22. that's a nice and simple recipe,ideal veg recipe

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  23. It is always nostalgic for me whenever I read your posts. One of my favourite childhood memory is having Basi Luchi with tea, early in the morning. Bati Charchari too was a household favourite.

    Whenever Maa didn't feel like preparing anything elaborate for lunch, we always voted for Bati Charchari. She too prepared it with only Aloo, with it's Khosa on, and turmeric, salt and mustard oil.

    Looking forward for more such wonderful posts.

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  24. Great post.Felt like I was watching a movie really.And I can totally agree with all of it since I had similar experiences although in mallu land.

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  25. Hi Sandeepa,

    As usualyour post touches some chord, well inside the heart, covered and packaged with today's fast paced lifestyle.

    Since I am born a Bangaal,married to a Ghoti,baati charchari is something I got exposed to once I got married.

    My (My MIL's) version of Baati charchari essentially is potatoes, but can have cauliflower, matarshnuti and carrot as well. But all are chopped fine.

    In a large serving bowl, that can go into the gas, put the veges, chopped and cleaned, pour enough water that can dry up while the veges get cooked, salt to taste, split green chillies, a bit of sugar,if you are a confirmed Ghoti, and 1-2 teaspoon of Mustard oil.

    Once the veg is almost done, you can either add 1-2 tsp of mustard oil, OR, a teaspoon of butter and freshly ground pepper, and the charchari is ready to serve. Tastes good with freshly cooked aata ruti, or luchi, or even bashi ruti bhaja.

    You can try this one, where you do not have to stand and look after the vegie.

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  26. Thanks Everyone for the lovely comments. will be back soon

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  27. that's a healthy choice!!!!

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  28. Eyi prothom tomar blog e dhuklam.Darun laaglo tomar sheyi purono baarir joint family r sheyi adda, ranna and anandor kotha pore. Amake niye gelo amar sheyi purono dine...ami khati bangali holeyo I'm looking for vegeterian cooking variations...

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  29. ami tomar ei blog darun anondo pai! ami confirmed bangal married to confirmed bangal!!hehe lukiye churiye majhe majhe rannate mishti di alposholpo porimane!!

    bati chorchori-te ki shorshe bata deyo jaye? ebong bhapiye neyoa jaye?

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  30. KP

    Ami kokhono korini kintu shob kichu tei tumi nijer subidhe ar taste anujayi adol badol korte paro.

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  31. Bari paltalam,tai anekdin asa hoyni,blog r paray,aj ese tomar ei version r amar nam dekhe besh valo laglo,darun internationalise korecho,ami abar kunrer har,tai joto short e joto poustik randha jay totoi valo!
    Valo laglo pore,sei eksho bochor purono howrah r bari,choto thaumar hater ranna,kakader kache fuchkar abdar r didun r punti macher tok!anek kotha mone koriye dile vai.....valo theko.

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  32. never realized cooking is so simple and fun...thank you so much...u have saved my and of course my husband's life...now i don't need to depend on a maid to cook for me! Thanks once again.

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  33. Made this 5 times already.I so love the simplicity of it yet so tasty!Thanks.

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  34. Awesome blog...maybe I'll call this "rannabati"...the personalization - gr8

    Good job done !

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  35. I love your blog and writing I was laughing when I read your newest post on panch mili subji I will try it just because of your great write up.

    Kalyani
    kalvan10@hotmail.com

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  36. Hi! Bong mom you are indeed a complete women Here in India i find out atleast 10 excuses for not cooking a meal after a tiring day at work but your work profile is indeed so inspiring-------------
    love reading your blog

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  38. aapni ki aamake charchari r torkari tar recipe pathaben jetar modhhe sab paanch meshali torkari thake tar sathe oei take sorshe bata diye banaye aapni bujhe gechhen to aami ki bolte chaichhi

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  39. Hi Sandeepa,
    Amar Ma r version of bati chorchori te thake alu, jhinge, potol, begun sob choto choto kore kata..aar Ma egulo sob futonto jol e chapay...aar kancha lonkao diye dey chire ba bhenge...aar opor theke sorsher tel choriye dey plus nun holud..tar por dhaka diye ranna kore...optionally majhe majhe eta te olpo posto o choriye dey.....

    Reading ur blog transported me to my childhood days...Our house in Bhowanipur (in South Calcutta) was also dilapidated with boter jhuri et al...and my Dad took the initiative of reconstructing it into an apartment..My Thamma was very cross with him for dat....I guess I was also offended with him but could never express it...ami aajo bhulte parina brishti bheja shiuli fuler gaach ta ke amader bagane...I think dat is when my love affair with rain began....and so I have named daughter Brishti...

    Bolai bahulyo osadharon post...

    Sorry for the longg.. post.

    Regards,
    Debjani.

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  40. Great Recipe !!! Please visit http://bookdoctorstime.com to find best doctors online.

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  41. Beautiful nostalgic story Sandeepa.Recently I started making a version of the bati chachari, I use all excess vegetables in the freeze, cauliflower, ol kopi, butternut squash, alu, begun, pnyaj, tomatoe, dhone pata. I also season with pnac phoron and add some chiili powder for the color.To make it extra special, some times I add shrimps marinated in salt and turmeric at the end.

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  42. such an great post, thank you for sharing the recipe

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  43. Very nice and nostalgic post. Reminds me of my mamar bari where both my ma's uncle and father used to stay in the same compound but in two houses. no under current but we the grand children used to have fun time. Great work

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