Aloo Peyaajkoli'r torkari is a very simple Bengali dish. The kind you would never ever think of blogging about or reading if it is somewhere out there. It is one of those things with minimum of ingredients and clean taste. Nothing complex, no overlay of layers of tastes, no come-look-at-me attitude.Humble. A trait we seem to be heavily lacking in these days. Growing up in an Bengali Indian home, one of the many life lessons we were taught as a child included de-boning a fish and to be humble -- "binoy" as they say in Bangla. And humble here does not mean "low" or "meek". It means modest, unpretentious, self effacing.
"Porashuno korcho, binoyi hote shekho. Vidya dadati Vinayam ", Ma would say in a sharp voice if I so much as tried to display any signs otherwise. Knowledge brings humility, she said.
Slowly as the world order started to change, "humble" lost its place value. It was no longer the thing to be. You had to be bold, brash, self-promoting, updating your status on Facebook with your latest acquisition and linkedin with your achievement.
"If you got it, flaunt it", became the new age Sanskrit mantra. Binoy can go take a walk. To BBD Bagh.
Maybe it made sense.If your car did not have a bumper sticker that read "My daughter is an Honor Roll Student", how in the world were the other cars' drivers to know. If you did not tell the world how great you are, who really had the time to go verify for themselves.If you at all went to Pattaya, what was the point if no one "Liked" it on Facebook. The onus now was on you.
Now honestly I am not sure which is good, what was best. I myself keep on posting pictures of the modest food I have cooked at home with adjectives like fragrant and delicious, so who am I to judge. But as everything goes in a cycle I am sure "humble" will one day find its place back in the charts again. So will simple dishes like "aloo-peyaajkoli bhaja".
Till then let me tell the husband-man how lucky he is to have me. Even after all these years, that guy just refuses to understand.
Now though I am saying Peyaajkoli, there is some confusion regarding this veggie. Peyaajkoli is actually the bud of the onion plant. What me and about 80% of people use is though the green onion/scallion which is the leafy part of the onion plant.
Though this aloo peyaajkoli bhaja is the most common dish with this veggie, I also make a Piyajkolir Tarkari that is similar but has shrimps. Sunetra's peyaajkoli maach with fish and green onion , that we made last year is another very popular dish in our home these days. The green shimmering peyaajkoli was a popular winter vegetable and hot ruti off the tawa with this tarkari was a staple in many a winter evenings in our home.
Chop a bunch of green onion/scallion to small pieces. I did not have much of green onions left today but it is best to have same quantity as the potatoes.
Chop 2 medium potatoes to small cubes
Heat Mustard oil in a fry pan.
Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp KaloJeere/kalonji and a dry red chili.
Once the kalo jeere hisses and shows its temper add the cubed potatoes. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry the potatoes.Sprinkle little water and cover to let the potatoes cook. Remove the cover and stir in-between. Ideally the potatoes should have been fried in more oil but in my daily cooking I try to use less oil , in that path this cover-cook works well and fast.
When the potatoes have softened a tad(not cooked yet) add the peyaaj koli/scallion. Give a good stir and mix with the potatoes. Add about 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch(or Red Chilli powder) and salt to taste.
Fry till the scallion wilts. Now cover and cook till potatoes are fully done. There will be some water released from the scallions which will help in the cooking. But remember to check and give agood stor in between.
Once the dish is done enjoy with rice or ruti.