Friday, January 11, 2013

Aloo Peyaajkoli Bhaja -- humble beginnings



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.

41 comments:

  1. Peyaj koli bhaja ke cigaaret bhaja boltam chotobelaye. Noiw have to make do with spring onions pretending they are peyajkoli. Makha makha bhaja ta ki bhalo lage! :-)

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    1. Lekhar shomoy tomar ei comment tai mone hichilo. Tumi bodhoy ageo "cigarette bhaja" bolechile. Tomar blog e real piyaajkolir chobi thakle bolo to, link up korbo

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  2. Once the kalo jeere hisses and shows its temper- loved the phrase- you just know how to express each and every cooking moment....this dish is one of my favourites though my husband is not at all ready to compromise with spring onions...though he loved it when by chance I got the good old peyajkoli a few days ago only to vanish again....

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    1. I have not tasted the real thing for years now Deepa !!!! Have forgotten that taste even

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  3. Ruti -r sathe peyajkoli khub bhalo lage..oi "deshi" peyanjkoli ta ektu juicy hoto, tai na?
    spring onion diye korle ektu dry hoy....tokhon bhaat, patla musurir daal aar ei alu-spring onion-bhaja....
    ahhh.....kono kotha hobe na...shonge ek tukro lebu hobe? gondhoraj?
    cheers,
    d

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    1. Dayeeta oi piyaajkoli kon jonme kheyechi moneo nei. Bhaat patla dal ar lebu shunei amar prochondo khide pache ekhon. O ma go..ki hobe go

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  4. Tomar lekha ta ekta art and you use it so wonderfully to explain the details of any dish. Pyaanj koli sheet kale -e amar bishon priyo. There was a time when we used to pluck fresh pyaanj koli for our backyard garden ....

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    1. Ahem, ahem Deepa ;-) BTW tomar o oi ashol piyaajkolir post thakle bolo, ami link update korbo

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  5. such simple tarkari is what I look for.. love your style of writing!

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    1. Thanks Uma. In the end, simple rules life

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  6. love this post sandeepa..it's exactly like u said ..this is the age of "if you've got it, flaunt it "...its all abt what we put up on fb and how many 'likes' we get ..i hope the cycle changes real soon..

    great recipie btw!

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    1. Maybe there is a point to this too. And FB likes are so important for a business or a page that I cannot say enough :-)
      I guess as long as in your heart you know and believe what is the right thing to do and do that, it is fine.

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  7. in winter we can experiment so many dishes with peajkali ...right sandeepa ????

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    1. Ar winter. I use spring onions which are now available almost all year. But piyaajkoli does remind me of winter alone.

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  9. Loved what you said about the flaunting trend. I have considerably reduced my personal fb updates except for the food ones. But then again, sometimes the travel photos and birthday celebration posts are a way of connecting and sharing news with relatives and friends in India. I object and cringe when it goes over the top. When moms post about every little prank and mischief their bratty toddler gets into. Celebrating bad behavior of children on a social platform is certainly a new phenomenon.
    Love the simple sabzi. We make something similar but with black mustard seeds as the tempering.

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    1. Jaya

      There is nothing wrong with FB updates. Earlier my mother would share the same through postcards and hand written letters with the extended family. FB has just made it simpler. Though I am not, my Dad is on there and I sometimes get to see his travel pics from his FB status and then later through Picasa. How else could we do it now ?
      It is just the many things that change.

      Similarly there is nothing wrong with the bumper stickers. One does what one is comfortable with I guess. Those were just my views.

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  10. Love your recipes but this is my first comment. The recipe is super in its simplicity. Having said that it is your comments before it that were really thought provoking. Sad to say our world has become so materialistic, more is the "norm" - it is so difficult to keep our kids feet on the ground so as to speak, without making them feel they are deprived! but that is what we have to do at all costs if we have to make them better human beings. Your comments really touched a chord in me.

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    1. I think as long as you keep on doing what you believe is right it should be fine. My generation kids had more stuff so as to say than my parent's generation, my kids will automatically have more but it is up to us the parents to draw the line.

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  11. Wowo you may serve this for me any time of the day I would not call it humble i would say super delicious.

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    1. Ha, ha Fin, in face of your beautiful cakes this has no chance

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  12. I love pneyajkoli but miss the real one hear. I loved the pharse 'Binoy can take a walk. To BBD bagh'...hilarious but very true. I myself is not known for being humble, may be lost it somewhere near BBD bagh. :)I cooked it with shrimp many times but everytime I was trying to find the Maa-r pNeyajkoli bhaja. As usual loved reading the post.

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    1. That you know what you are and are confident in it is the important thing, no ?

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  13. This sounds delicious. If only I had read your blog earlier, on my way home from work I could have picked up some spring onion and had this for lunch tomorrow. Sometimes the simplest food is the most lovely...

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    1. Never too late. There is always a next time when it comes to food :)

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  14. Bongmom, i love the way you write, love your recipes even more
    Aparna

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    1. Thanks Aparna, that is very sweet of you.

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  15. The bumper sticker with the school name is a tag where we live :) Simple but delicious Bengali dish!

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    1. At first I was like "Whaaaaaaaaat" when I saw them, then I though it must be something very important and now have got used to them

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  16. Hi Sandeepa!

    Have been referring to your recipes off and on though don't remember whether posted a comment or not. I'll go with Aparna and say I love the way you write.

    Its but a coincidence that I made aloo peyanjkoli bhaja just yesterday and it did come out well, as it always does, without any elaborate ingredient/process. However, I never put any phoron to it. Just plain aloo and peyanjkoli straight in oil. But now I shall try out your kaalo jeera chhonk, for sure.

    Incidentally, I did try your caramel pudding and it came out oh so well. My mom used to make it regularly when we were young but now she ( an octogenarian) has forgotten the recipe completely. That's why I had to take recourse to your blog, once again!!!

    However, I steamed it in the pressure cooker because I was not very comfortable making a water bath in the oven. 20-25mts without the weight and it was just right. Thanks once again for the exact measurements.

    Regards

    Geetashree

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    1. Thanks so much Geetashree. Also thanks for the cooker timing. Water bath is an simple affair for me. An aluminum tray filled with water in which the pudding container is kept.

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  17. We can make FB as personal or impersonal as we want to. My own way of using FB has changed significantly since I joined - initially, there was a temptation to upload lot of pix, etc. And it feels unreal (though very nice) when people comment on your photos. Even a whine seems to be too personal/childish to share sometimes because FB feels like a public platform. Many times I find myself wanting to say something and shying back. All said and done, I enjoy it very much and I really love the instantaneous nature of communication.

    As for likes, I find that people seem to be getting 50, 60, 70 likes for whatever they post on FB. This is a recent phenomenon, I've not seen so much before. Even for tragic news and updates, people like it, post photos, post pics of themselves crying over it and stuff - wth????????!!!

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    1. As I said to Jaya, there is nothing wrong with FB updates.
      "There is nothing wrong with FB updates. Earlier my mother would share the same through postcards and hand written letters with the extended family. FB has just made it simpler. Though I am not, my Dad is on there and I sometimes get to see his travel pics from his FB status and then later through Picasa. How else could we do it now ?"

      This post has nothing to do with FB, not sure why people are picking on the FB thing though that was just a single line mention !!!! I was talking about the general world order as I see it, the attitude, the arrogance.

      Yes, when my Dad posted status about Ravi Shankar's demise, there were at least 3 who liked it and he has what maybe 10 people on his FB friend list.

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  18. My Mom makes aloo bhaji in this way, only she adds green chilies and gently frays the green onions first.

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  19. Your posts always make me smile...thank you.

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  20. Simple is often best. Happy 2013!

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  21. amar peyanj kolir tarkari besh bhalo lagey ..tobe "real" peyanj koli kheye onek din hoyeche spring onions/scallions he amra banayi ..we need more these simple n humble recipes in this complex world of social networking age :-)..hugs and smiles

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  22. I tried this yesterday and it was full of flavour and very tasty. Thank you for the recipe.

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  23. Hi,I am going to try this dish today, but along with cauliflower/fulkopi . My mom always did this and i loved it.

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  24. Hi, Mom often did this along with fulkopi. That's what I'm gonna try today. First time :|

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