Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The Indian Vegetable Stew or Bangali r Sobji Jhol

Come fall and then winter, my feed gets populated with soups. Every one is making a soup. And I agree, they are delicious and warm and perfect for those chilly winter evenings.

My grudge is this.

If you can have a bowlful of Minestrone Soup and take a photo and post recipes and raise a whole lot of brouhaha, why not have a bowl of Sobji Jhol ?

What you ask is a Sobji Jhol or Indian Vegetable Stew? It is a light soupy dish with a medley of vegetables. In winter, that would be cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, green beans, green peas in their pods. But then there is no set recipe, it can be anything you want to add.

This jhol was in the background of all dishes that my Mother cooked throughout the year. In one form or another it always arrived at our dining table.

The vegetables in the jhol would tell you the season you were in. Winter always made brighter with tightly packed fair cauliflower, orange carrots, ruby red beets, green pearl like peas in their pods.

The spicing determined by time and my Mother's mood. Sometimes it would be freshly pounded cumin and ginger, on other days a sprinkle of Kitchen King from a box. It was "everything goes" kind of a dish and how we loved this runny, soupy dish with some rice.

I make a big pot of this "jhol" or vegetable stew often. Mixed with rice and a squeeze of lime juice, my girls happily eat the vegetables. I can eat a big bowl of this just by itself but it does taste best with some rice.

The Indian Vegetable Stew or Bangali r Sobji Jhol

The Vegetables

Cauliflower -- Chop 1 Cauliflower in medium sized florets.

Carrot -- Chop 1 big Carrots in cubes

Green Beans -- Trim and Chop 12-15 green beans in 1" pieces

Cabbage -- 1 Cup of chopped cabbage

Green peas in pod -- a fistful, washed

The Indian Mirepoix

Onion -- 1/2 of an onion chopped in small pieces (Optional. I skip onion most of the time)
Tomato -- 2 medium tomato quartered
Green Chili -- 4 green chili sliced
Ginger -- 2" piece of ginger grated

Paanchphoron (Five Spice Mix) -- 1/2 tsp

The Spices

Kitchen King Masala -- 1 tsp

If you don't have Kitchen King use 1 tsp of Cumin-Coriander Masala.

Salt -- to taste

Mustard Oil -- 2 Tbsp (You can also use Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil)

Fresh Coriander leaves -- for garnish

How I Make It

Heat Mustard Oil to smoking in a deep bottomed pot.

Temper the Oil with 1/2 tsp Paanchphoron and 4 green chilli

When the spices start sizzling, add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Next goes in the tomatoes and ginger. Saute them for the next couple of minutes until tomatoes are soft.

Now add the vegetables in this order
Cauliflower florets -- sprinkle 1 tsp of Turmeric powder and saute florets for 1 minute
Carrots -- mix and saute for 1 minutes
Green Beans and Peas -- Saute for 1 minute
Cabbage -- Mix and saute for 1 minute

Now add
1 tsp of Cumin+ Coriander Powder
1 tsp of Kitchen King Masala
Mix with the vegetables with a sprinkle of water.

Add enough water so that the vegetables are just covered by water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium

Cover and simmer until vegetables are all done. The vegetables should not be cooked to death. They should retain a little crunch.

Adjust for seasoning and add salt, red chili powder or garama masala powder as needed. I finish it off with some fresh chopped coriander leaves and couple of chopped green chili.

Serve like a soup in a big bowl with a squeeze of lime juice. Add a little cooked rice to add more body to the thin soup.

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