Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Lal Shak Bhaja - Red Amaranth Stir fry



Laal Shaak or Shaag Bhaja | Red Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry

Lal Shaak Bhaja is usually a stir fry made with the red amaranth leaves and some garlic and Chilli. A sprinkle of dry posto seeds or bori adds the crunch to this dish. Sometimes the red leaves are also stir fried with shrimp and finished off with a sprinkle of roasted poppy seeds.

I don't know why I am posting this recipe.I mean it is a simple dish.
"Shaak niye adikhyeta korche," as any nosy Bong aunty would proclaim while rolling their eyes. "Eto boyesh holo, ekhono laal shaak bhaja jaane na, ajkalkar meyeder shob dhong" as another Bong pishima would whisper to her neighbor across the street.

It could well be because it is a very easy recipe to post, so perfect for someone lazy like me.

It could also be because I am at that age when I should get excited with red mustangs but in absence of that I am excited seeing Laal Shaak (Red Amaranth leaves).

So the thing is, every year I grow some perfunctory vegetables, just to make sure that my kids know vegetables come from plants and not aisles of grocery stores. That a tomato actually grows on a tree and not in a box at Costco. yes, these are important parenting tips.

And then this year, one of my neighbors gave me a bunch of amaranth seeds and some saplings and said that Amaranth grows very quickly and easily. Now if anywhere in the Universe I hear the word "easy", I just latch on to it. So I quickly put the seeds in soil without even knowing what exactly Red Amaranth was. Turns out Red Amaranth leaves is what we call "laal shaak" in Bengali. They are packed with nutrition and several sources say "Amaranth leaves are nutritionally similar to beets, Swiss chard and spinach, but are genetically closer to their wild ancestors and offer a far superior source of carotene, iron, calcium, protein, vitamin C and trace elements."

Even after the chipmunks ate half of the amaranth seeds I planted, we got decent number of plants growing. So with the red amaranth leaves growing in my backyard, I made this simple stir fry. Usually this is how I cook spinach too.



Laal Shaak Bhaja is usually a stir fry made with the red amaranth leaves and some garlic and Chilli. A sprinkle of dry posto seeds or bori adds the crunch to this dish. Sometimes the red leaves are also stir fried with shrimp and finished off with a sprinkle of roasted poppy seeds.

I love my greens with soft, flesh eggplants and so have made this stir fry with eggplants and laal shaak.
You can use potatoes instead of eggplants in this recipe.


Begun diye Laal Shaak Bhaja | Red Amaranth leaves stir fried with eggplant

Prep

Wash the red leaves under running water. Finely chop the leaves including the stems and tips. About 2 cups of chopped amaranth leaves. Soak them in water.

Next chop 2 slender Japanese eggplant in small cubes. The idea is to have about 2 cups of cubed eggplant.

Mince 3 cloves of garlic.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil, fry the boris until they are brown and crunchy. Remove with slotted spoon and keep aside.
If you do not have bori, then saute a handful of peanuts till brown. Remove and keep aside.

Start Cooking

Heat mustard oil to smoking. Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp of Kalonji, 2 Dry Red Chili and 3 cloves of garlic minced.

Once the spices sizzle and you get the aroma of garlic, add the eggplant. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and saute until eggplant pieces are lightly browned.

Now add the laal shaak(red amaranth leaves) tossing it with the eggplant. Add salt to taste, 3 green chili slit and let the leaves cook.
As the leaves wilt as they cook, they will also release their juices. If you think the juice is not enough then add a little water. Now cover and cook.
Stir intermittently until the eggplant and greens are all cooked.

Once the veggies are cooked and the dish looks dry add just a tsp of kashundi if you have some. If not finish off with a little mustard oil.

Sprinkle the fried bori or the fried peanuts to garnish.


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1 comment:

  1. Lal shaak bhaja khub khub priyo!
    Shoshur baritey garlic beshi use hoye na, tai ami banai shorshe phoron, shukno lonka aar peyaj diye.

    ReplyDelete

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