Chorchori (Mixed Vegetables) 

This recipe is a hot favourite of Bengalis. My personal belief about the origin of this recipe is that in earlier times there used to be a joint family system in most of the households. Bengalis have always been fond of food and the variety of food on their platter would require  lots of  fresh vegetables. The peels of the vegetables must have been quite a lot in quantity. Instead of  wasting and throwing away the peels they came up with the concept of chorchori. All the members including the helpers  and the servants would have gotten to eat a good share. Not to  forget the widows who, in those days were not allowed to have the non-vegetarian fare. This tasty dish would have satiated their taste buds. Interestingly, the word Chorchori comes from the noise made by the sizzle of the vegetables and their peels inside the wok. In course of time, chorchori has occupied a very loved and adored place in Bengali meals. 

This preparation doesn’t have any  fixed set of veggies. The best thing is,  you can use whatever you want to  and how much ever you want to. I have mentioned whatever I have used in this recipe but you can let your imagination run wild.

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Carrot and Cashew Pulao

This recipe is very easy  and goes really well with all types of Indian spicy to very spicy curries because of its subtle yet sweet after taste. At times, I use pistachios instead of cashews and there is not too much change of taste but, the green of pistachios makes the dish look prettier. The balance  of sweet from onions, carrots and sugar, sour from lemon juice and mild heat from black  pepper is what I like the most. 

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Shukto (Veggies cooked with Bengali  Five Spice Mix) 

Shukto is a Bengali delicacy served with rice and fish curry and  I believe, its actually is a palate cleanser. Bengalis are known for their sweets but what people do not know is, a bitter tasting dish is a part of a their everyday afternoon meal. There has been quite a debate about the origin of Shukto because some say it is Portuguese in origin. They had a similar dish which they cooked with Bitter-gourd or Karela but, when Bengalis cook Shukto, they incorporate lot of  summer veggies with karela and bori(dal kisses) . A sweet touch  by adding milk and sugar transforms this dish to a different level altogether. 

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Chick Peas Curry (No Onion No Garlic) 

This is among my all time favourites, especially on the days I want to have vegetarian food. I wonder how  this dish goes so well with rice, puri (deep  fried Indian flatbread), roti, bhatura (leavened deep fried Indian flatbread) and pulao as well. I always make it a point to have at least 50gms of soaked and boiled chick peas in my fridge. I can quickly assemble a salad or a dip or a main course dish with this. I usually make this with onion and garlic, but to keep it light and not very spicy I tried  making this without these two aromatics. The result was good and I’m sharing it with you. 

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 Cabbage and potato Cooked in Bengali Style

This recipe is typical of bengali households barring the fact that some love to have it little sweet. My version is not sweet though. I strongly believe that the cutting of this vegetable plays a very important role in enhancing the taste. I have shown in the pics below as to how I exactly cut it. I tried  using the food processor,  but that didn’t work very well as it affects the look of the ready dish. And as I always believe that, its your eyes that eat first. 

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Eggplant Sauteed With Tomatoes and Fenugreek leaves( Methi Begun)

A very simple,  no onion and no garlic dish that cooks very fast. I love to have this with plain rice but you can have this with any flatbread. I would rather, you keep your plate ready before you start making this. As you sautee, the aroma of fenugreek leaves fills the air and you tend to feel very hungry. This dish is very good for diabetics. Whole cooking process is done on a high flame.

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Quinoa Pulao

Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them.Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach, and amaranth(Amaranthus spp.), another pseudocereal which it closely resembles. Amaranth or Rajgira as it is locally known is a cheaper alternative to quinoa. We can use rajgira instead of quinoa. 

Both are pseudo-grains — foods that are prepared like grains (for making flours, and cereals), but are actually seeds and are gluten free. Rajgira, also called amaranth, is comparable to quinoa in terms of calories (370 cal per 100gm), fibre (7gm), fat (6-7gm) and protein (6-7gm), and has similar calcium, potassium and iron content too, plus higher vitamin E and magnesium as compared to quinoa.Both can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. It also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. Paired with chili, stir-fries, beans or curries, quinoa is a healthy substitute for rice, and it also makes a tasty pilaf. In fact, I made one in a rice – cooker and everyone loved it. 

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