Friday, May 31, 2013

Nonta Suji - Bengali Style Savoury Semolina with Vegetalbes

Nonta Suji is something my mom made fairly regularly when I was a kid. There is a sweet version called Suji'r halua, more familiar to non Bongs as sooji ka halwa. I prefer this savoury version and it's one of those things my mom makes brilliantly.

It's fairly easy to make - the only downside is that there's a decent bit of chopping involved. lazy as I tend to be, I love this so much I don't mind the extra hard work involved.

Nonta Suji

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 capsicum, cut into small long strips
1 onion, sliced but not too finely
1 or 2 green chillies, roughly chopped
half cup green peas
half cup semolina or suji
salt, turmeric, chilli powder, jeera/cumin powder
1/2 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
2 tbsp mustard oil

Heat the oil in a kadai and once it's smoking hot reduce the heat and add the kalonji. Let it sizzle and then add the potatoes and carrots. Let them fry for a 3-4 minutes. Cover the kadai so it cooks quickly. Add the onions and the green chillies. Stir well and make sure you don't burn the onions. Once the potatoes are cooked through add the salt and the dry spice powders and mix it all well. Add the capsicums and the peas now and give it all a good stir. Let it cook for a minute and then pour in the semolina.

Roast the semolina well stirring constantly. Let it coat all the vegetables nicely. Your mixture should look dry. You can increase the heat but then you must keep stirring or the semolina will burn giving the final dish an unpleasant taste.

Add approximately a cup of water. Pour in 3/4th and see. The water should just float above the level of the veggies and semolina. Don't pour in too much all at once. Add the rest only if needed. Stir away and keep mixing. The water will get absorbed into the semolina and you will have a thick mass of veggies and semolina in less than a minute. Let it get quite thick, it should not fall off the spoon but should actually be difficult to move.

Squash a portion into a bowl and upturn it onto a plate. Garnish with a fresh green chilli and fresh coriander if you have them at hand.


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Tanmoy said...

Thanks for the nice recipe. I'd also add roasted peanuts (that's how I remember my mpther making it). And I'd perhaps want the consistency to be even drier -- what in Bangla is often called "jhuri-jhuri".