Friday, November 7, 2014

Lau Bori - Another Example of the Simplicity of Bengali Vegatarian Food

I have a cook who comes over twice a week to ensure my fridge has a good amount of Bengali dishes in it. I make sure she cooks something typically Bengali, that you would find served in any random Bengali household - those ubiquitous preparations that are mundane and simple everyday fare that would make most Bengali housewives laugh at my interest in them. For me these are not mundane as I didn't grow up eating them. For me most of these are absolute revelations.

Take this Lau Bori for example. Once she had finished cooking I asked the cook to give me two minutes of her time so I could write down how she made the lau bori. She rattled off the recipe in four sentences and I looked at her, amazed. That's it? Didn't you add any more spices to it? Or anything else? No, she said. That's it. Now taste it and tell me if you like it.

Lau Bori

1 small Lau or bottle gourd, peeled and cut into thickish matchsticks
1 potato, peeled and cut like the lau
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tej patta or Indian bay leaf
1/4 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
1 minced green chilli
mustard oil
1 tbsp posto bori, or any other bori

Heat mustard oil in a wok or kadai and fry the bori. Drain excess oil and keep aside. In the same oil throw in the kalonji, green chillies, tej patta and grated ginger and fry for a minute. Add the cut lau and potatoes and fry well on high heat stirring nicely. After a minute or two reduce the heat and cover the kadai. Let the vegetables cook. Once they're around half done add turmeric and salt and mix well. Once again cover it and let it cook further. Don't add any water. Keep the flame low and let the vegetables cook in their own steam for another few minutes. Then add the fried boris and cook covered for a further few minutes till the lau and the potatoes are cooked though.
Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander.

I enjoyed this with fresh hot rotis.

Bengalis have a rich tradition of making boris and there is quite a variety of these daal based dumplings that are fried and crumbled or scattered whole over many vegetarian dishes. I found posto bori in one little shop in Lake Market in Kolkata on my last visit. They're much smaller than other boris and in fact, look like white chocolate chips.  I hadn't a clue what I would do with them but fortunately the cook does!

Marathon Bloggers Project 52

1 comment:

Kurush F Dalal said...

I am so looking forward to dinner tonite ;)
On a more serious note this is the kind of Heritage Gastronomic record that is so much the need of the hour. Proud of you :)