Monday, February 5, 2018

Pui Chorchori - Malabar Spinach Stir Fry with Vegetables

Chorchoris are light side dishes that liven up a meal and provide plenty of nutrition thanks to the myriad seasonal vegetables that go into them. The spicing is minimal, usually dried chilies and panch phoron, apart from the basic salt and turmeric though some recipes have cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic and even onions. As with most things, recipes and traditions vary from family to family, kitchen to kitchen. I like the chorchori with as few spices as possible and use just panch phoron and chilli, sometimes fresh green and sometimes dried red ones.

The vegetables in a chorchori vary with availability and of course the preference of the cook and those who will eat. The usual suspects include brinjal, pumpkin, potatoes, flat beans, white radish.. the list is endless. Pui Shaak or Malabar spinach makes the base of this version.

Pui Chorchori

2 cups Pui tender stalks and leaves
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup red pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 cup brinjal, cubed

1 tsp panch phoron
1/4 tsp fennel
2 green chillies
mustard oil.

Separate the leaves and stalks of the Pui greens, discarding the wilted sticky leaves and the thicker hard stalks. Wash the leaves and the stalks separately. Wash really well. Leave in the colander to drip off excess water.

Prep the vegetables. Chop the pui stalks into small pieces (2-3 inches) and chop the leaves too.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of mustard oil in a kadai and once it's properly hot reduce the heat and chuck in the chillies, panch phoron and the fennel seeds. It will all sizzle.

Add the cubed potatoes and saute for a minute. Then add the pui stalks and the pumpkin pieces and saute for another couple of minutes.

Add the brinjal pieces, salt and turmeric and mix well. Cover and let it all cook on a medium flame for a few minutes. Then add the pui leaves and mix again.

Add half a cup of water, cover and cook on a low flame till the potatoes and pumpkin pieces are cooked through. Dry off the water and check for salt before you take it off the heat.

Serve the chorchori with daal and rice, and a bhaja for a perfectly light Bengali meal. 

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