Sunday, August 15, 2021

Jhinge diye Moog Dal - Bengali Mung Dal with Ridge Gourd

Dal is a part of nearly every main meal in Bengali households. Every menu discussion begins with bhaat, dal, and bhaja, and then continues with the main attractions of the meal depending on whether it's a weekend, a special occasion, or if a particularly favourite ingredient - like the hilsa - is in season! However, it's not as if dal is a neglected item. Bengalis have countless recipes for dal and many of these feature a vegetable that's in season, especially paired with moog dal. Moog daal is lightly roasted till it becomes aromatic and is then cooked in many ways. One of these is with ridge gourd or jhinge.

Jhinge diye moog dal Euphorhea

Jhinge diye Moog Dal

1 cup moog dal

1 medium ridge gourd

2 tej pata (Indian bay leaf)

2-3 dried red chillies

1/2 tsp jeera

A good pinch of hing

2 inch knob of ginger




Mustard oil

To begin, roast the moog dal in a dry kadai or pan on low heat till it changes colour and gets a slight reddish tinge and gives out a lovely fragrance. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Once it's cooled rinse the dal gently to clean off any dust and then boil it with some turmeric till the grains are cooked but still hold their shape. You can also pressure cook the dal but take care not to overcook it. 

Peel the ridge gourd, lop off the ends and then halve it lengthwise. Now cut into one inch chunks or into thinner slices. Wash and drain. 

Make a paste of the ginger in your mortar and pestle or mixer. 

Heat a couple of tablespoons of mustard oil in a kadai or wok and saute the ridge gourd pieces till they are nearly cooked. Do this on a medium flame. You can also put a lid so it cooks faster in its own steam. Remove the sauteed gourd to a plate or bowl. 

Add a bit of oil to the same wok if required and once the oil is hot chuck in the jeera and the hing. Fry for half a minute and then add the tej patta, dried red chillies, and the ginger paste. Stir for a minute till everything is fragrant.

Now tip in the boiled dal, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Once the dal boils add the sauteed jhinge or ridge gourd pieces. Add a good pinch of sugar and let the dal boil properly. 

Enjoy this delicious jhinge diye moog dal with plain hot rice. A piece or two of begun bhaja on the side will make it a perfect meal! 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Sheem Sorse - Bengali Style Hyacinth Beans with Mustard

Sheem Sorse Euphorhea

Sheem or hyacinth beans are one of my favourite vegetables and I usually add them to chorchoris or a panchmeshali - each a style of mixed vegetables cooked in Bengali households. Like with most vegetables, there are innumerable ways to cook sheem and we all look forward to winter when you get the best sheem. 

Here's a pic of sheem and other veggies from last winter. 

Sheem and Veggies Euphorhea

Sheem Sorse or hyacinth beans in a mustard sauce is a delicious dish and is really easy to make. There's hardly any prep barring stringing the beans and halving them, and quickly chopping up a tomato. It nearly cooks itself! This is a vegan dish and is also a no onion and no garlic recipe. 

Sheem Sorse

250 gms sheem (hyacinth beans)

2 tbsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp kalo jeere/kalaunji (nigella seeds)

2 green chillies

1 tomato



mustard oil

String the beans and cut each one in half along its width. Wash and drain. Chop the tomato and keep aside. Soak the mustard powder in enough water to make a thin runny paste. Leave it to soak for at least 10-15 minutes. 

In a kadai or wok heat 3 tbsp or so of mustard oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering chuck in the kalo jeere and the green chillies (slit or broken into half).

Saute for a minute and add the sheem.  Add turmeric and salt and mix everything well. Let it cook for a minute or so and then cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes till the beans soften a little.

Now chuck in the chopped tomato and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat till the tomatoes are soft. 

Pour in the mustard paste and mix again. Add a bit of water only if required and let it cook till the gravy thickens. Adjust salt if necessary.

Take it off the heat and drizzle a tablespoon of good mustard oil on top, cover the kadai and let it rest for five minutes. 

Serve with rice as part of your meal with daal, and a nice bhaja (veggies or fish fried in mustard oil with salt and turmeric)