Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Chorchori Bengali Vegetable Stew
Chorchori is a beautiful, dense Bengali stew that exemplifies the maxim, “waste not, want not.” Families repurpose whatever vegetables they still have on hand by the end of the week, making this dish endlessly varied. Even vegetable stems, typically discarded, are included here, making chorchori as flavorful and nutritious as it is practical and frugal. Whole chilies make this dish mildly hot, so just add or subtract them as per your preferences. This tasty chorchori variation is mustard oil-ghee-sugar-salt free.
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Serves 3 to 4
1 tablespoon date paste from 1/3 cup pitted dates
1 inch ginger, minced and then ground into a paste
½ teaspoon freshly ground asafoetida (hing)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large potato, peeled and cut into wedges
1 small Italian or Asian eggplant, cut in a large dice
1 medium cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets and stems sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in quarters lengthwise and then in 2-inch pieces
1 cup hyacinth beans, strings removed, or another green bean, and sliced in 1 ½ inch pieces
2 dried red Indian chilies
4 green Thai chilies, slit 1/3 lengthwise
1 teaspoon panch phoron Bengali 5-spice blend
¼ green cabbage, cut in a large dice
2 tablespoons shiro (mild, white) miso paste, diluted in 2 tablespoons water, or to taste
Several grinds of black pepper
To make the date paste, cover the dates with water and microwave for 2 minutes. Cool and blend the dates with as much of their soaking water as is needed to make a soft, smooth paste.
Mince the ginger and grind it in a mortar and pestle, adding enough water to create a soft paste. Stir in the turmeric, date paste, and asafoetida. Add ½ cup of water and mix into a watery slurry.
Heat one or two good quality nonstick skillets over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes to one and the eggplant to the other, par-cooking and lightly toasting them for a minute or two on each side. Remove them from the pan. Repeat with the cauliflower florets and stems, carrots, and finally the green beans, removing them when they have lightly browned.
Reheat the pan and add the dry red and fresh green chilies, lightly toasting them. Add the panch phoron spices and cook them for just a minute. Now add the ginger slurry, stirring, and add the cabbage and green beans. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Now stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. After 5 minutes, add the eggplant. Grind black pepper to taste. If the mix has dried, add enough water to lightly coat the vegetables; chorchori should be moist, not soupy or soggy.
Cover, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are uniformly cooked, and tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the diluted miso paste. Taste and correct all seasonings.
Serve hot, scooping up chorchori with whole wheat roti or paratha, or serve with brown basmati rice or other whole grains.
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