Wednesday, 30 September 2015


This is my 200th post on the blog, I perhaps had to post something exotic.Then the pure Bengali soul in me thought I must and should post something very Bengali in essence. I grew up in an essentially Purbabangio[EastBengal] family who brought with them its culture, food and vouched never to part with it. Hence, I learnt eating kochughechu[arbi] to shakpata[greens] right from childhood. What is good cooking? me it is something made of simplest of ingredients with minimal spices. Besides being fish lovers, the people of East Bengal knew cooking a wide variety of vegetables, using every part of it, from roots to leaves. Perhaps because of the availability of lot of greens. Every house had a piece of garden where they grew veggies and fruits and there is not a bit of exaggeration in this. They had, they lost, they migrated and yes, they regained in due course because they were strugglers. If we do not carry forward the legacy, who will?

Keeping this in mind, I compiled together 4 very simple, almost no spice, simple veggies which are cooked everyday in many Bengali homes. Let us preserve our culture, food,take pride in them, besides exploring the new. The two can go together. So here for you 4 Bengali veggie preparations which you can do on a regular basis. What is missing in them is the use of bori[dry lentil balls]. I am still to learn doing it in an oven. In order of compilation, they are PANCHMESHALI TARKARI[a mixed vegetable medley], JHINGEY BEGUNER JHOL[ridgegourd and eggplant curry], CHALKUMRO GHONTO[a veggie with ash gourd], PALONGSHAKER GHONTO[a spinach veggie]. I have used sugar which the people of East Bengal do not. I do not believe in the created divide between two Bengal, but in the the common culture we share.

                                                       PANCHMESHALI TARKARI

Drumsticks[Sojnedata] : 2sticks
Ridgegourd[Jhinge] : 2
Pumpkin[kumro] : 1/4 of one
Long Beans[borboti] : 2
Potato : 2
Eggplant[begun] : 1medium
Panchphoron : 1/4tsp[An equal amount of Nigella Seeds, Wild Celery Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds mixed together]
Dry Red Chillies : 2
Green Chillies : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Salt : As required 
Turmeric Powder : As required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil[mustard authentically] : 2tbsp

Peel and cut the drumsticks, ridge gourds, long beans lengthwise and the potatoes, eggplants and pumpkins into cubes. Wash and keep in separate bowls. Rub with salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with panchphoron, bayleaf and halved dry red chillies. Add the drumsticks, potatoes, stir and cover.

After 5 minutes, add the pumpkins, stir and cover again for about 4 minutes. Open cover, add the ridge gourds and eggplants. Slit the green chillies and give. Stir again and cover cook for another 5 minutes stirring in between.

Open cover, add the sugar, stir and its done. Make sure all the water has dried up.

                                                     JHINGE BEGUNER JHOL

Ridge Gourd[Jhinge] : 2
Egg Plant[Begun] : 1
Nigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 2pinches
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil[authentically mustard] : 1tsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp

Peel and cut the ridge gourds and eggplants lengthwise. Wash and rub with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with kalojeera. Add the veggies and stir at high heat.

Lower the heat and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and add 1small cup water.

Again cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add the coriander leaves.

Switch off after 1 minute, its done.

                                                         CHALKUMRO GHONTO

INGREDIENTS :[for the dal vada]
Masoor Dal : 1/2 cup
Nigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Oil to fry.

Ash Gourd [chalkumro] : 1medium
Green Chilli : 2-3
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 2tbsp

Peel, wash, cut and shred the ash gourd. Add salt n turmeric, mix well.

Let us do the dal vadas first. Soak the dal in water for 1 hour. Grind to a paste discarding the water.

Add kalojeera,salt, turmeric,sugar. Beat well for 2-3 minutes and shape into small balls. Heat oil in a wok and fry the vadas till golden brown.

Once done, add 2tbsp oil in the remaining oil. As it get hot, temper with cumin seeds, bayleaf and halved red chillies.

Add the shredded ash gourd, stir and cover. Keep heat at low.

After 12-14 minutes, uncover and add the vadas and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover again.

Keep stirring every 3-4 minutes till the water dries up. Add the sugar, stir again, cook for 2 minutes, its done.

Dal vadas are used as a substitute for boris.

                                                         PALONGSHAKER GHONTO

Spinach [palak] : 2bunches
Potato : 1medium
Eggplant[begun] : 2small
Green Chilli : 2
Dry Red Chilli : 1
Panchphoron : 1/4tsp[an equal amount of fenugreek, fennel, cumin, wild celery,nigella seeds mixed together]
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
Bori[dry lentil balls] is a must in this dish but I did not have.
Oil : 1tbsp

Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Wash. Cut the eggplants into cubes too. Rub salt and turmeric.

Chop the palak leaves and wash thoroughly.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potatoes and egg plants separately and keep aside.

Temper the same oil with panchphoron and halved dry red chilli.

Add the chopped palak, add salt and little turmeric. Stir and cover. A lot of water will release.

After 10 minutes uncover and add the fried potatoes and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover. Uncover after 5 minutes, the water should dry up by now. Add the fried eggplants. Stir carefully, let cook for 1-2 minutes. Its done.

If you are using fried bori add with the potatoes.

We eat all the four dishes with steamed rice but it tastes good with chapatis too.


  1. A big congrats to ur 200th blog post dear Soma...beautiful collection of authentic Bengali dishes...loving it !!

  2. Congratulations on posting the 200th post!These all dishes look inviting.I 'd like to try these.Well goes with our Sri Lankan taste....

    1. Thank you Amila.... it will be my pleasure if you try them