With the onset of winter, vegetable markets get exciting with offerings of colourful seasonal vegetables and fruits. Fresh and lively spinach adds to the variety which I prepare often. It is a healthy piece of green and can be turned into some interesting preparations without much effort. Here I prepare a spinach dish with possibly all the winter vegetables like carrot, broad beans with sprinkled green peas and truly can be tagged as ideal mix veg. The USP of the dish is lentil dumplings alias ‘bori’ which is a must ingredient. Indeed winter is splendid with spinach.
Palon Saker Ghonto (Spinach with Mixed Vegetables)
Month of July can be regarded as an ideal month for rainy season. However, in Delhi it is hard to find a completely rain drenched day. For me, here, the extended summer starts in April and ends in September. I dearly miss the good old Monsoon of my growing years in Kolkata.
However summer brings with it a plateful of vegetables among which ‘Bottle Gourd’ or ‘Lauki’ or ‘Lau’ (in Bengali) is perhaps the commonest and still my beloved. Thinking of bottle gourd, the dish which comes in my mind at the foremost is Lau Ghanto or the traditional bottle gourd curry. For preparing ‘Lau Ghanto’ one needs to chop the bottle gourd very fine which is a bit time consuming. While an alternative preparation with bottle gourd, known as ‘Lau er Dalna’, can be prepared much easily which I present here.Potato and bottle gourd chunks are simply cooked in Indian spices to make a curry for Lau er dalna. This dish is very delicious too with an aroma of garam masala and ghee and indeed a great accompaniment of plain rice or roti or paratha.
Lau er Dalna (Bottle Gourd & Potato Curry)
Bori or sun-dried lentil dumplings is a traditional ingredient used in a number of bengali preparations. Often it plays a silent role to enhance the taste of the dish and thus the secret USP. We can’t think of many veg curries (like Lau Ghanto or Bottle Gourd Curry , Sukto , Mochar Ghonto (Dry Banana Flower Curry) , Mulor Ghonto/ Stir-fried Radish etc.) and fish curries (with Tangra fish , Rahu, Hilsa ect.) without bori in them.
‘Bori’ can be made of urad dal, masoor dal or even chana dal. Thick airy lentil paste is prepared and dried under direct sun in dumpling shpes. In earlier times, ‘bori’ used to be prepared at home. However, these days it is readily available in market.
‘Masla bori’ is a special kind of Urad dal bori with added spices. Usually, ‘bori’ is a used as a supplementary ingredient. However, it is the key ingredient in this recipe. The whole preparation here is based around ‘bori’ which is made into a tasty curry with mustard sauce.
Masla Borir Jhal (Sun dried lentil dumplings in mustard curry)
Paneer can be turned into various interesting dishes, once one gets bored to the ideas of usual paneer ki sabzi, matar paneer or even the spicy paneer butter masala. Chilli paneer can be a refreshing break if you adore and love to go Chinese too. This recipe of Chilli panner is a simple, mild but delicious to satisfy more than your appetite and rivets you close to the glorious Asian cuisine. Highly recommended with fried rice but equally engrossing with roti and parantha too.