Mocha'r ghonto is special to anyone who has grown up in Bengal. Mocha is the banana blossom. The niramish (vegetarian) mocha'r ghonto with coconut (narkel) and chola (Bengal gram) is loved as much as mocha chingri, which is garnished with small freshwater prawns. In this recipe, we show you how to prepare mocha'r ghonto as well as mocha chingri. This also includes a very easy, step-by-step guide to cleaning, preparing and cutting mocha.
- 550 g whole mocha (banana blossom; 300–350 g after cleaning)
- 100 g potatoes
- 25 g mustard oil
- 2 pcs dried red chillies
- 1 clove
- 1 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 20 g grated coconut
- 4 green chillies
- 20 g ginger paste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- 2 g cumin powder
- 20 g salt (total)
- 18 g sugar
- 8 g ghee
- ¼ tsp gorom moshla
- 75 g small prawns; or
- 30 g dal'er bora
- 25 g soaked chola (whole Bengal gram)
Prepping the mocha
- Before you start handling the mocha, grease your palms with mustard oil to prevent the sticky sap from sticking to your hands.
- Remove outer bracts and collect the flower clusters. Repeat the process for each layer. The inner layers are packed tight and more difficult to peel, but keep going. Stop when the bracts are really difficult to peel, and flowers become tiny. Discard the outer bracts but keep the flower clusters. Save the inner core. We will work with it later.
- Pluck a single floret. Each floret has a scaly translucent covering called calyx and a thick stalk with a sticky bulbous head called pistil. Discard these two parts from all the florets.
- The inner florets will be tighter and difficult to clean. Just do as much as practicable.
- Now, oil your knife, and your chopping board too. This will make it easier to clean off the sticky sap later.
- Chop the florets 5 mm wide. While chopping make sure that you reapply oil to your knife.
- Now, take the inner core. Discard the extended stem. Divide the inner core vertically into two halves. Slice each half lengthwise, 5 mm wide. Turn 90 degrees, and chop evenly again, 5 mm apart.
- Transfer the chopped florets and the chopped inner core to a pressure cooker. Add salt, turmeric, and water. Pressure cook everything on medium heat for one whistle. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Strain the mocha. Let it cool for 30 minutes.
- Mash the boiled mocha using your hands. This will help produce a good mix of mushy and crunchy texture.
- Chop potatoes into 2-cm cubes.
- Pour mustard oil into the kadai. Let it smoke gently and turn pale yellow in colour.
- If using prawns, coat them with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Add prawns and fry on medium heat for 1 minute. Set aside.
- Temper mustard oil with dried red chillies, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and cumin seeds.
- Add potatoes. Fry for 4 minutes until golden.
- Add grated coconut and continue frying. Be careful to not burn the coconut.
- In a small bowl, mix ginger paste, cumin powder, turmeric, red chilli powder with water. Add this slurry to the kadai.
- Add salt and sugar. Stir to mix everything well. Add 2 slit green chillies.
- Continue frying the spices until the raw smell goes away. Add a splash of water if the spices dry out. This will take around 5 minutes.
- Add soaked chola. Cook them with the spices for 3 minutes.
- Add boiled and strained mocha. Mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 minutes.
- Add 2 more slit green chillies. Stir gently.
- For the niramish version, without prawns, add dal'er bora. Cook for just 3–4 minutes after adding dal'er bora. If you add them too early, they will go soggy and break; too late, they will remain dry and won't absorb the spices.
- For mocha chingri, add fried prawns and mix everything gently.
- If the dish looks too dry, you can add 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Keep cooking on low heat for 3 minutes. Add ghee and gorom moshla. Mix everything well.
- Serve hot with rice and dal.