Palong Shaak Bhaja

This quick stir-fried version of seasonal spinach is made in our family in winter with brinjal and dal'er bori (sundried lentil dumplings).

  • Cooking time
    30 mins
  • Calories
    79
    kcal
Recommended by
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of
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The winter markets of Bengal are full of the most vibrant array of vegetables. While spinach is eaten all year round in the West, here it is very much a winter guest. So it finds a prominent place in the shaak or the leafy-greens course on the Bengali lunch menu. This quick stir-fried version is made in our family with brinjals—another vegetable that is especially good in this season.

We prefer to cook palong bhaja with younger, tender beginning-of-season spinach, reserving the more mature bunches, with thicker stalk, for palong shaaker ghonto.

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Ingredients

Serves
6 servings
  • 400 g spinach
  • 100 g brinjal
  • 10 g dal’er bori (sun-dried lentil dumplings, optional)
  • 30 g mustard oil
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • ¼ tsp kaalo jeere (nigella seeds)
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 3 g salt
  • 14 g sugar
  • 15 g coriander leaves

Method

  1. Separate the spinach leaves, and wash and rinse them thoroughly until they are clean of all soil particles. Remove any thick, tough stalks since this is a quick stir-fry.
  2. Chop the brinjal in 1-cm cubes. Chop the spinach stalk and leaves about 3-cm long.
  3. Heat the kadai and add mustard oil. Once it starts to smoke, wait for it to change colour to a pale yellow. Now add the dal’er bori. Fry until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. To the same oil, add dried red chilli and nigella seeds for tempering.
  5. Add the cubed brinjal and fry with a pinch of salt until golden, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, along with the dried red chilli and nigella seeds, and set aside.
  7. Now, to the same pan, add the chopped spinach. Add the remaining salt and a pinch of turmeric.
  8. Cook on high heat without covering the pan to keep everything green and vibrant.
  9. Once the spinach starts wilting and releasing water, move the stalk and leaves to the walls of the kadai, so that the water in the middle can dry up quickly. Don’t overcook the spinach as we don’t want a mushy texture.
  10. When the water has dried up, add sugar, and the fried brinjal and bori. Cook for 2 minutes or so over medium heat.
  11. Finish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

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