- 35 g mustard oil
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ tsp kaalo jeere (nigella seeds)
- 10 pcs dal’er bori (sun-dried lentil dumplings)
- 150 g brinjal
- 60 g potatoes
- 60 g sweet potatoes
- 150 g pumpkin
- 80 g moolo (radish)
- 60 g sheem (broad beans)
- 300 g palong shaak (spinach)
- 2 g turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- 7 g salt
- 15 g sugar
- 1 green chilli (slit)
- 15 g coriander leaves
Palong shaak'er ghonto is a kind of panchmishali torkari in that it uses an assortment of vegetables—potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, moolo (radish), sheem (broad beans), and brinjal—besides spinach (palong/palak). It brings together flavours and textures (and don’t forget nutrients) from a variety of sources. This dish is a ‘ghonto’, or a dry curry. Here, the vegetables are steamed in their own juices until they are soft, exactly like in panchmishali torkari. There’s not much to this recipe in terms of spices or technique. Sparsely spiced with just turmeric and cumin powder, this recipe relies on salt and sugar to help draw the moisture from the vegetables. It cooks on low heat, covered, for about 40 to 45 minutes, enabling the juices from the veggies to mingle together to produce a unique-tasting dish.
- Spinach is full of soil and dirt. Soak in water for 15 minutes, and rinse thoroughly, several times, before using.
- In the recipe video, due to the unavailability of broad beans or sheem, we have used green beans instead. You can do the same if you can’t find sheem in your local market.
- The vegetables used in this recipe vary in hardness: some cook faster than others. This is why we are adding them to the pan in a staggered manner, to give the hardest vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin) a bit of a head-start before adding the softer vegetables (sheem, brinjal). This is to ensure that they all reach the same level of doneness by the end.
- Cut potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins into 4-cm cubes. Cut brinjal into 5-cm long pieces. Chop moolo (radish) and sheem (broad beans) into 4-cm long pieces.
- Separate spinach leaves from the stalk. Divide the stalks into 6-cm segments.
- Pile both the spinach leaves and stalks into a pan. Add 2 g salt. Cover and steam on medium heat for 8 minutes.
- In a separate kadai, heat 25 g mustard oil. Fry dal'er bori until golden. Set aside.
- In the same oil, fry brinjal until golden (about 4 minutes). Set aside.
- Add 10 g more mustard oil, if the pan is running dry. Temper with dried red chillies, bay leaves, and kaalo jeere.
- Add the potatoes and fry on low heat, covered, for 3 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Fry with the lid on for 4 minutes.
- Add moolo and fry another 4 minutes.
- Add sheem and fry for 3 minutes.
- Add turmeric, cumin powder, and salt. Mix everything well. Keep the heat low, the pan covered, and stir regularly. Cook everything for 5 minutes.
- Lightly squeeze water from the steamed spinach and add the leaves and stalk to the kadai. Reserve the water, as you may need it later. Cook 6 minutes with lid on.
- Add sugar. Continue cooking on low heat until the vegetables are done (another 15 to 20 minutes). The moisture from the spinach will cook the vegetables. In case vegetables stick to the pan, add some of the squeezed-out spinach water.
- Break the fried bori into shards. Finely chop coriander.
- Add fried brinjal and fried bori. Cover and cook for 4 minutes to allow brinjal and bori to soak up the juices.
- Add one slit green chilly and chopped coriander. Give everything one last stir. Be gentle or the veggies may disintegrate.