Sunday, 6 March 2011

Kopir Dnatar Chochchori

Finally, the last decent kopi of the season, and one final taste of the delectable dNatar chochchori. Believe me when I tell you, people, that Bengali vegetarian fare is the ticket, for I bring you proof!

You'll need:
Kopir dNata -- the green stems that surround a cauliflower and hold it together.
Kumro (pumpkin) -- sliced breadthwise, then diced lengthwise.
Potatoes, cut into boat-like slices (nouka kore kata)
Brinjal/eggplant/aubergine -- chopped into an inch wide pieces.
pNaach phoron.
Mustard oil.
Salt, sugar, turmeric, salt.

First, the tricky part, if you're new to this:
Tear off the leaves from the dNatas. Then chop off the thick end.

Now make a small cut an inch or so from one end. Don't cut all the way through. Instead, break it away from the rest of the dNata, leaving the outer husk at the back intact. We will use this little length of left-alone husk for leverage, to strip the rest of it right off the dNata.Watch:

Carefully break off the first slice, leaving the outer husk intact.

Now use the leverage to rip the husk right along the vein

Now chop the dNata into inch-long pieces. Then pound the pieces ever so slightly. This will make them cook faster, and better.

Heat a tablespoon of oil. Rub the brinjals with turmeric and salt, stir-fry them briefly, then cover and let cook on low till they take on a nice fried colour and are tender. Take them off the wok. I'd say "drain them", but it isn't necessary. Brinjals absord oil faster then privileged classes absorb resources. Now you'll see it, now you won't.

Heat the mustard oil. Be generous, pour two teaspoons (or more!). I used one medium potato, three dNata, a quarter of a slice of pumpkin and a sixth of a medium brinjal, and I needed nearly three teaspoons of it. Now add three pinches of pNaach phoron. The smell of frying mouri (saunf. It's other English name escapes me at the moment) will hit you right away. It's a delicious smell -- a subtle suggestion of sweetness.

pNaach phoron is the little multi-coloured bowl to the top left.

Don't wait. Add the vegetables right away, including the fried brinjals. Toss and turn till its well-coated with the tempered oil. Now sprinkle a pinch of turmeric, some salt and a little sugar. Some people also add red chilli powder, but in my opinion it upsets the balance of flavours.

Give the wok a few final stirs. Sprinkle a little water -- really just as much as you can hold in your palm, a little less if you have a big palm! There will be no gravy, so mind how much you add.

Simmer. Cover. Leave it alone for twenty minutes. Don't interfere with natural processes. The vegetables will cook in the steam, and the fried brinjals will release some of the oil they were holding captive (there is a political lesson here, if your mind is so inclined).

Come back, lift the lid, raise the flame to high and toss the curry compulsively for two minutes. The tender vegetables will now take on lovely brown spots. Take off the flame.

Serve hot with white rice, and maybe some mushur daal :-)


Sayantani said...

this is a must have dish for me in winter. simply love it. your version is very different than the way I cook and am soon gonna try this once I have some fresh cauliflower.

Tara said...

Oh wondefurl! Thank you.

Tara said...

Um, wrong account, plus very tired. But its me, N.

Dea-chan said...

Looks mad tasty! Also, "absorbs oil faster than the priviledged classes absorb resources..." (*Gasp) politics? Here? Nevarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

:-P It makes me wish that I ate eggplants. But I can work around that.

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

This is one of the best things to have been invented. Shows how innovative we, as an ethnic group, are when it comes to make use of what is generally termed as scrap.

Rimi said...

Sayantani--I'd love to hear about your version. Please bolo? Ekhanei bolo, or give us a link :-)

N--I hope you enjoy this. I've never tried the dNata abroad.

T--damn straight! Politics, politics everywhere, and not one drop of it worthy.

Abhishek--korrekt! Also, alur khosha bhaja. Nanarokom shaak. Curries with fish bones and fish head. Lovely, isn't it?

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

Alur khosha bhaja is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, especially when cooked with ground rice and posto. Jeez, I'm drooling already...

nabs said...

Abishek ba Priyanka, pliss to post recipe for alur khosha bhaja!


Rimi said...

Most welcome :-)

Alur khosha bhajar jonno pliss to giwe a couple of days. Aektu byasto achhi. Check back porer weekend, ba Follow the blog via Google.