Mocha Chingrir Daal10:49 AM
I am cooking a lot these days and by ‘a lot’ I mean almost twice daily. My MIL is visiting and we also have a few guests over here. It feels like am in the kitchen for the whole day because apart from the main meals I also have to prepare food for my son. Though I love to cook but this much cooking is quite tiring. But the thing that’s paining me most is good foods are prepared but I hardly get any chance to take the picture. Cause am sure they are not aware of this special human species called food bloggers, who set the table, click the pictures and then with a happy grin eat the cold food. Jokes apart but seriously I can’t risk my image in front of my MIL and take pictures when she is around. So though several elaborate Bengali dishes are prepared no pictures have been taken.
This recipe of ‘mocha chingrir daal’ or ‘Bengal gram daal cooked with banana flower and prawns’ was made a couple of weeks back. Well mocha or banana flower is a vegetarian delicacy for Bengalis. We Bengalis actually banana trees and never waste a single part of it. Like bananas are eaten both in raw and ripe form and not even the peels are wasted. Then the flower is cooked to achieve traditional delicacies like mochar ghanto(banana flower curry) or mochar chop (banana flower fritters) etc. the inside portion of the stem is called thor and is again cooked as curry or with lentils. Thor is said to have high content of iron and the juice us used to treat kidney stones and high blood pressure. The leaves are used for cooking a beautifully flavored fish dish called paturi where the fish is steamed with spices wrapped in banana leaves.
I am a self-proclaimed mocha lover. I can finish my whole meal only with a bowl full of delicious mochar ghanto. I even love the Mocha petals. As kids we used to decorate the petals with flowers and float them as boats. Especially in monsoons when the street side drains would overflow, we have spent hours following them. The only thing that restrains me from cooking mocha is the difficulty in cleaning and preparing it. One has to clean each floret by picking out the stick and the transparent petal from it. Then you have to chop it finely and have to boil it with salt and turmeric before its ready to be cooked as a vegetable. But trust me the end result will be finger licking good and will make up for all the hard work and patience. I always cook it in big portions to get more for my hard work and this recipe is a complete meal when served with rice, roti, paratha or luchi (puri).
This is the banana flower or our Mocha with all the petals and florets.
Now let me explain how to clean the mocha. First rub your hand with a few drops of mustard oil Otherwise you will end up having black stains on your hand. Be very careful with your clothes cause the Mocha or thor stains does not go away easily.
This is how a single floret will look like.Take out this stick… And the transparent petal and you are ready to chop it.
Be patient and repeat for all the florets. Now take 7-8 florets as bunch and chop them as finely as possible. Soak them in water. Wash and boil them with salt and turmeric. Don’t over boil, It should be soft with a little crunch. Drain the water and you are ready to go.
Mocha Chingri’r Daal
Mocha: 1 cup boiled
Bengal gram daal: 11/2 cups
Prawns: 10 pieces small sized
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Ginger paste: 2 teaspoon
Cumin and coriander powder: 1 teaspoon each
Vegetable oil: 3 teaspoon
Garam masala powder: 1/3 teaspoon
Ghee or clarified butter: 1 spoon (optional)
Bay leaf: 1 piece
Whole cumin: 1 teaspoon; I used shajeera , normal cumin will also work.
1-2 pieces each of whole cardamom, clove and cinnamon
Green chilies: 2 pieces, chopped
Method: soak the Bengal gram for 30 mnts, wash and strain the water. Boil it with salt and turmeric till soft but not mushy.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the prawns lightly with salt and turmeric. Keep them aside.
In the same oil put all the tempering items. When the aroma rises add the ginger cumin paste and turmeric. Give it a stir.
When oil starts separating from the spices add the drained banana flower and salt. Mix everything together, cover and let it cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes. Stir in-between to avoid sticking at the bottom.
Once the juice dries up add the prawn and the grated coconut. Mix and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
Tip in the boiled Daal and stir to mix everything together. Add a cup of warm water and check the seasoning. Cover and let it cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in between.
Once it reaches a thick consistency sprinkle the garam masala powder and ghee. serve hot.
we had ours with some carrot and spinach paratha.
am sending this to Think Spice:Think Turmeric event this time hosted by Sudeshna of Cook like a bong. This great event is a brainchild of lovely Sunita, who has inspired a lot like us.