Bagan Charchari with Japanese greens and Wasabi paste(Dry side dish with Veggies)

8:23 PM

Its a known fact that to survive, you need to constantly change and adapt to new environments. When we first stepped in Japan I really was in a dilemma as how to bring variety to our daily meals. The supermarkets sold many veggies but I was unable to recognise half of them. But being a blogger opens many avenues and I knew few blogs from Japan which came into my rescue. One of them is  Chika's she who eats. She is an amazing photographer and I can even eat the  paper with her gorgeous food pictures printed on it. Long before I visited this amazing country I longed to live her sweet life in the way she describes. Her recipes with fruits is an inspiration to follow.  I referred to her blog to know the names of the veggies in the market. She mentioned each and every vegetable, herb and fruit in her blog. Really can't thank her enough for making my stay much easier.
Being a Bengali our charcharis and ghantos are really important for us. but this unavailability of familar greens made me little worried and I needed to improvise. So here is my Mom's bagan charchari or a dry slow cooked curry with garden vegetables in mustard paste. This is a very common dish in our house. Every morning Maa will go to the garden with a basket and will collect all the produce for the day. With the dry, ripe or imperfect looking veggies she makes this amazing dish which we lovingly call bagan charchari. This is a perfect dish prepared with some danta (stalks) providing the chewy texture, melt in mouth leafy greens, carrots or radish providing sweetness, potato giving body to the dish and potol (pointed gourd) or any other ripe vegetable providing the crunch. You can add any veggies you fancy, when slow cooked with pungent mustard it takes the veggies to a different level. 

 The beauty of the dish is you can make it with any vegetable. In this recipe I cooked it with Japanese Mizuna leaves, Daikon radish and instead of mustard used wasabi paste which has the same pungent flavour as of fresh mustard paste. A familiar taste created with some very unfamiliar ingredients.

Charchari with Japanese vegetables and wasabi paste

Mizuna: 1 bunch
Daikon radish: 2" round
Japanese eggplants: 2 pcs
carrot: 1 
Potato: 1 medium
snow peas: 7-8
red onion: 1 medium (or 1/2 of white onion)
green chilies: 2-3
panchforon: 1 tsp
wasabi paste: 1/2 tbsp (I used readymade paste)
mustard paste: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp+1 tsp (preferably mustard oil)

First prepare the vegetables. cut the roots of the Mizuna bunch and wash under running water. Now cut the bunch in 1" pieces. While cutting separate the white stalks from the leafy parts.
cut the radish and eggplant  in 1 cm thick wedges (1" long). peel and cut the carrots and potatoes in the same manner. chop off the two ends of the snow peas and cut in half. 
peel and slice the onion and keep aside.

Once your prep work is done start cooking the dish by heating 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan. I always use my non stick Kadhai. once the oil is hot add the panch foron and slit green chilies. once it starts to crackle add the sliced onion. Stir on medium heat till the onions are translucent. then add all the veggies except the egg plant and the leafy part of the Mizuna. They will require very less time to cook so will add them later. Add turmeric and salt and stir to mix everything together. Cover and let it get cooked in its own juice on medium flame. Stir from time to time. When the juices of the veggies will dry and the veggies are almost 3/4 cooked (approx. 10-15 minutes) add the rest of the veggies. check the salt, cover and cook on slow flame.

after another 5-7 minutes mix in the wasabi and mustard paste. Give it a thorough mix and let it cook on very slow flame for another 5-6 minutes. in this time keep stirring often but let the juices caramelise along with the pungent mustard paste. The more it gets charred, more flavour will develop. Finally finish off by drizzling 1 tsp mustard oil on top.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

A Homemakers notes:
use any vegetables like cauliflower/broccoli stalks, Matured cabbage, string beans, hyacinth beans, pointed gourd, turnip greens along with the stalks etc. You can use any vegetable that is native to your area. The saying that 'if it grows together, goes together' goes really well with this recipe.

Like a true Bengali adding a fistful of tiny shrimps (after you add the onion, mix in cleaned and washed shrimps with a pinch of salt and saute for a minute before adding the veggies) will elevate the dish to another level.

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  1. Healthy and tasty looking chachadi with addition of Japanese greens.

  2. Loved the fusion , though japanese spices and pastes are totally new to me...
    Todays post :

  3. Sayantani i am one of those silent admirers of your blog...i have you on my reader and infact have tried so many of your recipes..
    today happens to be just one of those days when i said "ektu kichu likhi " so ..thanks for having a wonderful place

  4. I can finish the whole cup. looks so good.

  5. Wow..darun baniyechho charcharita ekhtu onyo rokom. Looks tasty..

  6. Thanks everybody for these beautiful comments.
    @Sulagna, I dont know how to thank persons like you who reads and encourages me with their comments. Thanks for everything. I just discovered your space and started going through your life through your creative writing. Loads of love and blessings to your cutie pie.

  7. What a gr8 fusion .... totally agree with you. Adding shrimps takes this dish to another level.

  8. Looks yum. Hope you brought back some dried Wakame as well. I love that in miso soups.

  9. Fantastic and tremendous fusion..I have tasted wasabi once n love the effect it gives.

  10. Its new to me. Looks delicious.

  11. Thats tempting Sayantani... Neat presentation as always...

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  13. I manage 2 blogs and find it very difficult to go blog hopping but today I was determined to catch up and I found this, it is absolutely interesting and may I add very inspiring. Now I know what I should do when I do not get the vegetables of my choice. Besh interesting laglo.

  14. Nice and unusal dish,never heard of wasabi paste though.....looks yum,would love to try this one

  15. Interesting and must try recipe.Thanks for sharing

  16. Sayantani-kemon acho? That looks so delicious..darun hoyeche dekhte..Wasabi and mustard both belong to the same family of plants, perhaps thats why that similar pungent taste.Shorshe paste er ek rokom bhalo replacement hote parey wasabi paste,this is indeed a keeper tip and recipe..hugs

  17. Love the fusion in the recipe...looks beautiful!


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