Pat shaker jhol (Mulukhiyah)

8:37 PM

I am not sure if I could interchangeably use the term Mulukhiyah for Pat shaker jhol, but the ingredients, cooking process and taste is so uncannily similar that after some serious thought I decided to do so.

Mulukhiyah is an Egyptian dish which I first saw on a beautiful program on BBC called a Cook Abroad. It was one of those off the beaten path food shows where real food of different countries were showcased with the history behind it. On the Egypt episode the presenter Dave Myers (Hairy bikers fame) travelled to the Nile valley and prepared this dish at a farmer's place. I was truly taken aback to see the cooking process. Exactly how maa cooked Nalte shaker jhol. In Egypt they call it 'Asharifa' meaning the noble one. This nutrient rich dish was even mentioned in ancient Egyptian cuisine that dates back to thousands of years. 

Now if you have ever eaten or dealt with Nalte or Paat Shaak (scientific name Corchorus olitorius) then you know how slimy this is. For this reason this green is mostly cooked as a bawra or fritter or is just stir fried with spices. My Mother who was an artist and was running her own handicraft business discovered and learnt this from the many rural women worked in her workshop. In rural parts of Birbhum district these are always cooked as a green soupy dish. We were told that the Muslims of this region prefered to cook it with meat but the Hindu families cooked it just by boiling and tempering it with lots of garlic and chilies...just the way it is done in Egypt.

Now let me warn you that this dish is totally an acquired taste. Though my Maa who had unnatural love for everything green embraced this dish from the first time she tasted it, it took us quite sometime to open up to it. I dont like to have it with rice rather I prefer to have it as a first course as soup. and  for that matter I have doubled the use of garlic in this dish. Luckily even my kids look forward to this dish now and love to sip it as hot soup on drizzly afternoons.

If you are interested in the nutrient fact then here is some info ,
 jute leaves is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 87 gram of jute potherb, cooked without salt offers 94 µg of Vitamin K, 0.496 mg of Vitamin B6, 2.73 mg of Iron,225 µg of Vitamin A,28.7 mg of Vitamin C and 0.222 mg of Copper. Moreover many Amino acids like 0.021 g of Tryptophan, 0.113 g of Threonine, 0.152 g of Isoleucine, 0.266 g of Leucine, 0.151 g of Lysine and 0.044 g of Methionine are also found in 87 gram of cooked jute.

And here goes the simple recipe

Nate shaker jhol
(serves 4)

Jute leaves: leaves separated and chopped: 2 cups tightly packed
Garlic: 5-6 flat cloves (chopped 1 tbsp)
Dry Red chilli: 2-3
bi carb of soda: 1/3 tsp
Oil: 1 tsp (I used mustard oil)

Separate the leaves from the stalks and wash under running water. Chop very finely. 

Take 1.5 cups of water in a big bottom heavy pan. place the chopped leaves in it along with soda, salt and little turmeric(1/3 tsp). Boil this till the leaves are cooked. I dont like to cover it as it makes the green blackish in colour. Once the leaves are cooked take it off the heat.

In another bowl heat oil and add the dry red chillies and chopped garlic. fry till the garlics are golden. Pour in the boiled greens along with the water. immediately cover for the aroma to mingle. Adjust the taste but adding salt or sugar or chilies. Boil for 3-4 minutes then serve hot with rice or crackers as a soup. 

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