Niramish mochar ghanto ar mocha chingri

8:34 PM

It's September. It's supposed to be Autumn with it's clear blue sky dotted with pillowy white clouds. 

But it's not.

Rather we are having heavy rain ever day. So much rain that most days roads are clogged and traffic is messed. I do not complain though, because Monsoon this year was dry. As dry as one's parched throat in a desert. While we took respite in AC rooms, farmers were worried to death thinking about the lost crop. 

Half a globe away, In London, my friends complained about unbearably hot summer, and few in the poles posted videos of how the glaciers melted and broke in parts in front of their very eyes.

Do you see any pattern here? 
Do you see how rapidly climate change is becoming the biggest reality?

Soon everything from water, food, and atmosphere that we took for granted would be scarce. Am not sure how many are aware and ready for it but I am definitely trying to do my bit for the earth.

Trying to use no plastic as much as possible and every time is forced to use any I try to reuse and recycle it.
Am trying to eat more plant-based food, at least a few meals every week.
Switching to organic food wherever possible to do our bit for the Earth.
Using less water by gently flushing the toilet, taking a bucket bath and reusing water for plants and cleaning.
as a family, we are not drinking any cold drinks and trying to buy fewer clothes to decrease the use of water in our daily lives.
Eating seasonal and local food also is decreasing our carbon footprint.

And following this idea am sharing a simple recipe of Mochar ghanto. Mocha or banana blossom is a delicacy in Bengal and we cook it in numerous ways. Even this mochar ghanto could be cooked with an addition of shrimps or with a pure vegetarian way with coconut and chickpeas. Here am sharing both the recipes. Hope you will find it useful.

Also please check THIS post to see how the blossoms are prepared for cooking. It's time-consuming yet repetitive. I love such work when I need to distract my mind from some nagging thoughts and worries. Try it sometime. It's quite an win win situation.

Mochar ghanto
(serves 4-5 as an accompaniment to a rice meal)

Banana blossom: 2 pieces (3.5 cups chopped)
Potato: 1 medium size
Ginger: 2" piece
Cumin paste or powder: 2 tsp
Turmeric powder
Red chili powder or paste: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves: 2
Dry red chili: 2
Green chilies: 3
Cinnamon stick: 1/2 " piece
Cardamom: 1
Cloves: 4-5
Garam masala powder: 1/3 tsp
Ghee: 2 tsp
Oil: 3 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tsp

Soaked Black chickpea: 1/4 cup
Grated fresh coconut: 1/3 cup
Prawns: 200 gms

Cleaning and prepping the 
Prepare the banana blossom by peeling the outer layers and separating the flowers. Remove the stamen and the small transparent plastic like portion from the front. Keep aside. Repeat till you can peel the purple layers. The inside of the mocha would contain smaller whitish flowers and very tender peels. This is called the banana blossom heart. Cut it in four parts and chop very finely. Place the chopped mocha in turmeric water to prevent it from turning brown. Chope the banana flowers very finely too. See the below collage for reference.

Wash it and boil with salt and turmeric till it is tender. Drain the excess water and once it is cool to touch, mash it slightly. Keep aside.

I generally clean and boil it the previous night and cook in the morning for lunch.

Peel and cut the potato in cubes.
Make a paste of ginger and mix this with Cumin powder, turmeric, chili powder and 2 tbsp water.
If using prawns then remove the shell, legs and dirt sack from it's back. Wash well and marinate with salt and turmeric.
Slightly pound the whole cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Heat oil and first fry the potatoes with a pinch of salt. Fry on medium till golden. Take out keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil and once it is hot add the bay leaves, dry red chilly, pounded whole garam masala, cumin seeds. Let it splutter and then add the spice paste. Bring the heat down to low and cover. Let it cook and the oil to come on the surface.

Add the chana and the boiled mashed mocha in the spices now. Mix. Add slit green chilies and adjust the seasoning. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes. The flame should be on medium-low. The idea here is not to add any additional water and let it cook in its own juice. This will take time, have patience and stir it from time to time. after about 15 minutes you will see the dish coming together. Now sprinkle half of the grated coconut and mix.

Once the potatoes are cooked and the water dries up sprinkle the rest of the coconut and ghee. adjust the seasoning by adding sugar and salt.

Finally, finish off with garam masala powder.

Serve warm with rice.

Non vegetarian version

After the spice paste is cooked add the marinated prawns. Fry for a minute and then add boiled mocha and chickpeas if using. 
Follow the rest of the recipe.

A Homemaker's notes:
Please adjust the amount of sugar and chilies as per your taste. This dish though is supposed to have a beautiful balance of salty, spicy with a hint of sweetness.

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