3 Bengali Vegetarian Recipes

Bengali cuisine comes from the Bengal Region which covers Eastern India and Bangladesh. The cuisine is generally known for fish and seafood dishes, often rich and spicy. The following 3 dishes break the rule. They are vegetarian, mellow-tasting and low calorie.

3) Bati Chorchori (Vegetable Stew)

Diets – Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo (Remove Dal Bora), NoCarb

Ingredients

  • Dal Bora (Dal Vadi) – Can be substituted with Bhaji or Falafel
  • Cauliflower
  • Snap Peas – (or Sweet Pea whole)
  • Potol (Parwal) – or any melon or gourd/squash
  • Capsicum / Bell Peppers / Poblano
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • Mustard Oil
  • Asafoetida (Hing) – optional
  • Ginger
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Red Chilli Powder / Cayenne Pepper
  • Green Chillies – Thai pepper or Shishito peppers
  • Tomatoes

Recipe –

  • Cut  the gourd into 1-inch sized cubes after peeling. For Potol (Parwal), this would be simply dividing it into two parts after cutting off the stem and bottom.
  • Cut the cauliflower into slightly larger (2-inch) sized florets.
  • In a frying pan, shallow fry separately the following until golden – Dal Bora, Califlower florets and Parwal.
  • Now, divide the cumin seeds into two parts. Roast one part over a dry pan.
  • Add the roasted cumins to tomatoes and blend them together.
  • Take your green chillies and mildly slit them around their base – this keeps their flavor but doesn’t add heat.
  • In Heated mustard oil, add green chillies and the other half the cumin seeds. Cover with lid immediately to prevent spluttering. If you couldn’t do this in time, then understand every Indian cook went through this their first time as a right of passage. Welcome to the club.
  • Add finely chopped ginger to the oil and stir until golden.
  • Add salt, turmeric, red pepper powder and the puree of roasted cumin and tomatoes.
  • Add all the vegetables both fried and raw. Don’t add Dal Bora.
  • Once the puree has reduced, add water, lower the flame and cover.
  • Once reasonably done – ie – the veggies are soft and the stew doesn’t taste raw, turn off the heat and then add Dal Bora in the end to soak up the stew.

2) Chholar Dal (Chana Lentil Stew)

Diets – Vegetarian, Vegan (replace ghee with plant-oil), NoCarb

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Ingredients –

  • Chholar Dal / Chana Dal / Split chickpea
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Dried red chillis
  • Ginger
  • Coconut shavings
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • Cinnamon sticks whole
  • Garam Masala – substitute with cinnamon powder
  • Bay leaves
  • Hing – Asafoetida – Optional
  • Ghee – or butter – or a neutral oil like peanut, sunflower or canola

Recipe –

  • Soak Chana dal for 2 hours in water and then rinse.
  • Add soaked chana dal in a pressure cooker or one-pot along with water and cook until it is soft but whole. It would take around 15-20 minutes in a pressure cooker and 30-40 minutes in a one-pot.
  • In a frying pan, toss in coconut shavings and dry-roast them until brown. Keep aside.
  • In a large pan, add ghee and toss in cumin, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and dried red chillies. Be careful about spluttering and cover with lid immediately.
  • Add ginger and stir till golden.
  • Now add in the boiled dal and keep stirring.
  • Add salt as needed, and a tiny pinch of sugar just to bring out the dal’s own sweetness.
  • After 10-20 minutes depending on how much you want to reduce it, turn off flame.
  • Sprinkle Hing, Garam Masala and roasted coconut shavings.

1) Echor Korma (Jackfruit Curry)

Diets – Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo (replace oil with butter)

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Ingredients –

  • Canned Green/Unripe Jackfruit (from Asian/Indian stores)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Mustard Oil
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Garam Masala / Cinnamon powder
  • Diced onions (preferably red)
  • Cardamom pods (optional)
  • Dried red chillies
  • Chili Powder / Red Cayenne pepper
  • Sugar

Recipe –

  • In a large pan, heat mustard oil and add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, Cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods (optional). Cover with lid to avoid spluttering.
  • Add a bit of sugar and red chili powder (cayenne pepper) and caramelize them to dark brown.
  • Add diced onions and reduce the flame. Cook until the onions are brown.
  • Add ginger and garlic and cook till they are golden and the raw aroma gives way to a roasted one.
  • Add Jackfruit pieces and tomatoes, along with salt and turmeric.
  • Cook until all water has been soaked out of the jackfruit and tomatoes. Add more oil and keep stirring until dry.
  • Before serving add Garam Masala (or powdered cinnamon) on top.

Hope you loved these recipes. Let me know in comments what your favorite diet-friendly traditional cuisines are.

Other Bengali dishes to search for are – Shukto, Chechki, Begun Vorta and Khichri.

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4 comments

    1. So true. I’m glad Western food scene is gradually beginning to accept jackfruit, and now you get canned jackfruits – so no pressure about cutting the fruit oneself.

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