I always wait eagerly for the end of the rainy season, for that’s the time when the festive season in India begins. After the Hindu festivals of Ganesh Puja, Navratri and Diwali arrives winter, a season I love and along with winter it is time to welcome Santa Claus. Though not a Christian myself I look forward to Christmas primarily for all the delicious goodies that pop up from every nook and corner to tempt me into forgetting about the sugar content in these goodies.
I had planned to do an entire post dedicated to the Christmas goodies but unfortunately a minor mishap before Christmas led my orthopaedic surgeon to strap and completely immobilize my right arm. Since typing with just the left hand is a bit tedious I am glad I had the following recipe saved as a draft. So here is the recipe for another Bengali favourite. This is the season when the markets particularly in West Bengal are flooded with this Bengali favourite -- Pyaaz Kali.
This a traditional Bengali dish, the main ingredient of which is ‘pyaaz kali’ (see photograph). Pyaaz kali, as the name suggests is the bud (kali) of the onion plant (pyaaz). Most of you are familiar with spring onions. If you see the spring onion in its entirety you will find the pyaaz kali in the centre. The bud along with its stalk is removed by vegetable vendors before the spring onion is sold in the market. Separate bundles of the stalk along with the bud are made and sold in West Bengal (India) and in some other towns and cities where there are enough consumers of this vegetable.
- 4 bundles pyaaz kali.
- 2 medium sized potatoes.
- One tomato.
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- A teaspoon of coriander and cumin seed powder mix.
- Chop the pyaaz kali into one inch pieces. Take care to discard a bit of the bottom portion and the buds which are on the top of the stalk.
- Dice the potatoes. You are free to increase or decrease the quantity of the potatoes in accordance to your taste, for instance, if you prefer to have more potatoes then just go ahead and add more potatoes.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a vessel (preferably a kadhai or wok) and add half teaspoon of cumin seed to the oil.
- Once the seeds begin to crackle add the chopped pyaaz kalis. Stir and cook till it softens a bit. However, take care not to soften it too much or else by the time you add the potatoes and wait for the potatoes to soften, the pyaaz kalis will be a perfect mess.
- At this stage add the potatoes and stir it.
- Add one chopped tomato, a pinch turmeric powder and one teaspoon coriander and cumin seed powder (this is optional; you can also prepare the dish without the coriander and cumin seed powder).
- If you would like to spice up the dish you can add green chilies or red chilli powder in accordance to your taste.
- Stir well, add water and salt to taste. Cook till the pyaaz kalis and potatoes have softened and the water has evaporated.
Bengalis being fish eaters normally add prawns to this dish. If you are a fish eater and like prawns then take required quantity of (that is the quantity you will like to have) white prawns, shell and devein the prawns. Marinate the prawns in salt and turmeric powder. Sautee the prawns and add to the pyaaz kalis.