Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mocha Aloo Tarkari (Banana Flower & Potato)

A good part of Bengal is blessed with banana trees, thus every part of the plant finds a place in Bengali food. Leaves are used in place of Plates; and stems (called Thor), flowers (called Mocha) and fruits are consumed as food. Cutting and preparing the Mocha before cooking the dish is very time taking. Here is the link to how Bengalis cut the Mocha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA2PbucleD

Cutting the Mocha
  • Tear off one Purple Petal at a time, take out the florets underneath the petal. Discard the purple petal.
  • Take out the Stigma and the Sepal, leave the stamens. Discard the stigma and sepal from each floret.
  • Bunch together the florets and chop finely.
  • Soak the chopped Mocha in a bowl full of water, with some salt & turmeric in it for 2-3 hours.
  • Strain the chopped Mocha and pressure cook it with some fresh water for one or two whistles. Open the cooker, strain out all the water by squeezing the Mocha tightly (this water becomes very bitter, so discard it). Now, the Mocha is ready for further cooking. Phew!!
Slice thinly some potatoes and grate some ginger.

How to Cook
  1. Heat oil, preferably mustard oil. Add some Jeera (cumin seeds) and one Sukhno Lanka (dried red chili), let it splutter.
  2. Add the sliced potatoes and fry for some time, then add the ginger, fry some more.
  3. Now add the Mocha, salt & turmeric.
  4. Stir fry altogether until the potatoes are cooked, keep adding oil if required when stirring.
You can add grated coconut in this dish, most Bengalis do. But, personally I don't like it except for Chingri Malai Curry and Chholar Daal.

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