Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables you can get out of a Bangali rannaghor (Bengali kitchen). Whether it’s a simple phulkopir tarkari (Bengali style cauliflower curry) or a cauliflower pickle – cauliflowers are everywhere, even in fish curries.
The gorging of cauliflowers starts from Durga Puja and extends till late March. I have seen mom cooking fulkopir tarkari as a part of the Prasad offered to Durga Ma on Ashtami (the 8th day of the annual Durga Puja worship). The simple cauliflower and potato preparation seasoned with cumin and ginger paste is just the right side dish for kichdi/ kichuri.
Now, these cauliflower preparations are done with the florets. Most of the time we throw away the stem that comes along with the fulkopi. But, a very traditional and authentic Bengali recipe is with these stems of the cauliflower, fulkopir data chauchori/ chachori.
Chachori is a unique style of preparing curries. Mostly, the vegetables are mostly cut longitudinally and cooked with a concoction of spices, especially panch phoron if it’s a vegetarian preparation. For non-vegetarian ones like morola macher chachori onions, garlic are widely used. Any idea where the word comes from? In fulkopir data chachori the stems are cut to 1” long pieces and if they are too thick then the stems are cut longitudinally.
One of my friends once told that you Bengalis just don’t leave any part of anything – you eat everything. Yeah, it’s kind of true. From peels of gourd to flowers of plantain – Bengalis like to taste everything.Serves 2 Preparation time: 10min Cooking time: 15min
- Stems of one medium cauliflower
- 1 medium size potato
- 1 cup chopped pumpkin
- 1 cup chopped small brinjal, cut longitudinally in quarters
- 1 tablespoon panch phoron
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil
- Boil the cauliflower stems till half done, then blanch in cold water to stop further cooking
- Heat oil in a wok, throw in the panch phoron. As the spices starts sputtering add potatoes, brinjal and pumpkin pieces.
- Fry for sometimes, put in the spices and ginger paste and cook for 2-3mins more
- Add the half boiled stems
- Pour in water and cook covered till the vegetables are cooked
- Serve hot with warm rice.
Hot Tips – Panch phoron is a mixture of 5 different spices in equal proportion – fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nigella and wild celery.