Friday, June 28, 2013

Panchmeshali tarkari panchphoron diye..........Mixed vegetables with Fivespice.

This panchmeshali tarkari was my dinner along with a bowl of "daal" and a piece of fish for almost a year.Why??I was on a weight watch for my marriage ;).And YES it works.It worked much better than the General Motors diet...which I fail miserably at.After the turmoil of just bananas and milk on the 4th day(as if I am a snake)....I just can't take the overdose of tomatoes on the 5th day.
This tarkari works for me because you can change the taste by adding a little "posto bata"(poppy seed paste) or a little "shorshe bata"(mustard seed paste) at the end.You can add a little complexity by adding a little"kalo chola"(black gram) soaked overnight in water to this vegetable. "Bori' works well.Sometimes my mother used to add some soy nuggets to this.Trust me you will not get bored of eating the same thing.....the little variations and the choice of your 5 vegetables take care of that.
This mixed vegetable is steam cooked in the vegetable's own juices, so fresher the vegetables better is the end result.
"Panchphoron"-a spice mix of mustard seeds,nigella seeds,fenugreek seeks,fennel seeds and cumin seeds......present in most bengali kitchens.You can make your own or buy it from the store.

Five vegetables I made my tarkari out of -eggplant,radish,carrots,wax gourd (parval) and potatoes.You need to cut your vegetables in sizes so that the cooking time for all of them is almost the same.
Apart from the chopped vegetables,you will need
Oil-1 tablespoon
Panchphoron( Five spice mix)-1 tablespoon
Chili-2 (I used dried red chili.....i am out of fresh green ones)
Sugar-1/2 tablespoon
Cumin powder-1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder-1/2tablespoon
Salt-to taste

Heat the oil in a pan.Add the panchphoron and the chili to the oil.Let it splutter.Now add all the vegetables and mix it with the panchphoron. Add the sugar ,turmeric and cumin powder.Give it a minute and then cover your pan with a lid.Put your flame on low so that the juices from the vegetables will start to come out and your vegetables start cooking.You will be able to smell it when your vegetables are done.If you vegetables are really fresh,it will take about 20 minutes.Now add in the salt and serve.

If you want to add either mustard paste or poppy seed paste,you'll first need to make the paste with a little salt and a green chilly.Add the paste to the vegetables 5 minutes before you take the pan off the heat.Mix the paste well with the vegetables.

If you want to add black gram,soak it overnight in water.Add the soaked gram to the oil along with the chili and the panchphoron.Fry the gram for a minute before adding the vegetables.

If you want to add the bori. Fry the bori separately in oil.Add a couple of mins before you take the vegetable off the heat.

If you want to add soy nuggets,soak the nuggets in hot water for 20 mins or till they are completely soft.Do a squeeze test on them.Squeeze them to see if they are absorbing water like a sponge.Add the soaked nuggets 5 mins before you take the mixed vegetables off the heat.If you are adding nuggets,you might need to add 1 more spoon of cumin powder or your "tarkari" might turn out a bit bland.

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