Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Palong Shak-er Charchari (Spinach with Mix-veg)

Spinach, the leading ingredients in this recipe is known in the nutrition world as a “Power packed” food or "Super Food", is packed to the brim with essential nutrients. Unfortunately, it’s also known as a slimy, smelly vegetable in the "Kid's World". They will refuse to eat, even when you threaten to ground them. Luckily, my daughter loves all green leafy vegetables. Thank God for that.
This green leafy vegetable doesn't need any introduction. It has a long list of nutritional benefits. This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Each of these nutrients plays a crucial role in our bodies health, from maintaining bone structure, preventing neural tube defects, assisting in red blood cell production, regulating our heartbeat, fighting free radicals. Eating spinach feeds a healthy body. Spinach is also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid phytonutrients that are important for healthy eyes.
V.Important fact about Spinach :
Iron and calcium in plant foods are not highly absorbed by the body. Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve iron absorption, spinach should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, tomatoes, or citrus fruit or combine with vitamin C rich vegetables.
If you want to know which foods contain Vitamin C, click here

So this is one of the way I make my spinach with other vitamin C rich veges, in bengali cuisine we call it
Palong shak(spinach)-er Charchari
Charchari is a bengali cooking style where one or more vegetables, sometimes stalks of leafy greens are also added, are cooked with very few spices and with a phoron(tempering). The bone of large fish like bhetki or chitol cab ne made into a charchari called Kanta-charchari, kanta means fish-bone.

Ingredients :
Spinach : a bunch
Potatoes : 1 (cut into cubes)
Sweet potato : 1 (cut into cubes)
cauliflower : 1/2 cup (cut in small pieces)
Pumpkin : 1/2 cup (cut into cubes)
Augergine/bringal : 1 (cut into cubes)
Radish : 1/2 cup (cut into cubes)
Green peas : 1/ 3 cup
Onion : 1 (sliced)
Tomato : 1(chopped)
Green chilli : 1 or 2 (as per tolerance level)
Dry red chilli : 1 (break into 2)
Panch phoron: 1 tblsp. (a mixture of fennel, cumin, black cumin, Mustard & fenugreek seeds-mix each of same amount)
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 1 tsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Mustard or any other Oil : 2 tblsp.
Vadi : 1/2 cup (crisp when fried, are made of different lentils, available in Indian grocery stores-check here how to make at home)

Method :
  • Spinach grows in sandy soil, so wash it thoroughly to get rid of the grainy, sandy particles. Tear off the stem. Cut the leaves in 1 inch or longer pieces and place them in a large bowl of water. Gently wash leaves, and let the sand drift to the bottom of the bowl. Remove leaves from the water, and repeat the process 1 or 2 times with fresh water until the leaves are clean.
  • Cut the other veegtables into cube like pieces and also wash them.
  • Heat oil in a pan, fry the vadis till brown and keep them aside.
  • In the same oil when the oil is hot but not smoking, add dry red chill first, followed by panch phoron, immidiately add all the other vegetables except spinach. Add little salt and turmeric and give it a good stir.
  • Then add tomatoes, green chilli, red chilli powder, sugar and mix well. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Then pour about 2/3 cup of water to cook the veges. Cover the lid and let it cook, when the veges are almost done and water has almost dried, add the spinach and green peas.
  • Cover the lid again. After a minute or two, open the cover and mix well altogether. Dry all the water and add salt if needed. Remove from heat.
  • Crush the vadis with back of a spoon and sprinkle them all over the spinach curry.
Serve hot with hot, hot plain rice....enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sending this awesome easy-to-make nutritious dish to Mahimma who is hosting 15 minutes cooking event @ Indian Vegetarian Kitchen
Also sending to another great event @ Sowmya's Creative saga, who is hosting SWC :Cooking With Greens, event created by Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore. If you havn't sent her your favorite green recipe, do it now...event deadline is June 6


Sharmial said...

Amar chorchori pui shaag diye bhalo lage ... kintu pai na bole palong shag diye kori. Darun hoyeche Indrani! :-)

delhibelle said...

I love charchari, but still haven't tried with boris, now it's high time I should:)

Priya said...

Definitely a quick and healthy dish with plenty of veggies..looks delicious Indrani!

Pinky said...

Nice co-incident with you... Today I have made this too...and your blog recipe also shows this recipe...Lovely... It looks great Indrani

Indrani said...

Thanks, sharmila, delhibelle, priya & pinky for your quick comments..

sowmya said...

this is a nice healthy recipe with spinach...Thanks for sending this over for SWC-greens. Looks delicious too!!!

Parita said...

Wow love the combinations of sweet potato..radish and palak..very innovative :)

mahimaa said...

my mouth is watering reading all the ingredients! i have never tried this before... this is such a healthy dish. thanks!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Oh sweet potato and spinach I ahve never tried that combo... the dish looks yummy and healthy too... gotta try this!!!

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