Last weekend, we harvested the last beets in our garden. Along with the beets came in a chockful of radishes and the last carrots. We still have some radishes left and then we shall be officially done for the year! Not bad for a New York garden.
I was amazed to see the vivid red colors of the beet leaves, in fact as my husband mentioned they really ought to be called Beet Purples instead of Beet Greens. This batch reminded me of the red delicate leaves we often get in the Kolkata markets, that we call Lal Shaag or Red Spinach. Most people who have been reading this blog, by now realize that if I can adapted a local vegetable to something Indian, it is done. These Beet Green were transformed into a classic Bengali vegetable medley called chorchori, much like the one that I have featured here. These simple medleys are an amazing powerhouse of nutrients and are perfect with almost any combination of vegetables. I was thilled with the beet green adaptation. The dark and vivid leaves stained the vegetables just like I remember the childhood dish doing and was perfect along with some rice, lentils and fish.
The recipe is almost too simple to write down, but since I did like this particular combination, it is worth jotting down for my own reference. If you do want ways to use up some winter vegetables, this is a nice and simple way to do just that!
Red Greens and Mixed Vegetable Medley (Lal Saager Chorchori)
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves 3-4 (as a side dish)
1/4 cup oil (preferably mustard oil)
1 teaspoon panch phoron (Bengali 5-spice blend)
1 teaspoon ginger paste
a pinch of asafetida (optional)
2 dried red chilies
3/4 cup tender cubed eggplant
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 red potato, cut into large cubes (with the skin on)
1/2 cup cubes winter squash
2 cups of fresh red spinach or winter beet greens
Method of Preparation
1. Heat the oil on medium heat for 1 minute and add in the panch phoron.
2. When this begins to crackle, add in the ginger paste, red chilies and the asafetida if using.
3. Spinkle the turmeric and salt over the eggplant and the potatoes and add into the oil and spice mixture.
4. Reduce the heat and cover the wok and let the eggplants cook for about 10 minutes on low heat.
5. Remove the cover and check to ensure that the eggplants are very soft.
6. Add in the squash and cover and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add in the red beet greens or spinach with 2 tablespoons of water and stir well.
8. Let the leaves wilt, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the leaves are soft and wilted. Stir well to mix in with the very soft eggplant, and the potatoes and squash.
9. Check the seasonings and serve.