When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. # John Ruskin
Masterpiece recipes are difficult to recreate, it is that delicate balance of flavor, taste and texture that we all strive to achieve in cooking or in art and also in life. Mochar ghonto is one such classic dish from Bengali cuisine, repertoire of few but loved by many if not all. Though I am yet to come across a person who does not love this dish. Mochar ghonto or banana blossom stir fry is unanimously the star of any lunch menu, yet it is elusive, you may not find it as regular entry on the menu of Bengali restaurants and also ask any home cooks – ” orrre babba… Mochar ghonto ! no way ! it takes eons to make this dish ! who will do all those prep works”. Few clever ones has however taught their better halves the nuisance of cleaning and prepping the banana blossoms. I tried to borrow the idea but all efforts goes in vain. 🙁
Mochar ghonto has many variations, some like it with shrimps including me, others use simply coconut and desi chickpea (kala chana). I have made a vegetarian version of it, though secretly I love the shrimp version more. There is a long process of collecting the blossoms, chopping, cleaning etc and couple of years back I have documented them in my old post of Mochar chop. Please refer back to that post for your easy understanding, if you are not familiar with this.
Bengali loves potatoes, they put it in almost anything they prepared, so why potatoes should not be here ! But I would prefer to cube the potatoes in small size, for even cooking and for presentation purpose also. Mochar ghonto is pure veg recipe sans any onions or garlic.
- 1 : Banana Blossom
- ½ cup : Shredded coconut
- ½ cup : Roasted desi chickpeas or peanuts or shrimps (if you are using it)
- 1 : Potato (medium, peeled and cubed into small bite size)
- 1 or 2 Bay leaf
- 1 Cinnamon sticks
- 2-3 Green cardamom
- 3-4 Cloves
- 1 tsp : Cumin powder
- A pinch of chilli powder
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp : Sugar (or less according to taste)
- 2 tbsp : Ghee (clarified butter)
- Turmeric water or lemon to remove the bitterness
- After collecting the blossoms, chop them very finely.
- Cut the inner white cone into quarter and chop it very finely.
- Heat the water in a deep bottom vessel and add the chopped banana blossoms.
- Sprinkle some salt and turmeric water or juice of lemon and stir it.
- Let it boil for few minutes until the blossoms are soft enough.
- Drain it on a mesh colander and run cold water over it.
- Squeeze out the water from the blossoms. It should be dry enough.
- Heat ghee in a pan and throw in some cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Fry the potatoes till they start showing some brown hues.
- Add the dried banana blossoms, desi chickpeas or peanuts (whichever you are using).
- Stir fry them on high heat for 3 minutes. Add the shredded coconut, cumin powder, red chilli powder (if using) and saute them for a while.
- Sprinkle salt and sugar to taste.
- Cover, simmer on low heat till potatoes are tender.
- Add few drops of ghee, check the seasonings and serve hot with steamed rice.
Have a great weekend