There is a beauty in simplicity and they say never overlooks the power of simplicity – just like this, a simple holistic lunch of plain steamed rice and sojne phooler chorchori or stir fried moringa flowers. These tiny yellowish white flowers are powerhouse of nutrients, packed with immense immunity boosters and an essential shield against the malady of seasonal changes. An essential spring produce which validates the fact that- why eating seasonally and locally is so important. Not just for better living and health benefits one can get but also for food sustainability, lower carbon footprints and step closer to curb the global food crisis.
When the world is moving ahead with junk and fast foods, ignoring the traditionally practiced culinary heritage and rituals, its time to take a look back into our post, to relive those blissful moments and to be inspired from our great culinary heritage and to cherish the seasonal bounties in its truest forms. The authentic and traditional Bengali vegetarian cuisine epitomize that very essence of slow living, close to the nature.
Bengali vegetarian dishes still struggles to find their prominence in predominantly non veg cuisine. The veg dishes which are fine exemplary of fineness in cooking, the minimalist approach, clean flavors, and a wholesome approach of cooking that eventually highlights the holistic aspects of food.
There are ways to prepare this sojne phooler chorchori. A more popular variation is preparing a bati chorchori. Bati chorchori is nothing but mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, in earlier times it is used to be sealed inside a coconut shell, then baked or cooked inside a clay oven / hearth, now it can be conveniently done in a pressure cooker.
In our home, however we prepare a simple chorchori of sojne phool with other vegetables. However, if you use only potato, it is also known as sojne phooler rai (rai as in mustard) in mustard base. This particular one is however very old and traditional recipe, given the fact that Bengali cuisine had wholeheartedly adopt the potatoes in such big way that we cannot think of making any dish without potatoes. Such is our love and admiration for this tuber.
Other than the bati chorchori, we also prepare a simple chorchori with other vegetables like eggplant, sheem or hyacinth beans along with indispensable potatoes. Mustard is usually the base for any chorchori recipe in Bengali cuisine. And using freshly grated coconut with mustard is however very much an “Opar Bangla” style, a typical East Bengal legacy that we had carried forward till date with utmost dedication and love.
How to clean Moringa flowers?
Moringa flowers are very tiny, so to separate the stamen and pistil from it is beyond question, the male part of the flower that we usually throws out while cooking any flowers. Like the way we do in Banana flowers curry/ Bengali mochar ghonto. So better way is to soak the flowers in clean water to get rid off any insects and dirt. Yes these moringa flowers are great source of nectar too, hence chances of finding all sorts of insects are very much there.
When it comes to Moringa flowers, freshness matter a lot here. Because moringa flowers usually has very low shelf life. Even if you keep them in the fridge, wrapped in newspaper the freshness of the flowers fade away very fast. So always try to use them as fresh as possible.
How does the moringa flowers taste?
Moringa flowers usually has a very slight bitter taste to it, which can be easily ignored or overlooked. The flowers have such delicate and soft texture but attains a deep robust flavor once cooked. But if you overcook them you will lost not only the nutrition but also its taste and flavour too. So stir frying them as gently as possible is always recommended.
Sojne Phooler Chorchori / Stir fried Moringa flowers with vegetables
- 4 cups Moringa / drumstick flowers
- 1 cup Potatoes, diced
- 1 cup Eggplants (brinjal), diced
- 1 cup Sheem (broad beans, hyacinth beans), chopped
- 4 tbsp Mustard paste, freshly prepared
- 1 cup Coconut, freshly grated
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste
- Salt and sugar to taste
- 1 tsp Nigella seeds, for tempering
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 or 2 Green chillies, slit in the middle
- 1 or 2 Dry red chillies, for tempering
- Mustard oil as required
- Separate the leaves, stems from the flowers. Collect the flowers in a bowl. Soak the flowers in a bowl filled with water for 10 minutes. Wash the flowers, remove them, discard the water and dry the flowers in a colander.
- Prepare all the vegetables as mentioned above. Prepare the musatrd paste with 1 green chill.
- In a kadhai or frying pan, pour some oil (around 3-4 tbsp) and temper the oil with nigella seeds, green chillies and red chillies.
- Add all the vegetables and saute them till the vegetables are little soft and potatoes are very lightly browned.
- Stir in the mustard paste, salt, turmeric powder and saute the vegetables little more.
- Lower the heat, close the lid and let it cook till all the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Now, add the moringa flowers, increase the heat little more and give everything a nice stir. Stir fry on medium heat till everything comes together. Wait for 5 minutes till the flowers become soft and tender.
- Add sugar, check all the seasonings. Keep on stir frying on low heat. We do not add water in chorchori. So feel free to drizzle little oil from time to time if requires. And keep adjusting the heat so that it should not get charred at the bottom.
- Add the freshly grated coconut and give a nice stir. Drizzle some ghee over it.
- This is a dry preparation. Serve warm with plain rice and dal.
What other dishes you can prepare with sojne phool / moringa flowers?
1.These moringa flowers are great choice of making fritters which is very common and most loved ones. Here is how to make – Moring flower fritters.
2.The other one is – sojne phool posto / moring flowers in poppy seed base. Highly delectable and equally unique and traditional recipe from Bengal’s culinary heritage. Here is how to make – sojne phool posto .
Other than this, the leaves of moringa flowers can also be used to prepare dals, shukto and chorchori. Here is how to make – sojne saag chorchori / stir fried moringa leaves with other vegetables.
The fruit or beans of the tree, popularly known as drumsticks are perhaps the most widely eaten across the cultures. Drumsticks are essential in preparing Bengali shukto and also a light chorchori with other vegetables is also hugely popular in Bengali homes. Here is how to make sojne datar chorchori / Bengali drumstick curry.