Bagan Charchari (Bengali Mixed Veg Stir Fry)

‘Chorchori’ is any type of stir-fried veg/non veg dish in Bengali. A ‘chaunk’ or tempering is used to prepare any ‘chorchori’ like ‘shorshe’ (black mustard seeds), ‘jeera’ (Cumin Seeds), ‘kalo jeear’ (nigella seeds), ‘panch foran (Bengal Five Spices). Then chopped vegetables are added and stir-fried briefly. With addition of ginger and some regular spices vegetables are cooked in low heat for a long time adding a little water. The vegetables are cooked in their own juices. When all the water gets evaporated then the vegetables are again stir fried.

As I have mentioned earlier ‘Charchari’ can also be cooked with small fish like ‘Mourola’ or ‘Punti’ or ‘Shrimp’ or small ‘Tangra Fish’ (Tangra Macher Chorchori). Sometimes fish heads are also cooked with vegetables to make mouth watering ‘Kanta Charchari’!

However the quintessential Charchari is the ‘Panch Mishali Charchari’ or what I call ‘Bagan Charchari’, where the ‘Charchari’ prepared adding different veggies. Now why it is called ‘Bagan Charchari’? Literally ‘Bagan’ means ‘Garden’…. So whatever grown in a kitchen garden…. this dish would be cooked using those. This is a term which is been used for ages in our house. My Thakuma (Grandmother) used to call this ‘Charchari’ by ‘Bagan Bharchari’ as whatever available or left in the kitchen the ‘Bagan Charchari’ would be cooked using those vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Potato (Medium)
  • ½ Brinjal
  • 2 Pointed Gourd
  • 4 – 6 Ivy Gourd
  • ½ cup Pumpkin – (Roughly chopped)
  • 4 – 5 Lady Finger/Okhra
  • 1 cup Cauliflower – (Small floarets)
  • 2 – 3 Snake Beans
  • ¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Panch Foran (Bengal Five Spices)
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 Dry Red Whole Chillie
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • To taste Salt
  • 3 tsps Mustard Oil – or as required

Steps:

  1. Wash & chop the veggies in almost equal sizes.
  2. In a pan dry roast the panch foran and crush them in a mortar and pestle.
  3. In a kadai or wok heat mustard oil. Now add dry whole red chillie, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When it starts crackling put all the veggies, stir for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Now add ginger paste, turmeric powder and cumin powder.
  5. Add sugar. Adjust salt. Cover and cook. No need to add water as all the vegetables will release water and this will be enough. Cook on low heat.
  6. Cook till the veggies are done and water dries out. Sprinkle the dry roasted ground masala.
  7. Enjoy with steamed rice and ‘Mulo dea Masoor Dal’ or you can also have it by itself if you wish.

 

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