Lau-Palong Saaker Dalna (Bottle Ground Leaves-Spinach Mishmash)

No Bengali meal is complete without a ‘saak’ or leafy vegetables preparation. And in my house we regularly cook any leafy vegetables preparation likewise ‘Kolmi Saaker Chorchori’, ‘Lau Palong Saaker Chorchori’, ‘Palong Saaker Dalna’, ‘Lau Saaker Ghonto’, ‘Laal Saak Bhaja’, ‘Note Saaker Ghonto’ etc. My today’s recipe is ‘Lau-Palong Saaker Dalna’. It is leafy vegetables curry cooked with ‘Lau Saak’ (Bottle Gourd Leaf’ and ‘Palong Saak’ (Spinach) along with some vegetables. ‘Lau Saak’ or bottle gourd creepers are very common in Bengali households. While ‘Lau’ (Bottle gourd) is cooked as vegetable, the leaves and tender stem is consumed as ‘Chorchori’ or ‘Dalna’. I have shared a similar recipe, ‘Lau-Palong Saaker Corchori’ before. Now what is the difference between ‘Chorchori’ and ‘Dalna’! ‘Chorchori’ is a dry dish cooked on slow fire adding a little or no water and ‘Dalna’ is a semi dry dish cooked adding a little water or milk. In ‘dalna’ there will always be a little gravy at the bottom of the curry. So here is again a family recipe of mine …. ‘Lau-Palong Saaker Dalna’.

Ingredients to serve 4

  • Lau Saak (Tender bottle gourd leaves) – 10-12 leaves
  • Palong Saak (Spinach) – 1 bunch
  • Potato – 1 (cut into medium strips)
  • Brinjal – 1 (Diced)
  • Raddish – 1 (Diced)
  • Flat Beans – 5-6 (Diced)
  • Panch Foran (Bengali 5 spices) – ½ tsp
  • Whole Red Chilies – 1 piece
  • Cumin Powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander Powder – ¾ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tablespoon
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Vadi (Lentil Dumplings) – 8-10 pieces
  • Mustard Oil – 3-4 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – To taste

Steps:

  1. Wash both the leaves thoroughly with water for 2-3 times and then chop them finely separately. Soak them in water atleast for 30 minutes. Then drain them in a colander.
  2. In a pan heat oil and fry the ‘Vadi’s and keep them aside.
  3. Heat Mustard oil in a pan and put in ‘panch foran’ and red chilli.
  4. Add all the vegetables and sauté till the oil starts leaving from sides.
  5. Now add the chopped ‘lau saak’ first. Sauté for few minutes then add chopped ‘palong saak’ and mix.
  6. Add all the dry masalas, sugar and keep the flame low and stir for 5-6 minutes till the ‘saak’ is coated with the masala.
  7. Adjust salt, cover and let it cook for 5-6 minutes. You need not to add water as the saak will release water.
  8. After some time when the vegetables and ‘saak’ are almost done add milk and mix well and let the water evaporate a little. This will neither be very dry nor very runny.
  9. Take out in a bowl and Garnish with fried crushed ‘Vadi’ or sundried lentil dumplings.
  10. Serve it with steamed rice only.
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