Today I bring to you a typical Bengali recipe – palong shaker ghonto – which is a scrumptious mixed veg dish primarily dominated by spinach i.e. palong shaak.
Out of many traditional Bengali recipes that I grew up on, if one recipe stood out most prominently and etched a permanent mark on my soul as well as taste buds, then that has to be this palong shaker ghonto! Ah, where do I start with this! This palong shaker ghonto is not a recipe for me – it is a synonym of comfort food to me. You serve me a bowl of rice with generous serving of the palong shaker ghonto and I won’t ask for any fish curry or chicken curry, trust me on this! Only condition is that the serving of palong shaker ghonto has to be generous, really generous! I hope you get what I mean!
Palong shak is the Bengali name of the spinach leaves which is available and popular almost all over the world. But being an oblivion child, I had no idea that our good old palong shak can be used to make a very delicious pasta dish as well which I came to know only after I started my food blogging journey! I was content with my favorite palong shaker ghonto which my mom used to make very frequently for our meals, but mostly during winters as fresh produces are generally at their best during the colder months and this palong shaker ghonto demands a lot of them! Yes, it involves lot of chopping but then the cooking process is way too simple and the final result is totally worth the effort.
This homely palong shaker ghonto is very minimally spiced with just turmeric powder and Bengali five spice i.e. panch phoron which is nothing but a mix of five whole spices – methi (fenugreek seeds), kalonji (onion seeds), jeera (cumin seeds), sarso (whole mustard) and saunf (fennel seeds). Panch phoron also sometimes contains a sixth spice called radhuni, which is a typical Benagli spice and I have no clue about its English/hindi name and it imparts a very distinct nutty flavor to the dish which I simply adore.
This recipe of palong shaker ghonto is a perfect amalgamation of freshness and flavors in the simplest way possible and resulting into something immensely delicious! If you are a Bengali and staying away from home and missing home food, then try this simple recipe of palong shaker ghonto as it is super easy to make and just flow with the nostalgia! Enjoy!
- Fresh spinach leaves – 4 bunches
- Aubergine – 2 small
- Radish – 2 small
- Mangetout – 7 to 8
- Potato – 1 medium
- Carrot – 2 small or Pumpkin – 200 gms
- Green chilli – 2
- Bengali five spice (Panch Foron) – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly in running water. Chop them roughly and keep aside.
- Cut the aubergine into half inch cubes.
- Cut the radish into small pieces. First cut lengthwise through the center. Now cut thin strips across the breadth.
- String the mangetout and cut them into half inch strips.
- Cut the potato into half inch cubes.
- Cut the carrot/pumpkin into half inch cubes.
- Heat oil in a wok and saute each vegetables separately (except potato cubes) and keep aside.
- Now heat oil in the same wok and add the five spice and green chilli.
- Add the potato cubes and saute till they are lightly browned.
- Add the chopped spinach leaves. Spinach leaves will leave out a lot of water.
- Add turmeric powder and saute till the spinach is almost soft.
- Now add all the sauteed vegetables and stir well. If the curry turns too dry, add a splash of water.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes till all the veggies mix well and cooked through.
- Dry up all the water and remove from heat.
- Serve the yummy palong shaker ghonto with plain white rice.