‘Neem Jhol’ is a light mixed vegetable stew with the goodness of ‘Neem Pata’ or or young Neem leaves. This is a must in my household during Spring as part of weekend lunch. Young Neem leaves play a significant role in Bengal cuisine during this time of the season as it is known to have many medicinal benefits and handles the evils of season change. The light stew will also essentially contain ‘Sojne Data’ or moringa or drumstick, another healthy veggies to tackle the season change nuisances along with Bori or dry lentil balls. The dish will have a bitter sweet taste with a rich aroma of Ghee or clarified butter. Best enjoyed as the first course of meal with plain white rice.
- Brinjal -1
- Green Papaya – 1/2
- Sweet potato – 4
- Sojne data or drumstick – 100 gm
- Bori or dried lentil balls – 1 small bowl
- Tender Neem leaves – 1/2 bowl
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Mustard paste – 1 heaped tbsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp, bay leaf – 2-3
- Salt, sugar
Cut all the vegetables in approximately same size and saute them with a pinch of salt in white oil. Keep aside.
Lightly saute the bori in little oil till golden brown and keep aside.
In a bowl, mix cumin and coriander powder, ginger paste and mustard paste. Add a cup of water and mix well.
In a deep pan or karai, heat the ghee and add two three bay leaves. Now add the masala water and let it boil.
Add the sauteed veggies into it and cook covered over low heat.
When water is reduced and veggies cooked well, add the fried neem leaves and give it a good stir. Check the salt. Next goes the sugar. Switch off the heat and add a good dollop of ghee at the end. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Enjoy with hot rice.