Just like many of us, I am also a hoarder of recipe books and I have plenty of them. However, one or two will always become your favourite and I am no exception. One of such book is This ‘Amish O Niramish Ahaar’ by Pragyasundori Devi. She is from the famous ‘Thakur Family ‘ of Bengal, yes, you are right, the great ‘Rabindranath Thakur’ was her uncle and her cookbooks are a treasure to keep, specially if you are a Bong food lover.
‘Chyachra’ in Bengali is kind of a mishmash of different kinds of vegetables cooked together with some kind of fish parts added to it. Mostly it is the fish head, or the tail portion of a fish. You will find prawns as well. The taste of Chyachra depends on the kind of vegetable you are using and the mishmash results in an ultimate pleasure to a bong pallette.
I have used Hilsa fish head to prepare this dish, you may use Katla or rohu fish as well.
- Hilsa fish head – 2,
- Puishak / Malabar Spinach – a bundle
- Pumpkin – a quarter, cut into cubes
- Bringal – 1, cut into cubes
- Bori / Lentil dumplings – 10-12
- Ginger paste, green chilli and Mustard paste – 1 tbsp each
- Panchforon – Bengali five spices – 1/2 tsp
- Bayleaf, whole red chilli
- Salt, Turmeric, a pinch of sugar
- Mustard oil
Fry the fish heads with pinch of salt and turmeric and keep aside. Fry the bori till brown and keep aside.
In the same oil, add the panch foron, bayleaf and whole red chilli. Let it splutter.
Now add the vegetables and stir on high heat. Add salt and turmeric and cook covered. Water will come out of the vegetables and vegetables will get cooked in its own juice.
When vegetables are almost cooked and most of the waters are absobed, add the ground malasas.
Give it a good stir and continue cooking on low heat for 5 more minutes. Now add the fried bori.
Adjust the seasoning , add the pinch of sugar to balance the taste and you are done.
I have kep a bit of gravy because we love to have it with rice. You may make it drier and serve as an accompaniment to rice and dal.