Ghonto is a semi-thick veg preparation where veggies are mostly used in a mashed form and sometimes added to the portion of fishes mostly head. In this post, I will be sharing the recipe of Kochu Shak er Ghonto aka taro leaf mishmash. Kochu is known as Taro in English and popular as Arbi in Hindi. The stem of Taro is known as Kochu Shak (or Saag) in Bengali which is greenish-purple in color. Both Kochu and Kochu Shak are abundantly used in Bengali Cuisine.
The Ghonto Kobita by Prajnasundari Devi!
The famous Bengali food writer Prajnasundari Devi beautifully described Ghonto in her book Amish o Niramish Ranna.
নামেতে যেমন ঘন্ট, কাজেও তাহাই।
ঘন্ট রাঁধিতে অনেক মশলা চাই।
ফোড়নের মশলা তেজপাতা, হিং, জিরা।
ভুলোনাকো দিতে তাতে আদা এক গিরা।
দুধ, চিনি আরো জিরা মরিচ বাটা।
সাতলাবে শেষে ঘিয়ে , কর ঘাঁটা ঘাঁটা।
-Pragnasundari Devi (Amish o Niramish Ahar- 1st Part)
It means the name is self-explanatory when it comes to Ghonto. It takes several spices to make this. Bay leaf, asafoetida, whole cumin are must as tempering. Ginger paste is a must as well and so are milk, sugar, and a paste of cumin and green chili. Once the dish is ready; you must add ample of ghee and make it mashy.
My Kochu Shak er Ghonto Memories!
I still remember having Kochu Saag er Ghonto on the night of Ulto Rath in my mom’s ancestral place in Dhaniakhali, a village in Hooghly district of West Bengal as part of bhog of Thakur Madanmohon. There is a cute story linked with this Bhog Prasad of Kochur Shak er Ghonto. It was served to “Madanmohan Jeu” after returning home from his Aunt’s place on the occasion of Ulto Rath. Kochur Shak er Ghonto served as a punishment food by his angry partner Radharani!
I really don’t know why they treat Kochu Shak as food for punishing since it tastes awesome! Kochu Saager Ghonto is a vegetarian dish. We don’t cook it with Onion and garlic at home. However, Kochu Saag is prepared with the Head of Hilsa and or with medium-sized prawns and is very much popular among the Bangal community (People who are the descendant of Bangladesh) and that tastes heavenly as well. I will share the recipe of Kochu Saag with Fish for sure in future!
Kochu shager ghonto recipe options!
Coming to my attempt at making Kochu Shak er Ghonto, I found Kochu Shak in ample in the Bypass Market nearby my place. I was purchasing veggies day before yesterday and was not sure whether to purchase it. I am not much confident with the cutting process of Kochu but my Sabji Mashi (the aged lady from whom I purchase veggies) helped me with the cutting and chopping! She asked me to finish the rest of the shopping and took 15 minutes time to cut around 1 kg Kochu Shak!
I found 3 recipes of Vegetarian Kochu Shaker Ghonto in Pragnasundari Devi’s “Amish o Niramish Ahar” and then consulted with my Boudi (sister in law) who is of Bangal origin. Boudi makes amazing Kochu Saag mishmash. The only difference I found is the use of Chola Shedhho (boiled Black Chickpeas/ Kala Chana) which Boudi adds while making this dish and I too opted for it though not mentioned in the book.
In addition, Boudi has given a smart tip to add 1 Tbsp. of Tamarind Paste/ Vinegar while cooking since sometimes sore throat causes after having Kochu Saag (Taro Leaf) and that can be avoided by adding a souring agent while cooking it. Rest is nothing but some hassle-free cooking which ended on having Kochu Saag er Ghonto with Plain rice; a true Bengali Platter.
Here’s how I make Kochu Shaker Ghonto at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Taro Leaf (Kochu Saag): 1 Kg
- Black Chickpeas / Chola/ Kala Chana: ½ Cup (75g)
- Coconut: 1 (medium size)
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Green Chili: 3-4
- Milk: 1 Cup (150 ml)
- Whole Cumin Seed: 1 Tsp.
- Bay Leaf: 2
- Asafoetida: ½ Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Coriander Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 1 Tbsp. + 1 Tsp.
- Tamarind Paste: 1 Tbsp. (Optional)
- Soak Black Chickpeas overnight and boil those with ½ Tsp. of Salt in a pressure cooker.
- Put the vent weight and cook in medium flame until 3 whistles come out.
- Remove the lid when the pressure drops and check whether the Chickpeas are done properly.
- Cut Taro leaves into long strips after removing the outer layer.
- Grate Coconut using a manual or electric grater.
- Around ⅔ Cup of grated coconut required for this recipe.
- Make a paste of Green Chilies.
- Wash Kochu Saag or Taro Leaves properly and then take those in a deep bottom pan with ½ Tsp. of Salt.
- Start cooking on low flame by covering the pan with a lid.
- You don't need to add water while cooking.
- Kochu Shak will melt after around 10 minutes of cooking and will release sufficient water.
- Switch the flame off and let the boiled Saag cooled completely.
- Now discard water from Saag completely by squeezing the Saag.
- Take boiled Saag in a Bowl and add boiled milk, Turmeric Powder, ½ Tsp. salt, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, and Sugar.
- Mash the Saag using a masher properly.
- I have used my Potato masher for this step. If not available use your hand to mash the veggie.
- Take 1 Tbsp. of Ghee in a pan and heat it sufficiently.
- Temper the Ghee with Bay leaf, and Cumin Seed.
- Mix asafoetida with 1 Tbsp. of water and add the mixture to the tempering.
- Cook for 1 minute in high flame and add Green Chili Paste and also ginger paste to the tempering.
- Add mashed Saag mixture to the tempering and add boiled Black Chickpeas too.
- Add Tamarind paste at this stage (this is optional)
- Start cooking on low flame till water evaporates.
- Check spices and adjust if required.
- Finish the Ghonto by adding Grated Coconut and 1 Tsp. of Ghee.
- Serve Kochu Shak er Ghonto with Steamed Rice.
Adjust Ghee to restrict calorie content.
Chola aka small chickpea is optional as well.
Bengali vegetarian recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar:
- Bori Aloor Jhal ( also known as Bengali Bori’r Jhal)
- Lau Shaker Chorchori (also known as Bengali Vegetarian Mishmash with Bottle Gourd Greens)
- Katoya Data Chorchori (also known as Bengali Style Mix-veg with Drumsticks)
- Sada Aloo Chorchori (Also known as Bengali Aloo chorchori)
- Shukto (Also known as Bengali Shuktuni)
- Panch Mishali Tarkari (Also known as Bengali Panch MEshuli Tarkari)
- Dhokar Dalna (also known as Dhoka r Torkari)
- Aloo Phulkopir Dalna (Also known as Bengali Potato and Cauliflower curry)
- Rosogollar Dalna (Also known as Roshogolla r Torkari)
- Sheemer Jhal (also known as Bengali Shorshe Sheem or Broad Bean Curry with Mustard Paste)
- Narkel diye Cholar Dal (also known as Bengali Cholar Dal)
- Chanar Dalna (also known as Bengali Paneer and Potato Curry)
- Narkel diye Niramish Ghugni (Also known as Bengali No Onion No Garlic Ghugni or Yellow Peas Curry with Fried Coconut)
- Bengali Niramish Khichuri (Also known as Bhoger Khichuri or Bengali Khichuri)
- Gota Sheddho ( Also known as Bengali Gota Shiddho)
- Tok Dal (also known as Kancha Aam diye Toker Dal)
- Papor er Dalna (Also known as Bengali Papad Curry)
- Natun Aloor Dum (Also known as Bengali Niramish Aloor Dum)
Have you tried the Kochu Shaker Ghonto Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on email@example.com. On Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar or can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
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