What happened on a better note after marriage to a girl who is fond of cooking? She started exploring a different version of food in both the places 🙂 …and what happened if that girl is married to a person from different faith? Well both of them respect each other’s faith and one started learning different cooking processes followed in both the families and other started eating each and every dish prepared by another 😛 . You must be wondering why I am doing an analysis of marriage instead of writing about Lal Sag Bhaja! I do have a reason for this (like every time) and obviously, I am going to write it and you, my beloved reader is going to read it.
So my friend, I have started with the cooking process followed by both the families because I found there is sometimes difference in the use of spices or ingredients in a same dish in both the families and this is not only applicable to two different religion but this difference is quite wide in Bong food prepared by people with different origin and here I am referring to Bangal and Ghoti. Coming to my two families, and to be precise to cooking of Shag ( Green leafy vegetable), I found in my parent’s place Onion and garlic is added while cooking only if fish is added to Shag but in my in law’s place, they love to add little onion and/or garlic while cooking Shag.
Taste wise both the versions are equally good but I somehow love to add little garlic while making Laal Shag Bhaja which is a complete no no by my mother. So the choice is simple, either to add garlic or not to add it while making Laal Shag Bhaja. On a short and crisp note, Laal Shag Bhaja is a vegetarian dish prepared with Red Amaranth Leaves which is known as Red Spinach as well (Thotakura in Telugu, Tambdi Bhaji in Marathi, Cholai in Hindi and Hin Choy in Chinese).
Now that winter is knocking our door not only with the pleasant weather but with a variety of veggies, fruits as well. I found Laal Shag or Red Amaranth in abundant in Garia Patuli Market and picked a fresh bunch of Laal Shag. Making Laal Shag Bhaja or stir-fried Red Amaranth is actually very easy. We Bongs serve Shag as the first item along with steamed rice followed by other dishes and it is treated as a bongly starter.
Coming to the process of making Laal Shag Bhaja, you just need very few ingredients to make it. Along with Red Amaranth some Poppy seed, dried red chili, some garlic and whole Peanuts to give the dish a perfect crunch! Rest is nothing but few minutes of stir-frying and you are done! Next is to grab some steamed rice along with Shag Bhaja followed by some other dishes and a sweet extended sleep!
- Serves: 1 medium size Bowl
- Serving size: 2-3 People
- Laal Shag/ Red Amaranth Leaves / Red Spinach: 1 Bunch
- Poppy seed: ½ Tbsp.
- Peanut: 30-40 (handful)
- Dry Red Chili: 1-2
- Garlic Clove: 3-4
- Salt: ½ Tsp.
- Mustard Oil: 1 Tbsp.
- Wash Laal Shag thoroughly under running water. I prefer to wash it 3-4 times before cooking.
- Chop the leaves roughly and take Shag in a microvan safe bowl and cook it for 1 minute in High. If not available with a Microwave oven, then just put Shag in a bowl of boiled water for 5 minutes and drain water completely after that and use it.
- Take Oil in a deep bottom pan and heat properly.
- Fry Whole Peanuts for 2 minutes in medium flame and strain from the oil.
- Temper remaining Oil with dried Red Chili and Poppy Seed and cook in medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Add freshly crushed Garlic and give the tempering a thorough mix and add chopped Red Amaranth to the tempering.
- At this point add salt and fried Peanuts too and give the Shag a proper mix using a spatula.
- You will see water coming from the Shag after 1-2 minutes.
- Now cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes and check in between whether water evaporated or not.
- Open the lid and stir continuously for 2 more minutes or till the Shag dried completely.
- Take stir fried Laal Shag Bhaja out in a bowl and serve hot with steamed rice.
Few more vegeterian recipes apart from Laal Shag Bhaja from Debjanir Rannaghar: