My Mother was brought up by her Grandmother. Mum called her “Didumoni”. The next generation of kids called her “Nani”. The rest of the world called her “Maiji”.
Nani always wore a white tanter sari with black or navy blue border, a thick gold chain around her wrinkled neck, two gold bangles, one in each blissfully fair arm, the blue veins of which had started showing by the time I was a pre-teen, and the house keys in a silver keychain tightly gripped in her trembling but strong hands. I remember Nani always on her wheelchair. She passed on when she was 94.
Having a great grand mother living in the same city as we did meant I got to see a lot of Bengali traditions growing up. Like this Alu Chorchori which when literally translated means a potato mishmash! The Alu Chorchori was always cooked in an aluminum karahi (wok) in Nani’s home, and served in a Kansa bowl. I don’t have a Kansa bowl here, but what I do have is a virgin aluminum kodai which is good for any slow cooking because of its heavy base.
My Mum carried forward a lot of traditional recipes she learnt from her Grandmother, and since then passed them on to my little sister and me. Though I cannot vouch for my sister’s cooking! Last I know, she had ordered pizza for dinner.
This Alu Chorchori was made in our home on a lazy Sunday morning when all of us had the time and the tummy to eat it with Phulko Luchi and some Sandesh. By the time we finished breakfast, Mum would already be prepping up for a Mishti Pulao and Mangsho lunch. Those were the days…
And this is a night. When the husband and I return from work, and I am left to wonder what’d be for dinner. He has more important things to worry about - like why Pepe got the red card in yesterday’s Real Madrid Vs. Barca game.
Ingredients for Shada Alur Chorchori with Koraishuti are:
4-5 medium size white potatoes
1 cup green peas
3-4 green chilies
1 teaspoon Nigella seeds
3-4 tablespoons mustard oil
Halve the potatoes and cut them into thick slices. Slit the green chilies. Heat the mustard oil in a thick bottom pan. Add the Nigella seeds and the green chilies in no particular order. Let them sauté for a minute before you add the sliced potatoes.
I used frozen peas tonight, but if you can get fresh green peas, please use that.
Add the green peas to the sautéing potatoes and give it a good stir. Season with salt, reduce the heat and cover for 2-3 minutes.
Uncover and add a cup of water. Crank up the heat and cook the potatoes till they are done. Its okay to overcook a chorchori.
Enjoy Nani’s Shada Alu and Green Peas Chorchori with some hot, fluffy Luchi and Mishti any time of the day. Or night.