This is a recipe from Soma Kundu’s kitchen. The photograph is courtesy Saptarshi Chakraborty who very kindly took the picture during the Chotomaach Potluck with The Locavore and Sienna Store & Café in Kolkata.
Introduction to the recipe – Soma’s son adores eating tel chocchori and in spite of being a chef and a vocal critic of her cooking, can never get enough of this one plate. Luckily for both parties here, this dish comes together with very little effort. What is needed is a bit of patience to have this simmer for two hours or so. The richness means there’s very little you need with it outside of a neutral, short grained rice varietal. Soma’s son prefers having nothing else when it’s tel chocchori day, but some dal wouldn’t be a bad idea. Offal of any kind is often rejected, but quite often it is what imparts the maximum flavour and that is what this chocchori celebrates.
|String Beans (optional)
|Pointed Gourd (optional)
What You Will Need
Kadai with lid, Spatula, Spoons to taste
Cut all vegetables into rough cubes of a similar size and keep separately. They have to go in at different times. Slit green chilis.
Heat mustard oil in the kadhai over gentle heat and add turmeric to it. Add the fish offal to the oil and put the gas on the most gentle simmer. The fat will slowly render out.
Once most of the fat has rendered, add the pumpkin, the potatoes, stir a bit to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the kadai and cover with a lid. This will give your final dish it’s body. Add a little salt.
After the pumpkin has softened a little add the gourd, the brinjal, stir again and cover. Keep it on a gentle simmer. Once all your vegetables are softened, add the beans, chill, a little more salt and cook through.
Taste and adjust salt, sugar and chilis. It should taste rich and fatty and have enough sweetness from the pumpkin. This is normally seasoned a little lightly in our house, but feel free to push salt as much as you feel is okay.
The fish offal should have a good mix of fish intestines, liver and fat. A large carp is always better. We always use catla. Try to get them as fresh as possible. A bit more fat will give you a richer result. Too much will make it very heavy. It’s a preference thing. If you aren’t using all the optional vegetables, bump up the quantities of the others a bit. Also don’t be tempted to add any water while cooking. The vegetables have enough in them and with salt they’ll all aid the cooking. This is a very, very simple plate of food. You’re heavily reliant on patience and good quality ingredients.
We’ve done a version with very, very fatty mutton keema. It’s not our go-to dish, since anything with fish is always preferred in our household, but it is a possibility. In that case there is the addition of garlic as well.
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