If you haven’t tried making this classic Bengali dish – Mochar Ghonto yet, don’t. The world is going to end in 2012 anyway. Its important you get to keep that French Manicure for a day or two, after all the money and time that was spent on nail art.
Sarcasm aside, Mocha and manicured fingernails don’t go together. Period.
But what goes with Mochar Ghonto is a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch with a spread of plain white rice and some Shorse Chingri.
The dish takes time, though the recipe (of my Mum) is pretty easy to execute. But there are a few simple rules to making the Mochar Ghonto:
- You ought to have a Mocha / Banana Blossom! I got mine from a Chinese grocery store
- Some soaked red gram
- Pieces of fresh coconut, to be grated and used as a garnish later
- A little bowl of mustard oil to lace your fingers, nails, knife and chopping board. The Banana Blossom releases a sap which turns anything in contact a tarnish black in color! The mustard oil helps if not prevents this completely!
- A big bowl of water, with a tablespoon of salt thrown in!
Banana Blossom/ Mocha
Quarter cup soaked red gram/lal chola
2 tablespoons grated fresh coconut
3-4 green chilies
2 tablespoons coriander powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour/maida
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Half teaspoon ginger paste
2 tablespoons ghee
2-3 bay leaves
Peel the bracts, or leaves, to expose the snugly enclosed, delicate, sweetly scented male flowers. Between the little flowers, you will see a hard, dark-colored, pistil-shaped stem. Remove these from each flower by snipping it off with your fingertips.
Drain the water and collect the cooked banana flowers and red gram in a colander. In a bowl, throw in the cooked banana flowers, all-purpose flower, ginger paste, red chili, coriander and turmeric powders. Season with salt and sugar. Mix well with your hands, almost mashing the mixture.
In a thick pan, heat ghee, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and slit green chilies. Sauté for a minute on medium heat. Add the banana flower and spice mixture and keep sautéing. The idea to dry up all the moisture and give the mixture a fried texture.
It should take about 10-15 minutes to finish the Mochar Ghonto. Once done, garnish with grated coconut. Your Mochar Ghonto is ready.
Finish your lunch and pick the phone to fix yourself an appointment with your manicurist!