Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mocha and Manicure!

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.

IMG_0549IMG_0544 Mochar Ghonto is a great side to start a meal planned ahead of time. Maybe a week in advance! Okay, am just being a drama queen. But I hope you do get the drift…

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!

IMG_0508 Ingredients for Mochar Ghonto are:

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

IMG_0509 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.

IMG_0525 As you finish working on each flower, keep throwing them in a bowl. Once you have finished on the whole banana blossom, chop the flowers very finely and throw them in the bowl of salted water.

IMG_0526 IMG_0524 This should be left overnight. The next morning, preferably on a Sunday, drain the water. Cook the chopped banana flowers and soaked red gram in water till they are tender. Pressure cooking works.

IMG_0528 IMG_0532 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.

IMG_0535 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.

IMG_0537 IMG_0542 IMG_0541

Finish your lunch and pick the phone to fix yourself an appointment with your manicurist!


Patricia Torres said...

gosh.. thats a lot of hard work.. so am convinced it tastes yummm!!

Priya said...

Worth to try, beautiful dish..

tojo said...

an excellent effort pree!i thank thee on bended knees!
and i happen to have a half bottle pure ghani ka mustard oil stashed away for making mocha!

The knife said...

Mochar ghonto is my favourite dish. Only grannies can make it. Congrats on getting catapulted to that esteemed position Pree

Sudha said...

it is wonderful to see so many similarities between bengali and tamil kitchens...i loved this banana flower recipe as well :)

Pinku said...


though i agree a very very tough job...

notyet100 said...

this is new for me,..never tried anything with banana flowers,..

Jay said...

very healthy n tasty dish...loved your version n explanatory clicks...

PreeOccupied said...

Thank you all for your lovely words. It was the first time in my life I made the Mochar Ghonto. :-)

Satya said...

hey i love Bengali food n banana flower is my favorite ..i must try this dish ...healthy n yummy too ...thanks for sharing


Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Pree
Very well presented this traditional dish..I shall try your way which is slightly diff than the one I know. I use a bit of clove paste and it gives a unique flavor with jeera, bay leaf and coriander
Happy Janmastami