Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Kumror Chenchki and a Cut Above the Rest

“Cut the kumro and the potato into thin matchsticks,” that was the instruction my Mother gave me over the call I had with her to brush up my Kumror Chenchki recipe.

Now, chefs and cooks all over the world will tell you that cuts in cooking matter. Those who say cut/chop any which way you want to, have no inkling how dicing is different from chopping, and chopping from slicing, and juliennes from slivers.

For each style of cutting and slicing, the world of vegetable weaponry has also contributed well.

96571612Some of which could even possibly feature in the top 10 most useless kitchen gadgets. Including a certain garlic peeler I have.

We Bengalis love to separate and categorize our vegetables by the different styles of cutting. The dalna will have diced vegetables, while the jhol should have them cut lengthwise. The alu bhaja ought to be little juliennes while the eggplant for beguni should be sliced thick, thick enough to be deep fried crisp. The lau for lau chingri should be kuchi kuchi, while the same lau which goes into making chholaar dal should be cubed!

While most of us now rely on our obedient kitchen knife, traditionally the bothi was the weapon of mass destruction in a Bengali kitchen. It could peel, dice, julienne, slice, shred, roll cut, parallel slice, you name it!

That ubiquitous bothi stayed on the cutting edge for many generations. The last to use it in our family is of course my Mother, who would peel the paka kumro with it first, then cut thick slices of it to cut into think matchsticks for the Kumror Chenchki. Next the potato was angled in a way that even peeling it with eyes shut seemed doable. From a long distance only.

I did not inherit bothi workmanship from my Mother. So I think I am more like my Father, who couldn’t do fine things. Except for the times when he was taking a catch in fine leg. He was a fine cricketer in the 1970s, who went on to captain his University and play Ranji Tropy matches. The story is that he used to go my Mother’s home (before they got married) to eat Luchi and Kumror Chenchi cooked my by Mother’s Grandmother.

Ingredients for Kumror Chenchki are:

250 grams paka kumro/ pumpkin
2 medium size potatoes
4-5 green chilies, slit
4-5 whole dry red chilies
2-3 tablespoons mustard or Canola oil

IMG_1922 Peel the skin of the pumpkin, and cut it into matchstick shapes. Do the same with the potatoes too.
 IMG_1924 IMG_1927 Mine of course were far from being “matchstick-like”. But this really is my upper limit. Pushing me further would have resulted in a chenchki disaster and a very teary-eyed 30-something.

IMG_1925 Heat oil in a wok, add the green and dry red chilies. Let them pop and splutter for a few seconds. IMG_1926 IMG_1928 Add the pumpkin and potatoes, season with sugar and salt. Mix well, cover and cook till the vegetables are tender.


IMG_1932My kumro cooked in pretty much no time. It was a tad too paka for a chenchki, so when you pick your pumpkin, make sure you don’t use an over-ripe one.

I served my Kumror Chenchki with Phulko Luchi. Something which would make a great breakfast for Mahalaya.
IMG_1934IMG_1933What is your most useful and your most useless kitchen gadget?


Anonymous said...

what a funny write up..my kitchen is full of such useless gadgets too...and I own a lemon zester which can give one big time competition to your garlic peeler!!!
what fluffy lucchis u have made...perfect! I never had pumpkin & potatoes in a same dish though kaddu & sukhe aalo are best companions of my pooris all the time :)

GB said...

luchi---i want now. you temptress and wreck-er of diets!

(PS: giveaway on my blog. pliss to enter).

Kamini said...

Ha ha fun to read as always! Most useful gadget in my kitchen, believe it or not is my garlic press/slicer, since I put garlic in just about everything, I use it every day! And the most useless has got to be the citrus peeler thingy...have NEVER used it!

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

Loved your kumror chenchki with fulko luchi...:)

sangeeta said...

Interesting post ... loved this chenchki . I love pumpkin n have posted many recipes , this one can be the next :)

About kitchen tools n pans , i am a hoarder , don't want to start on that.

Sayantani said...

I dont buy things unless am sure that I will use it. am very frugal in these matters and also an rented place doesn't offer you much space to store all these. most used gadget is obviously my mixie and knives. am lost without them.

luchi durdharsho hoeche. amar alu charchari die luchi khete bhishon bhalo lage. Mahalaya'te amadero ei menu. kumro chenchki khub sundor hoeche Pree.

Priya said...

Funny even my kitchen is filled with many useless gadgets..Beautiful dish, fluffy lucchis makes me drool..

Sulagna said...

Dekhei khide peye gelo :)Ki bhalo lage Luchi aar Kumror Chechki !!

aipi said...

Nice little writeup... enjoyed the read... my hand blender is actually so frequently used, I don't even bother putting it back on its rack :) the least used is definitely my egg separator... i tend to use my fingers rather than bother to fish it out of the drawer..
The perfectly puuffed up luchis with chenchki looks mouthwateringly delicious !

US Masala

Silence Sings said...

When it comes to kitchen gadgets I am too liberal to grab any.....so my kitchen can be got more featured by gadgets rather than any other things....kumro chenki looks too tempting....

Satrupa said...

I am quite picky when buying gadgets ....... I will not buy it just coz it's fancy.
We too prepare the same thing in Odisha. I luv it with paratha or puri. I am planning to prepare this soon.

Cheers n Happy Cooking,


Santosh Bangar said...

looking beautiful and temting
ist time here nice rcipesvisit my blog or folloe if like

Anonymous said...

I'll take a picture of some of my favorite gadgets very soon...some amazing TFal pans and a blender....Also, this tiny, angled porcelain baking plate, with grooves, so that the juices run off into a small central drain...

sulagna ™ said...

hey mahalaya kaalke in India..i am going to be up at 4 listening to this and now you have left me smiling cuz i know the mahalaya breakfast will be special too :) thank you **hugs**

sulagna ™ said...

achaaa about usefull tool..almost like my weapon is the pestel and mortar..sadly i dont have the sheel nora here in Pune with me..and the most useless would be...i think its been ages since i have used the coffee maker at home !

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Biny Anoop said...

Kumror Chenchki loking good.....the write up on kitchen app is good to.....i too have a few but do try to use it somehow to avoid the guilt of having bought it......

Biny Anoop said...

hi, i did try the kumro chenchki....came out good...tasted like potato ki bhaji...i added sme chilli powder though.