By Nandini Bhushan*
From Vat Savitri to Chhath Puja, and from humble litti chokha to the traditional dal pitha, Bihar is blessed with all the flavour and spirit of pomp and splendor. Eddie Kennyson rightly said, “when opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go after it.” In these columns I shall not only be telling something about my native state Bihar through the window of its festival and food, but shall also offer the recipe so that one can try it oneself.
Bihari cuisine, I believe deserves its long overdue credit, as it is one of the most unexplored and under rated food today despite being full of flavours and among the most palatable cuisines. In today’s world of marketing and flamboyance, we seriously need a makeover of the sumptuous Bihari food to find its rightful niche in the gastronomical world. We need to present our recipe to the global audience, and being a food enthusiast myself, it is my humble attempt to present a traditional Bihari food with an interesting variation.
Parwal ka chokha
A typical Bihari thali would remain incomplete without the staple bharta or chokha along with the regular meal of chawal, dal or even roti or paratha. Parwal or pointed gourd is a nutritious seasonal vegetable and moreover low in fat and high on nutrition on a health metre. The spicy and tangy flavour of this unusual side dish Parwal ka chokha is a perfect recipe for those days when you wish to spend less time in the kitchen.
Parwal : 250 gm
Garlic : 6 to 8 pod
Onion : 1 small
Green chilli : 2
Lemon juice : ½ tsp
Mustard oil : 2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Cut the tip and bottom of the Parwal and scrape the peel with the help of a knife.
In a pressure cooker add a tsp of oil and place the Parwal on it and give it a toss for a couple of seconds. Sprinkle a few droplets of water and pressure cook for one whistle.
Once the Parwal is soft and tender, take it out and mash it like a bharta with the help of a masher.
In a mixing bowl transfer the mashed Parwal and add the chopped garlic, green chillies, diced onion, lemon juice, salt and mustard oil. Give it all a good mix and the healthy and yummy Parwal ka bharta is ready.
*Nandini Bhushan is a well-known food blogger