Like I had written in my previous post on pui shaaker chorchori, Bengali recipe names are often based on their cooking techniques. And some of the names are quite funny too. Bandhakopir ghonto is one such funny name. I mean, why ‘ghonto’? I have always asked this question to many without any specific answer. A chorchori and a ghonto are both stir-fries. However, there is a basic difference between the two.
Chorchori always has two or more vegetables, whereas, ghonto has primarily one vegetable. Nowadays, we add potatoes to many ghontos just to increase the volume. Also, the difference lies in the kind of vegetables used. Ghonto is generally for vegetables that do not become mush. Most of them hold their shape well.
Bandhakopir ghonto and how is it eaten
Every region has some form of cabbage stir-fry and I have eaten so many of them. However, I may sound biased but our Bengali style of bandhakopi’r ghonto tastes the best. It is cooked with minimal spices. The primary fragrance comes from whole garam masala. Nowadays, we add tomatoes to bandhakopir ghonto. But traditionally, tomatoes were rarely used. Ghee and ginger paste plays a major role too.
Bandhakopir ghonto is usually eaten with rice. Having said that, it is a perfect combination with roti or phulka on cold wintery nights. With our bhog’er khichuri, bandhakopir ghonto is often a side dish. It is a brilliant combination after labra. The secret to a good ghonto is slow cooking over a long period of time.
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Bandhakopir ghonto | Bengali style cabbage stir-fry
- 1 medium-seized cabbage
- 1 no potato optional
- 1 no tomato
- 1 dried bayleaf
- 2 dried red chilies
- 2 nos green cardamom
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 3 nos cloves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ cup green peas
- 1 ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp Bengali garam masala powder
- 2 tsp ghee
- 1 ½ tbsp mustard oil
- 2-3 nos green chilies
- salt to taste
- Discard the outer leaf of the cabbage and cut the cabbage into segments. Then finely shred each segment into thin strips.
- Take a colander and thoroughly wash the cabbage and leave it in the colander for the water to completely drain out.
- Peel the potato and cut it into one-inch cubes. Wash them under running water.
- In a wok, heat mustard oil and add dried bayleaf. Then add the dried red chilies, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves one after the other. Once they have browned, add the cumin seeds.
- Cumin seeds brown very fast. So keep the heat in check and add the cubed potatoes to this
- Fry the potatoes on medium to low heat for half a minute and then cover and let the potatoes fry on low heat for two to three more minutes.
- Take grated ginger in a bowl. Add the spice powders to this and make a paste with a little water.
- Add this spice paste to the potatoes. Stir over medium heat for a few seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes. Give everything a good mix and cover and let the tomatoes cook.
- After a couple of minutes, add the green peas. Stir and again cover.
- After about five minutes, add the shredded cabbage. Don't be overwhelmed by the quantity and even though it looks like a lot, cabbage will reduce in quantity as it cooks.
- Sprinkle very little salt (it's difficult to understand the quantity of salt at this stage). Give it a mix and cover this and lower the heat. Let the cabbage slowly cook in its own moisture along with the tomatoes and potatoes.
- Every once in a while, uncover and give it a stir. Then again cover and let the cabbage cook.
- Once the cabbage has been reduced and cooked very well, sprinkle sugar and adjust the salt.
- Finally, sprinkle Bengali garam masala, ghee and finish with some split green chilies.
- Serve with rice, roti or with khichuri.