Mother’s recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Sarika shares an ethnic Bengali dish, the secret of making Kachu saag – just the way her mother does. It is time consuming but the effort is worth it, says the author.
I am a huge fan of leafy greens aka saag, since my childhood. To be precise I became aware and awake about the bong food and importance of leafy greens, only after stepping away from my home. So every year when I visit my parents –they live in Assam, my maa prepare different varieties of saag and vegetables for me with lots of love and care. You must be raised your brows why only vegetables? The reason is I am a self-chosen vegetarian. However maa herself is not a very fond of leafy greens. But I am my father’s dotty at least in this case.
Assam is saga of extreme mystery in the northeast of India, gifted with high potential resources by the nature. It is a land of hills and rivers and also organic leafy vegetables. We all know the fact that Leafy green plays one of the important part in Indian cuisine.
My favourite leafy vegetables are:
Spinach (known as palak)
Malabar spinach (poi saag)
Fenugreek leaves (methi saag)
Water spinach (kalmi saag)
Pea leaves (mator saag)
Mustard greens (sarsoon ka saag)
Edible fern (Dhekia saag).
And my ultimate favourite is Colocacia/taro leaves (Kachu saag).
I am going to share the recipe of vegan kachu saag, which I inherited from my maa (mother)
This recipe is prepared both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian, however, the latter happens very rarely. My husband is very scared of this saag, as it might cause bit irritation sometime. This is a time consuming dish, even cleaning and chopping needs a lot of time.
Mom’s Technique (to clean)
First, wipe these with a wet cloth.
Next, smear mustard oil on palms.
Then, peel and chop.
Finally, wash these properly.
It is a pure vegan dish even without onion and garlic.
Kachu saag er ghonto
Cuisine: Ethnic Bengali Type: Side Dish
Kachu saag/Taro leaves (1 kg)
Green chilli- 4 to 5
Milk- ½ cup
Whole red chilli– 3
Whole cumin seed- 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Taro leaves to be cut into long strips, and separate the outer layer.
Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil in a pressure cooker.
Cook those leaves with bit of salt in a low flame and cover the pan. No water to be added while
cooking the leaves.
Switch the flame off after 20 minutes and let the boiled leaves cool down.
Strain the water, which the leaves release during cooking.
Separate the leaves in a bowl and add milk, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, sugar,
salt (added it before also, so be careful) and mix them properly.
Take a table spoon of ghee in a pan and heat it.
Temper the ghee with bay leaf, cumin seeds and red whole chill.
Add green chilli paste and after that add mashed saag mixture and boiled chickpeas.
Cook in low flame until water evaporates.
Now, add grated coconut and tsp of ghee.
Serve this with steamed rice with dribble of ghee/clarified butter.
Pix by author.