The quintessential Bengali recipe where all possible vegetables are mixed in the wok
Before I start, I would like to clear a misconception regarding the spelling of ‘Chochhori’ – it’s always Chochhori and not Chorchori (the term bongs use to term the Velcro strips in the shoes or bags). So it’s maacher matha diye chocchori and not maacher matha diye chorchori!
I had always seen Chocchori being cooked by my Maa when the vegetable stocks needed to be finished in order to refill the fridge rack with the fresh ones from the market. Now, when my Mother-in-law and I cook, we too, do the same. Infact, the nuances of chopping vegetables and greens for Chocchori and cook them perfectly is being taught to me by my Mother-in-law. Yes, I am still learning and yet to perfect the art.
Now, Chocchoris are of two kinds, with fish head and without fish head. When we put the ‘Maachher Matha’ (fish head) while preparing the Chocchori, the taste enhances to manifolds. Basically, a Chocchori is made to taste delicious by using the left-over raw cooking ingredients.
The ingredients we used last time to prepare the chochhori:
- The stem portions of Laal Shaak (Red Amaranth Greens), Raddish Greens, Cauliflower, Cabbage (You can also use spinach stems too)
- The Raddish Leaves
- Raddish (3 to 4)
- Potatoes (2)
- Wax Gourd (Potol) (4)
- Brinjal (1)
- Pumpkin (1/2)
- Maacher Matha (Fish head portion of any 1 fresh fish, we used Bhetki Fish)
- Garlic (3 pods, crushed)
- Turmeric Powder
- Mustard Oil
- Chilli Powder (½ tsp)
Process to prepare Maachher Matha Diye Chocchori
- Clean and thoroughly wash the fish head, smear some salt and turmeric. Keep aside.
- Chop all the vegetables into 2 ½ inch long and ½ inch wide pieces. Chop the greens into rough rectangles.
- Heat about 2 to 3 tbsp oil in a wok
- Put in the stem portions first. Sauté them for a minute.
- Next keep adding the vegetables in this order, – radishes, potatoes, wax gourd, pumpkin, brinjal.
- Keep stirring the vegetables and add the greens. Cover the lid. Keep the flame in simmer.
- Juice from the greens will start coming out. Stir gently and cover the lid.
- Add 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix in gently. Cover the lid again.
- Keep stirring and covering the lid when stirring is done till all the vegetables, stem portions and greens turn tender and the juices start to dry up.
- In another wok, heat 1tsp oil, add in the crushed garlic pods and fry the fish head portions.
- After frying them, add them into the vegetables and mix in.
- Turn off the flame after 2 minutes and keep a standing time of 10 minutes before serving hot with rice as the starter.
Its an age-old Bengali tradition to eat vegetables or fish preparation with vegetables as palate cleansers or starters. The chochhori just sets the tone right before you delve into Daals, Maacher Kaliya and the likes for a sumptuous Bengali lunch.