Chorchoris are sometimes referred to as the Bengali analogues of Chinese stir-fries but they’re not exactly the same thing. Vegetables are fried in in a hot pan with spices but after water (or some other moist ingredient) is added the cooking is finished without much further stirring, letting the bottom layer crisp up a bit. The final dish is mostly dry (no gravy/sauce). That’s the general rule anyway. When I’m cooking cabbage in this general way I don’t let it get too tender as I like my cabbage to be a little crunchy. Anyway, it’s a very simple dish and you can cook other vegetables in much the same way (pumpkin, cauliflower etc.) or in combination. And you can also add some diced potatoes and even some small shrimp to this cabbage version.
- 1 cabbage (about 2 lbs before coring and removing the outer layers), sliced roughly
- 3-5 dried red chillies
- 1-2 small dried cassia leaves/tej patta
- 2-3 cloves
- 1 small piece cassia bark/cinnamon
- 3/4 tspn panch phoron
- 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
- 1/2 tspn mild chilli powder
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 pinch sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 pinch bhaja moshla or garam masala
- Vegetable oil (preferably mustard oil)
- Heat the oil and add the dried red chillies, cassia leaves, cloves and cassia bark.
- After about 30 seconds, once the chillies have begun to darken slightly and the spices are fragrant, add the panch phoron seeds and tilt the pan to let them get coated in the hot oil.
- Before the seeds start popping (about another 30 seconds or so) add the onions and stir-fry over medium heat till they just begin to wilt.
- Add the cabbage, turmeric, chilli powder, sugar and salt and stir-fry till the cabbage has begun to wilt as well.
- Add the tomatoes and mix in completely. Stir-fry a little bit longer till the tomatoes have begun to break up.
- Cook till the tomatoes have completely disintegrated and the moisture released by them and the cabbage has almost completely dried up and is cooked to your preferred consistency.
- Garnish with a pinch of bhaja moshla and eat with rice and dal.
- This is not intended to be a very hot dish. The heat comes from the whole dried peppers; I use mild Kashmiri chilli powder more for colour than heat.
- As always, the use of tomatoes is probably non-canonical. I had some I needed to use up and so added them.
- If using potatoes (1-2 small ones, peeled and diced) you’d add them before the cabbage and let them crisp up a bit first.