Kolmi Shaker Ghonto (Water Spinach Mixed Vegetables)

Water spinach (known as kalmi saag in Hindi and kolmi shaak in Bengali) is a very tasty green. I was introduced to this green during my early days in Singapore where it was plentifully available. In those regions, it is called kangkong. It is also widely used in oriental cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this green in Delhi. But I also found very few people in North India who knew anything about this green. Hari told me that it very popular in his home state, West Bengal. I had taught Hari to prepare this in South Indian style as well as in a Vietnamese style. Recently, I had the urge to try something different with it. I therefore settled upon this wonderful Bengali dish – Kolmi Shaker Ghonto. And made a few alterations in the ingredients since I did not have some of them readily available. The end result was surprisingly lip-smacking!

1 bunch water spinach, washed and thick stems discarded
1 raw banana, chopped into big chunks (kachha kela, vazhakkai)
1 medium sized eggplant, chopped into big chunks (baingan, kathrikkai)
1 medium sized potato, chopped into big chunks (aloo, urulaikizhangu)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder, jeeraga podi)
2 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
1/2 tsp black pepper powder (kali mirch powder, kurumilagu podi)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp grated coconut
1 1/2 tbsp gun powder (dosai milagapodi)
To Temper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
Put the potato, eggplant and raw banana chunks into a pressure cooker
Cook for 1 whistle and let the steam release naturally
Set aside
Boil water in a large pan
When the water begins to boil, add the spinach and turn off the flame
Set aside for 15 minutes to let the spinach blanch
Strain and transfer to a large bowl
Add the cooked vegetables to this bowl
Let everything cool completely
Mash everything together, ensuring that there are no big chunks
Set aside
Heat a large wok and add bay leaf and cumin seeds
When the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add the mashed vegetables
Add salt and remaining spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper)
Stir fry for 15-20 minutes
Switch off flame and transfer to a serving bowl
Garnish with grated coconut and gun powder
Serve with red/brown rice or even Indian breads

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Regina says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Will certainly try it. I could have never thought of giving this twist to Kalmie Saag.


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