Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Diwali Special : Chachar Pachar

Many Indian families follow the tradition of making a dish with 5, 7 or even 9 vegetables on Diwali. I guess it's a way to make sure you eat something healthy in the middle of all the sweets and treats. I started following my in-law's tradition of making chachar-pachar, a dish with 7 vegetables after I got married, but this is the first year I didn't end up with too big a pot. Also, each one was cooked perfectly. The key was to keep the vegetable pieces slightly on the bigger side, and of course, timing them correctly. Here's what I did.
Peel and dice 1 big yukon gold potato, 1 red-skinned, indian style, white flesh, medium sweet potato and 1 big carrot into about 1 inch cubes, keep in water until ready to cook. Peel a big block of Dudhi (Lauki) and dice into 1 inch cubes. Peel 4-5 Parwal (the small, oblong, watermelon like looking vegetable) completely and cut into half. Cut 4-5 baby eggplants into 4 pieces each. Wipe, dry and then cut Okra into about 2 or 3 pieces each (bigger than usual). Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, after they crackle, add a big pinch of aesoftida (hing), and add potato, sweet potato and carrots. Saute for about 5-6 minutes (this step is important). Now add the egpplants and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the doodhi and parwal and saute for 3-4 minutes. Now add haldi, tikhi mirch, lal mirch, Dhana jeera powder (fresh is better), lots of amchur, and a pinch of Sindhi garam masala. Bhuno again for about a minute. Add salt and some water (L. wanted more water - for next time). Cover, and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes. For Okra, I cheated a little bit. Toss the okra with just a little bit of oil, place in a bowl, cover and microwave for 2 mins. Add it to the vegetable in the end. This will alleviate the problem of slime in the entire dish to a good extent. Serve with Hot pooris. Happy Diwali!

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