Author Notes: Back in Bengal where I grew up, every season is identified by its unique signature of vegetables and fruit. During spring and summer, a dish of steamed fresh vegetables, made aromatic with the addition of a minimal amount of spice and a touch of oil, is often the feature of a meal. It is called "bati chochchori" (the "ch" pronounced like the "cc" in cacciatore, but the double syllable puts a stress on it) bati is a bowl, chochchori is a vegetable dish with very little moisture.
One can make the dish in a matter of minutes, in the microwave, or a steamer, or a rice-cooker, or even in a double-boiler arrangement. The fact that you can add just about anything into the bowl, as long as it is quick-cooking, makes the dish very versatile.
This particular version has mustard, something you will enjoy if you like the bite of wasabi and horseradish. Be sure to season generously, it takes the edge off the mustard a bit. The combination of the sharpness of mustard with the heat of chili and the fresh, sweet vegetables will wake up your taste buds and cure any malaise that the winter had brought. —The Minimalist Indian
cups fresh tender vegetables and herbs
teaspoon mustard powder
teaspoons sunflower or any other neutral oil
teaspoon red chili flakes
tablespoon hot water
- If you can't get a hold of mustard powder, you can easily make some at home with your coffee grinder. Mix the mustard powder with the hot water and set aside while you proceed with the rest of the steps.
- I used a mixture of snow-peas, mushrooms and parsley. Other recommended vegetables would be sugar-snap peas, zucchini, baby carrots, corn, bell-peppers, scallions and herbs like cilantro. Cut the larger vegetables into batons and pick and chop the herbs, stalks and all. Quarter the mushrooms.
- In a large microwave-proof bowl, add the vegetables, pour over the mustard, oil, sprinkle the salt and chili. Mix well.
- Cover the bowl. I used a glass bowl and covered it with a plate. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are done to your liking.
- Stir well and enjoy with any grain of your choice.