Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bengali Cooking: Seasons & Festivals

Bengali Cooking

By Chitrita Banerji

Published 1997

  • About

For those who are vegetarians and therefore forbidden shrimps, the lau-ghanto is a delightful alternative. Not that non-vegetarians abstain from eating it—it is a perennial favourite in our house during the heat of the summer, and it has the advantage of being easier to cook.


For Lau-ghanto, again, you need 750 g ( lbs) of lau (or any gourd substitute), peeled, chopped fine and steamed. All excess water should be pressed out. Grind enough coconut to make 4 tablespoons. Apart from this you need 120 g (4 oz) of green peas, 8-10 boris made of matar dal (kalai dal ones will do at a pinch), 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 dry red chillies, salt, sugar, oil, ghee and a little flour. First, the boris have to be fried in tablespoons of hot oil. They should be set aside and a phoron of red chillies, bay leaves and whole cumin should be added to the same oil. When they have darkened and the cumin stopped sputtering, I add the steamed lau, the peas, the ground coconut and cumin. All this is stirred thoroughly for four to five minutes. Then salt and sugar are added to taste and the boris crumbled and mixed into the vegetables. Once the lau is quite dry and the peas are tender, I add 2 teaspoons of flour and 2 teaspoons of ghee, mix them well into the vegetables, taste for salt and sugar and remove from the stove. Orthodox Bengali cooks will of course raise their eyebrows at peas and boris figuring together, but I quite like breaking conventions if it means variation and improvement in taste.