When I cook things like this shim bhorta here, it has to be for something special. I am a true Bong at heart but that said, I have been living in the US for almost 12 years now, so as much as I love to go back to my roots, my immediate environment also heavily influences me. And so most days especially weekdays, dinner may be a bbq chicken salad or a big pot of soup and some crusty bread. Mmmm, delicious!
And it’s not just food; it is true for every bit of our lifestyle. We are the generation, which got to enjoy the best of both worlds. And I hope that my daughter too gets to do the same. I hope she has the same appreciation for the Bong way of life.
My ancestors were originally settled in Bangladesh. You may know already from here. A lot of the food that we eat at home shows significant Bangladeshi influence. For example, excessive use of coconuts. My grandma had a “bharar ghor” which was essentially her pantry. She would stock everything there and there was a small bed in there. Underneath the bed, at any given day, you would find at least 10-15 unhusked coconuts freshly picked from trees. She would forage leaves, roots and stems from the kitchen garden and have a delicious little sauted dish or curry with some generous usage of scraped coconut cooked for her big family of 24 members.
A little chechki here or a chochhori there using leftover peels or vines from her garden were a daily affair. And speaking of vines, she had a compost bin and she would have a pumpkin, a snow peas (Shim), a French bean growing out of it most of the times.
Truth be told, this Shim Bhorta was not something she made. But she often made a shim chechki with tons of coconut. Being on Instagram and following many communities around Bengali food, I was attracted to this dish. My in-laws and Mom are visiting and now the focus being Bengali food, hence I went for this shim bhorta. And everyone just loved it.
You may also love the recipes below:
- Snowpeas ( Shim) – 1 ½ pounds, thinly cut
- Onion – ½ cup, chopped
- Garlic – 3 cloves, finely chopped
- Nigella Seeds – 1 tsp
- Salt – To Taste
- Sugar – To Taste
- Coconut – ¾ cup, scraped
- Green Chilies – 3
- Mustard Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard Oil – 1 tbsp
- Nigella Seeds – ½ tsp
- Green Chilies – 2
- Garlic – 1 clove, finely chopped
- In a pan, heat oil and add the nigella seeds and let it sputter.
- Add the garlic and let it get fragrant.
- Throw in the onions and fry till they look translucent.
- Add the snowpeas or shim and stir for a good 3-4 mins.
- Add the coconut and further sauté the mixture for another 3-4 mins over medium flame.
- Add salt and sugar to taste.
- Cook the peas covered over the lowest heat for 10 mins.
- Remove from heat and let it cool completely. It takes about 10-15 mins.
- Now make a paste of the cooked peas and chilies in a blender. Throw in a little water if required to make a fine paste.
- Once the paste is ready, keep aside.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of mustard oil.
- Throw in the nigella seeds, chopped garlic and chilies in quick succession. Wait for it to get fragrant.
- Add the cooked paste made from beans and sauté till most of the moisture is absorbed. This takes about 6-8 mins.
- Once done, remove from heat and serve along side white rice.