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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Panch Phoron Taarkari

Indian State: Tripura
Capital City: Agartala
Official languages: Kokborok & Bengali
Dominant ethnic groups: Bengali, Manipuris, Tripuris, Jamatia and others
Chief crop: Rice
Name: The name "Tripura" have variants like Twipra, Tuipura and Tippera. One of the suggestions is that the name "Tripura" may have come from two Kokborok words - "Tui" and "Pra" which mean water and near respectively, referring to the boundaries of the region that were once extended to the Bay of Bengal.

I found an interesting link here about northeast Indian tribes, while searching online for the region's cooking. Check it out if you are interested.

Now lets move to the last northeast Indian state left in this marathon, the state of Tripura. My assumption that Northeastern Indian cuisine is relatively unknown among other Indian regions got strengthened when I went scouring for recipes online and in Indian cookbooks. Surprisingly, there are not many bloggers who are native to the region that can share authentic local cuisine, especially the vegetarian stuff. I already knew that the people from the region are predominantly non vegetarian but my notion that vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism go hand in hand in most of the Indian states was proved wrong as I kept learning more and more about their cuisine for this marathon. It was shocking to note that the native tribes of most of the regions consume anything that once walked, crawled or flew. As the rest of the Indian states use spices in their dishes, their recipes tend to add fish / meat in even vegetarian dishes. 
Keeping that aside, the vegetables and the ingredients used in their cooking are pretty much available only locally. For some states, I could only get the names of the dishes rather than the recipes itself . They all seemed so alien and it was hard to guess what went into them. And so even though I am not a great planner when it comes to these cooking marathons, I searched for recipes and finished cooking for 5 of the northeastern states well in advance and bookmarked for the rest. 
This panch phoron taarkari - a simple and tasty vegetable preparation using the panch phoron mix was one of them. Taarkari means vegetables and panch phoron mix being a whole spice blend using five ingredients - mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds. The mix is typically used in east Indian cuisine and since ethnic majority of Tripura happens to be Bengalis, I thought this dish would be more suited to Tripura post. Even though it sounds cliched, I must admit that I had zero expectations when I cooked this but surprisingly it turned out very yummy. I liked manipuri khichdi and this curry the most among the northeast Indian cooking I have tried during this marathon. 
1 - 2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 dry red chillies, broken into bits
2 bay leaves
2 green chillies, chopped
1 cup peeled and cubed pumpkin 
2 potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 brinjal - cubed
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
2 tbsp milk
* Heat oil in pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves and red chillies. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add green chillies and saute for about 20 seconds.
* Next add the vegetables, sugar, salt and turmeric to the pan and mix thoroughly with a spatula.
* The recipe said to add enough water and milk at this stage to cook the vegetables but I didn't find the need to add any. I cooked the vegetables in a non stick pan, covered it and found the oil I added was enough to cook the vegetables. I added the milk at the end.
* Simmer until the vegetables are done and the water/milk is absorbed.  
* Serve it with rice / rotis.


Varadas Kitchen said...

Lot of variations of this dish today. Yours looks very well done.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and lovely looking paanch phoron tarkari. I too heard a lot about Tripura and hope to visit there once.

Priya Suresh said...

Tarkari is just killing me, gonna make some soon, cant take my eyes from that beautiful plate,so irresistible.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

i made this too and am in complete love with the flavors, yours looks lovely too

Nivedhanams Sowmya said...

panch poran is the hero of the day!! so well made and so flavorful!!

Srivalli said...

Suma, you have done a great job with the tarkari..I thought this belonged to another NE and was struggling for this state, finally had to resort to making this..so nice to know I wasn't wrong..:)..and yes as you said even I liked the khichidi and this a lot..this gravy sounds almost like the regular one right..

Harini-Jaya R said...

I also went through all the emotions while looking for NE cuisine. But I was aware of the NE region being totally meat centric. This one looks good for any of the NE regions.

Pavani N said...

Simple and delicious mixed veggie curry. Looks very colorful and appetizing.

Usha said...

After seeing so many of you make this taarkari, it is on top of my to try list. Being a non-vegetarian I had a tough time finding a likable recipe. I can understand your plight

Nalini's Kitchen said...

This is one such flavorful and yummy tarkari...

Jayanthi Padmanabhan said...

i am sure all of us have done a panch phoran tarkari for some state or the other. the panch phoran is here to stay.. your tarkari looks fresh and yummy

Padmajha PJ said...

NE states did provide a good learning opportunity for us! And I made this too with a different set of veggies :)

Chef Mireille said...

panch phoran makes simple veggies to another level of deliciousness

Archana Potdar said...

Tarkari looks awesome. Love the colours in it.

vaishali sabnani said...

Paanch poran is one of my special spice mix...doesnt it taste delicious?..the curry looks and sounds fabulous.