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Bengali tarkari
(Bengali mixed vegetable stew)


Preparation and cooking time: 30 - 40 min

5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large eggplant, diced
12 oz (350 g) squash, diced
1 lb (450 g) peas or cut green beans
3 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
11/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 dried chillies, crushed
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
21/2 cups (600 ml) water
2 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs of parsley

Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the mustard seeds, chillies, bay leaves, and fenugreek seeds. Cover the pan to prevent the mustard seeds from jumping out. When the mustard seeds stop sputtering and the fenugreek seeds darken, add the anise seeds and ground cumin. Then immediately put in the diced potatoes. Turn the potatoes for about 8 minutes, letting them get golden-brown on all sides. Then add the squash and eggplant. Keep cooking and stirring for 5 more minutes.

Next put in the peas or green beans along with the water and cover the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently every 5 minutes or so. After 15 minutes, add the sugar and salt, stir to mix, and cook slowly on the same low heat until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is thick.
Serve this tarkari with hot puris or parathas. Garnish each portion with a wedge of lemon and a sprig of parsley.