Paat Shaak Bhaja: Little Bites Of Nutriment

A Bengali meal isn't complete without one of those little dishes: a simple stir-fry of green leaf dish (saag-like dishes). To a Bengali table, greens are essential. These stir-fried entree with slightly crunchy texture are, rather, a great way to start a meal, a small interlude before the main course come in. Bengali Style Paat Shaak Bhaja Recipe (Stir Fried Green Jute ) is an vegetarian dry dish made from green jute leaves.The leaves are tossed with bare minimum spices and oil to give a crunchy element which balances out the dish.

Paat Shaak, or tender jute leaves, is an ingredient well adored by the people of West Bengal, and also an integral part of cooking for  those in Bangladesh.The texture of jute leaves is a combination of slightly slimy and fibrous (kind of like mustard greens). A traditional Bangla household's summer lunch must include Paat Shaak. It was more uncommon in ghoti kitchens—kitchens of families with West Bengali ancestry—because jute was mostly grown in East Bengal, in present-day Bangladesh. However recent days it is also common in West Bengal. Paat Shaak is cooked in many ways. At times it is cooked on its own or with veggies like potato, red pumpkin or eggplant.

This dish is made by stir frying the jute leaves. Stir-frying is a fantastic method of cooking since it uses high heat for a little period of time, preserving a considerable number of nutrients, and kills any bacteria that may be on the surface of the leaves.

Paat Shaak is a significant source of iron, protein, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and natural dietary fibre. It is used in both cooking and medicine. Jute mallow has historically been used as a treatment for tumours, fever, diarrhoea, and enteritis. Its leaves are diuretic and sweet. It reduces burning discomfort and increases immunity.  Unripe fruits and leaves are both utilised as vegetables and are a strong source of antioxidants.

Ingredients :

    150g of tender jute leaves,  cleaned and chopped finely. 

    1 small, finely sliced onion 

    2 to 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic 

    4 green chilies, chopped finely. 

    1 tablespoon of oil 

    Add salt to taste 

    1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder (optional)

Procedure to prepare Paat Shaak Bhaja:

    Take a deep bottom frying pan and add oil and let it heat up

    Add finely chopped garlic first into the oil and fry until they start turning golden

    Add onions and green chillies

     Stir fry until the onions become golden

    Now add finely chopped jute leaves and mix with the onions

    Add salt and turmeric powder

    Cover the pan with a lid, turn the flame to medium

     The leaves will start releasing water, let them cook in its own juice (Do not add any more water)

    When the leaves are cooked, remove the lid and increase the flame and continuously stir until the water dries out completely (Do not over fry otherwise the leaves will lose the natural green color)

    Once done, turn the flame off. Garnish with green chillies on top.

This is quite a rare dish, usually not served in any restaurants. The new generation is not much aware of this cuisine and it remains a purely homemade delicacy. So, make this ultra nutritional and rare dish anytime at home.