Palong Shaak Ghonto: A Mishmaked Veggies With Spinach
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It's a well-known fact that spinach is a repository of many good nutrients and wellness. Despite knowing the fact, we tend to shy away from this leafy veggie because it doesn't go well with a lot of our taste buds. However, treating spinach with some love and the inclusion of other accompaniments can make it a thorough relish. A panch mishali torkari, but made of more than 5 veggies including potatoes, radish, and brinjal with the spinach or Palong Shaak after which the dish is named, it's a super healthy veg bowl. The important and distinct part of this Ghonto or mixed veg bowl is perhaps the exclusion of garlic onions and tomato paste, which is the base of typical Indian veg curries. 

What’s Special About Panch Mishali Torkari?

A Panch Mishali Torkari could be called the mixed veg version of Bengal. It means a mixture of five vegetables but can include more or less than five veggies too. A typical panch mishali sabzi would not have onion, garlic and tomatoes. The technique of cooking any panch mishali torkari is stirring, covering and cooking. The mixture generally carries pumpkin, radish, sweet potatoes, eggplant and a crunchy addition of sun-dried lentil dumplings. Some of the examples of this torkari are Labra and Chhyachra. The inclusion of many veggies in one bowl ensures a highly nutritive vegetarian dish that neither compromises on taste nor health.

Panchmishali Torkari is typically flavoured with Bengali panch phoran or an assortment of five condiments including mustard, nigella and fenugreek. The Palong Shak Ghonto combines 7 vegetables namely potatoes, sweet potatoes, radish, pumpkins, brinjals, beans and lastly spinach. 


35 gm mustard oil

2 dried red chillies

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp nigella seeds

10 pcs sun-dried lentil dumplings or bari

150 gm brinjal

60 gm potatoes

60 gm sweet potatoes

150 gm pumpkin

80 gm radish

60 gm broad beans

300 gm spinach

2 gm turmeric

½ tsp cumin powder

7 gm salt

15 gm sugar

1 slit green chilli

15 gm coriander leaves


. Cut potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins into equal-sized cubes. Then cut the brinjal into about 5 cm long pieces, and chop the radish and broad beans into about 4 cm long pieces.  

. Then separate the spinach leaves from the stalk and divide the stalks into 6-cm segments.

. Steam cook the spinach and stalk with a little salt for 8 minutes.

. In another pan heat mustard oil and fry, dried lentil dumplings until golden and set aside. 

. In the same oil, fry brinjal until golden for about 4 minutes and set aside.

. Add a little more mustard oil and temper it with dried red chillies, bay leaves, and nigella seeds.

. To this add the potatoes, cover and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. 

. Then add sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and cover and cook for 4 minutes. Introduce radish and beans and cook for 7 minutes.

. Now add salt, turmeric and cumin powder and mix everything well. Keep stirring in between.  

. Cook the sabzi on low heat, covered with a lid for 5 minutes.

. Then squeeze lightly water from the steamed spinach and add the leaves and stalk to the pan. Save the spinach water to add later if needed. Cook this for 6 minutes.

. Add sugar and cook on low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetable softens. Add the spinach water at this stage if the sabzi dries up.

. Add the fried dumplings after breaking them into smaller pieces, add fried brinjals and cook for another 4 minutes.

. Add one slit chilli and chopped coriander and stir everything slowly once.

The sun-dried lentil dumplings add crunch and excitement to the Ghonto. The Bengali way of cooking a sabzi in its juices, with light tempering of nigella seeds and bay leaves and the flavouring of just 3 spices brings the best of sabzis to the table. Eat with plain rice and masoor dal.