Stay well in spring | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 PM, February 14, 2018

Deshi Mix

Stay well in spring

Spring is the prince of seasons. It is the symbol of colours and rejuvenation, often glorified in prose and poetry, and serves as the muse for many an artist. It is the symbol of life and its resilience. It comes with the message of hope and joy. Nature seems to burst with joy at spring's arrival, the trees and plants adorned with leaves anew, with buds blossoming into blooms. The skies are a happy blue, inviting to the soul. The cool and refreshing south west wind begins to blow…

Changing seasons call for a change in food habit. It is necessary to modify our food habits according to season. If we follow our diet as per the season then we will be fit and will not fall sick. In spring those foods include a wide array of veggies and fruits that will make you feel nourished while also gently cleansing and resetting your digestive and immune systems. Enjoy these few delicious spring foods.



I am sharing with you a very nutritious recipe made with Neem leaves and brinjal. It is a typical Bengali recipe and very popular in Bengal. This dish has a bitter taste, is quick and easy to prepare, and requires few ingredients. This dish is perfect for spring and summer.


¼ cup newly grown neem leaves

2 brinjals, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp chopped onion

¼ tsp turmeric powder 

2 green chillies 

Salt to taste

1 tbsp oil


Soak the brinjal cubes in water for 10 minutes, drain and keep aside. Put the neem leaves in a colander and wash. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onion and fry them for a few minutes. Add brinjal and turmeric powder, fry for 4-5 minutes. Remove it from the pan. Keep aside. In the same pan, add the neem leaves and reduce the heat and fry the leaves until crisp (do not add oil). Now add the fried brinjal to the neem leaves. Add salt and green chillies. Mix and fry for 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Neem begun is ready. Serve the healthy dish as a first item for lunch.



10 drumsticks (peeled and cut into 3 inch long)

1 quartered yellow pumpkin, around 15-20 chunky pieces

1 potato, large (cut into medium size chunks)

1 tsp minced ginger

½ tsp Allspice mix (panch phoron)

3-4 green chilli

½ tsp turmeric powder 

1 tbsp mustard powder

½ tbsp mustard oil

Salt and sugar to taste


Wash and cut all the vegetables as mentioned. Heat oil in a pan. Temper the oil with five spices, add the minced ginger, and saute. Add all the vegetables and fry them for 10 minutes or until they become tender. Add salt and other spices except mustard, and fry for a while on medium heat. Add the green chillies and mustard powder and fry for few more minutes. Add water to just cover the vegetables and let it simmer on low heat till done. You can add few drops of ghee before serving it with steamed rice.



1 cup red lentils

250 gm jute leaves, 2 tbsp oil

½ cup onion, slices

4-5 green chillies, sliced in half along the length

½ tsp turmeric powder

1tsp red Chilli powder

½ tsp cumin powder

Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pan. Fry the sliced onion till golden in colour. Add the daal and stir. Sprinkle the turmeric, cumin, red chilli powder and salt. Cook until the oil starts to float on top. Add ½ cup of water and green chillies. Cook for five minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and add the jute leaves. Stir and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes. A distinct flavourful smell will be released. The dish is ready. Serve with plain rice or roti.


Aloo Methi is a classic North Indian dish. It is a delicious combination of potatoes and aromatic fenugreek leaves and spices. It is a wonderful green leafy vegetable full of vitamins and good dietary fibre. Methi leaves have a unique strong flavour and slightly bitter taste. Methi is not only used fresh with other vegetables but it also used dry. 


3 medium potatoes 

1 bunch fresh methi leaves

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander powder

½ tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp mango powder (amchoor powder)

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp ghee

Salt to taste


Wash and chop the potatoes with skin into small pieces. Wash the methi leaves in a colander. Now take some methi leaves, bunch them together and chop them coarsely. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan, and add cumin seeds and fry them for 30 seconds. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix well. Add potatoes, chopped methi and salt. Mix well. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat. Do not add any water because they cook on their own steam. In about 15 minutes, the potatoes will become tender. Once all the water evaporates, sprinkle mango powder and 1 tablespoon of ghee over the potatoes and methi. Mix and cook for another 1 minute. Turn the stove off and serve.


Helencha Shak grows in the water and is commonly seen widely all over Bangladesh. It is used for local herbal remedies as well as a vegetable. It is bitter in taste. The plant is rich in protein and good source of b-carotene. It has plenty of medicinal benefits. It is useful against skin diseases. It is useful for the treatment of prickly heat as well as anorexia. It also helps against liver disorders and sleeplessness.


1 bunch of Helencha Shak (watercress)

6 pcs koi fish

2 tbsp mustard oil

4 sliced green chillies

Salt to taste

Spices for tempering

¼ tsp cumin seeds

2 bay leaves

2 whole dry red chillies

Spice for gravy

2 tbsp onion paste

½ tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp red chilli powder 

½ tsp garlic paste


Cut and wash the fish. Marinate the fish with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Cut and wash the helencha shak. Blend all the gravy spices in a blender and make a smooth paste. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the marinated fish until they turn light golden brown, and set aside. Heat the pan again with the fried fish infused oil, allow high heat until smoking point, now add the broken whole chilli, cumin seeds and bay leaves one after another. Add gravy spices paste, salt and fry a little. Now add a little water. Cook for few minutes till oil floats to the top. Add helencha shak and green chilli. And half cup of water. Add fried fish and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. When it is done, serve with hot plain rice.



2 cups Gina Shak, washed, 

leaves separated 

1 cup gram flour 

½ cup rice flour

½ tsp red chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder 

1 cup chopped onion

4 green chilli, chopped 

Salt to taste

Oil for fry


Mix all the ingredients with a little water to make batter; the batter should be just moist enough to allow shaping by hand. Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop hand shaped dollops of the batter in the oil to make boras, and fry both sides until golden brown and crispy. Serve this with plain rice for a touch of old school authentic Bengali food.

Photo: Collected

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