Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty

Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty


It is time again to shake things up with some Shak-it-baby! The group of leafy vegetables which features so prominently in typical Bengali culinary heritage that one really can not stay away from them for too long. Not long ago, I shared with you the story of Pui Shak and how with some prawns and pumpkins, this super veg could turn things around in your kitchen. In this episode, we switch focus on another shaking member of the same family and that is the ubiquitous lal-shak or red spinach, also called as red amaranth.

Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty
Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty

Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty

Bearing all the characteristics of being hard to find in London – this family of the leafy spinach is a must buy every time we venture out in East London, the place where these are available in as far as I know. Chopped finely, stir fried in medium heat and only accompanied by a few slices of dry red and fresh green chilies, some mustard seeds, chopped garlic, a touch of turmeric and salt to your own taste – the lal-shak is a no fuss power house prepared for your lunch. Ideal with some red lentils to go at par with the taste, white basmati rice and some generous sprinkle of aromatic ‘gandharaj lebu’ (Green lemon with distinct smell, also found in East London Bengali grocery shops), the lal shak will feature very high in your list of Bengali dishes to try out. And guess what! It’s great for skin, hair and overall health containing essential amino acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin E, potassium and Vitamin C. So, when are you going to try it? If you do, keep scrolling down.

Ingredients I Used:

1 kg Lal Shakh
2 green chillies
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon mustard oil, and Salt to taste

Lets cook now

Step one: Clean and wash the lal shak under running water. Drain water completely. Once water is drained, chop them finely. Keep aside.

Step two: Finely chop garlic and slit the green chillies into two.

Step three: Heat a large wok and add mustard oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and dry red chillies. Once the mustard seeds starts dancing, add chopped garlic. Sauté until garlic is golden in color and fragrant. Add green chillies.
Step four: Add lal shak, salt to taste, turmeric powder and mix well with the rest. Cover with the lid and let it cook on medium heat.
Step five: When shak is almost done, add sugar. Shak will release enough water itself to cook. In fact you can notice much water in the wok/pan when the shak is done.
Step six: Once excess water is evaporated completely turn off the heat. Lal Shak is done. Serve it with white steamed rice.
Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty
Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty Lal-Shak Shake Up: Bengali Red Spinach Specialty
Top tips:
1.  It is important to drain the water completely after you are done washing the shak because the shak releases enough water to cook itself. If there is any extra water it will actually increase the cooking time.
2.  Keep the washed lal shak on a paper towel as it will absorb the excess water, if there is any.
Bon appetit!

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