Pui Shaak is an authentic Bengali side dish which can be prepared as simple as I shared here or elevated by adding more vegetables, shrimp or fish head. It is also referred to as Pui Shaak Chorchori. The dish comes together in less than 30 minutes and makes a healthy side dish to pair with rice.
What is Pui Shaak ?
Pui Shaak is Malabar Spinach. It's a tropical plant and loves warm summer days. These days I am seeing such lush green Malabar Spinach in the market that I had to make this Pui Shaak.
I grew up eating this green stir fry dish a lot!
Pui Shaak cooks very fast and cooks down to a small quantity, just like regular spinach. It is great on its own, but pairs beautifully with vegetables and fish too! Especially shrimp.
WATCH THE VIDEO
How to clean and cut Pui Shaak ?
Malabar Spinach/ Pui Shaak will feel little slimy as it has a lot of water contents in it. So be careful handling the knife!
Start by snapping off the big leaves to a bowl and trip the top off. Don't discard the thick stems. Those are edible too.
To cut the stems, a pairing knife works best! Discard the extreme bottom part of the stem, as that will look dry. Then cut about 1 inch portion of the stems, and you will realize there is an outer thin skin that comes out. Peel that off. WATCH THE VIDEO to understand this step better.
Now take the thick cut stems and slice in half.
Ingredients you need to prepare this Pui Shaak Recipe
- Pui Shaak (Malabar Spinach)
- Nigella Seeds
- Cumin Seeds
- Bay leaves
- Dry Red Chili
- Cumin Powder
- Coriander Powder
- Fennel Powder
- Fresh Green Chili
How to pick Malabar Spinach?
Just look for bright green colors! It shouldn't wilt, and the leaves should snap easily.
How to prepare the dish?
In a heavy bottom pan, sizzle the whole spices in oil. Then fry the potatoes and eggplant. I keep the sliced eggplant marinated in salt and turmeric, so it softened
Add the stems and sauté again for a couple of minutes.
Then add the greens and let it softened down. As it cooks, it will release water. Add all the spice powder and cook until the leaves are softened, and turns a bit mushy.
Finish it by adding a couple fresh green chili and ghee.
The dish tastes best with steamed white rice !
Vegetables that go well with this Malabar Spinach
Apart from vegetables you can also try shrimp, paneer, tofu, fish head!
I find this any variety of shaak/ saag extremely hearty. With steam white rice, some daal or the side and Indian pickle, it's a soul satisfactory meal that is so effortless to bring together.
- 2 Lb of Pui Shaak (malabar spinach)
- 1 medium size eggplant (8oz/ 226 g)
- ½ of a big russet potato (5oz/ 141 gram)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 dry red chili
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 green chili
- 2 teaspoons ghee (optional)
- Start by cleaning the Malabar spinach. Trim off the leaves.
- Once done, wash the leaves and the stems too.
- Before we prep the stems, slice the eggplant into small wedges. Place the sliced eggplant in a colander and sprinkle a little salt and turmeric. This will soften the eggplant and there by it will not soak a lot of oil. Keep it aside for 15 minutes.
- Slice the Malabar spinach stems into 1 inch length and remove the outer skin. It will feel a little slimy, so be careful with the knife!
- The thick sliced stems can be sliced in half length wise.
- Roughly chop the leaves.
- Also sliced into bite size cubes
- Place a heavy bottom skillet at medium heat and pour the oil. Once the oil heats up, add the cumin seeds, nigella seeds, bay leaves and dry red chili. Stir it around and let it sizzle for a while.
- Add the diced potato, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and toss it around for 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant and cook for 2 minutes.
- Scatter the stems and fry for 2 minutes
- Add all the ground spices (cumin powder, fennel powder, coriander powder). Toss everything and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the green leaves, mix everything and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, the leaves should have softened a lot and started to release water.
- Season with salt and sugar, and add 2 green chili. Slit the green chili in half if you prefer it spicier.
- Let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Finish it with 2 teaspoons of ghee.