Sorisa Broccoli ( Broccoli in Mustard Paste )

I have often been asked "Can simple food be good enough ? We have invited so and so for the dinner/lunch". And every time the reply has been "Of course, simple will be the best. That is why they also call it soul food. It ties up one's soul to those memories embedded in some corner of the mind. It does not stop at just appealing to the senses, it goes beyond and strikes a connection at multiple levels." And that is usually enough to shut them up ! Though a few keep grumbling afterwards, it is in the best interests of one's sanity to shut out such discordant notes.

However the term soul food, which is actually African American in origin, holds different connotations for different folks. For someone like me, bred on a diet of lentils, rice and a mind boggling variety of vegetables, any meal which includes the all three qualifies as 'soul food'. The whole idea behind soul food is to evoke that feeling of emotional well-being. Without getting high. Period.

Mustard paste is the most widely used ingredient (or sauce) across Odia cuisine. It can be used to flavor anything from stir fries, curries and even a few varieties of relish. Almost every indigenous vegetable barring a few can be cooked with a flavoring of mustard paste, garlic, green/red chili and some mustard oil. The best thing about such preparations, which employ low heat, is that it retains the original flavor of the main ingredient.

However, it is a bit of a challenge to adapt new vegetables to this method of cooking. It invariably takes the trail and error route. I have tried my hand at quite a few exotic greens and some have been disasters. This post is dedicated to the lone surviver, the one that passed with flying colors and no less. The broccoli turned out to be the clear winner in this desi-fication drive. Given that it has some inherent bitterness which can get enhanced by the addition of mustard paste, I added a bit of tang to balance out the flavors.

Read on the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 250 gm broccoli
  • 2 tsp big mustard seeds
  • 2 dry red chili
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp mustard oil 
  • 2 dried amchur pieces ( or 1/3 tsp amchur )
  • salt to taste
  • 2 pinch turmeric


Preparation - Cut the broccoli into medium sized florets. Blanch and keep aside.

Make a fine paste out of the mustard seeds, garlic and red chili. Dilute with 1/2 cup water and let it stand for 10 mins.

Slowly drain off the water into another cup while retaining the solids at the bottom. Throw away these solids which can sometimes lead to a bitterness in the curry.

Soak the amchur pieces in 3-4 tbsp of hot water for 10-15 min.

Cooking - Take the blanched broccoli, mustard water, soaked amchur, turmeric, salt and 1 tsp of mustard oil in a thick bottomed casserole (small size). Mix everything together before putting it on a low flame.

Let it cook for 10-12 mins or till the broccoli is done. There should not be any excess water in the casserole.

Remove from flame.


















Drizzle with raw mustard oil just before serving at room temperature. Goes best with a simple meal of dal, rice and a salad.

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