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Jharas – The Exotic Leafy Green of Winters

Detour, Khaugalli February 18, 2017

Jharas is Winter green found only in the region of Vasai-Virar. Most of the vegetable vendors especially those who are not native and sometimes even natives like ‘maushis’ in  eastern market of Virar haven’t  heard of this leafy green. It just grows like that, probably like in the mushy areas around wells. The veggie is bitter in taste, slightly bitter than methi, so the proportion with other ingredients needs to be balanced while cooking. It is supposed to have medicinal value and therefore preserved by sun drying and stocked for the whole year. If you like methi, you will like Jharas.

After a lot of search (been on lookout for nearly 2-3 years) found this greens in the small market of Umbargothan- a pretty scenic village situated in between the road to Nalasopara starting from Agashi. Had to travel far but I’m not complaining because the evening travel by Dumdum (big rikshaw) was pleasantly beautiful with reddish-golden sun setting on the horizon and the road surrounded by luscious green fields. Hope the greenery never vanishes.

Below  is the recipe for Jharas Vaal bhaaji in the video. The recipe is given by Ms. Bhagyashree Pandit. There are other ways to cook jharas like using in thalipeeth.

Hurry now before the season is gone!

664 total views, 2 today

Shreeji, New Flavored Pani-Puri Wonder

Khaugalli August 12, 2015

The other day, I was walking in the rains and craving for Pani-Puri. There was a quiet a battle going inside my head – to eat or not to eat. As you know, rains are strictly the season one should avoid chaats or overall street food given our hygiene scenario. I was thinking  to break the rule this time…. really, one-time Pani-Puri can’t kill you…or can it?

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And I bumped into this newest small joint, Shreeji, in Tirupati Nagar. Small, yet pretty and clean. Moreover, they had different flavors of Pani-Puri. The varied flavour Pani-Puri joint is not first in Virar, but I hadn’t come across any until this one(write to twocents@virarandwest.com if there are more).

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Shreeji has 5 types of flavored Pani Puri: Regular, Peru (Guava), Hajma Hajam (The Appetizer), Pudina(Mint) and Lassan(Garlic)
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I really liked the garlic flavor. On my second visit, I liked the Peru flavor even better which earlier I thought was not a good idea. The vendor told  me the Peru flavor will last till the season of the fruit lasts. This means they use natural flavor. As the season perishes, Peru will be followed by some then seasonal flavour. The puri used is Sindhi puri and I liked that variation too. Although, Pani is always the soul of the dish.

 

 

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On my second visit Ice-Golas in paper bowls too were on the menu. There is indeed some missing-on-fun excerpting, sucking syrup flavors from the ice lolly, but this one also saves you from that disappointment when half of the lolly  falls off. There was malai gola too which I didn’t try..the cream + ice combination should be ice-creamy I guess..

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There are other chaat items, a little sweet given to local demand…but you can get modified taste with instructions. Sandwiches I didn’t check. There is coming-soon attraction of Thatte idli, and something awaited as Mr Mehta, the owner of Shreeji, successfully attempts in building my excitement around it.

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Mainly, I’m more excited about hygiene and pani-puri flavors. I really hope that they continue to be clean and there are more chaat thellas understanding our need to eat clean.

Details
Name – Shreeji Fast Food
Address – Ambo Vihar Building, Tirupati Nagar Phase 2
Google Map –
Menu Card –

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8168 total views, 1 today

Koral- The May Greens

Khaugalli May 21, 2015

This year I have had no luck with Suran flower so far. The disappointment after several trips to sabji market is stronger because the season is going. Once, it was so close, I watched a lady leaving with the only two Suran flowers the local vendor had brought. Rubbing salt on the wound, the sabjiwali is good at giving me a pang every time she tells me how I should have made a trip the day before when she handed the Suran flower to the other lucky customer that showed up.

So while hunting Suran flower at other vendors, I found this green and asked what it was. The sabjiwali told me it was  called Koral,(pronounced with hard L) a wild green found only in this period of the year.

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Koral are found in only this season, probably because they are new leaves of the tree, tender and edible only at this stage.   The Koral is somewhat shaped like Apta tree leaves, Piliostigma  Racemosum , but transparent and delicate.
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By now I have learned how awesome can a little known, locally traditional veggie, taste. You have to be a little cautious too because last time I ended up purchasing an extremely bitter green that could possibly not be edible one. Luckily this time, an elderly gentleman standing nearby, who was a regular purchaser of this green, vouched for it. He narrated the recipe so ardently that I ended up buying four Vaata’s  (minimum quantity made for selling in portions) instead of one.  I get greedy with terms like, once- in -a-year-produce.

This one is not an itchy or bitter green. However, if there is any medicinal value to this one, I have no idea.

The recipe is similar to the local custom green veggie recipe.
Koral- 4 portions,
Field beans 100 gms,
Oil – 1-2 table spoon
Cumin seeds 2 teaspoons
Asafoetida 2 pinch
Onion -1
grated coconut- 2-3 tablespoons
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon

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Method

Heat oil, add asafoetida and jeera and let it splutter. Add onion and green chillies. Let the onion turn a little pink. Add turmeric powder and saute. Add field beans and 1/4th cup water. Cook it for 5 minutes with lid on it. Add grated coconut and Koral and cook till beans are soft and the green changes its color to light green.

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This green tasted  yummy. Only that I couldn’t distinguish the taste from many other greens. I think you should still go looking for it, that is now. The season lasts till it lasts.
Where to find – The vendor ladies at Savitribai Phule Market, Virar East.
Anyone who can educate more on this green, you are welcome to comment on this post or write to – twocents@virarandwest.com.

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Mamledar Misal

Khaugalli October 2, 2013

There is a mail that does rounds on internet with a list of famous Misals of Maharashtra and where to find them. Mamledar Misal is listed in it. It has got its name because the food joint is situated right beside Mamledaar/Tahsildaar office in Thane.
Thane being our district, a Virarkar has to frequently visit the city for getting various official jobs done. I got a chance to taste it on one such visit and it is pretty nice Misal.

Tikhat Misal

Tikhat Misal

Mamledar Misal 5

Double Tikhat

Continue reading …

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  • Shreeji, New Flavored Pani-Puri Wonder

    by on August 12, 2015 - 2 Comments

    The other day, I was walking in the rains and craving for Pani-Puri. There was a quiet a battle going inside my head – to eat or not to eat. As you know, rains are strictly the season one should avoid chaats or overall street food given our hygiene scenario. I was thinking  to break […]

  • Recipe - Chicken Poha Bhujing

    by on December 16, 2012 - 3 Comments

    Ours isn’t a recipe blog. The food detectives mostly don’t like to cook and are very lazy. They just like to  go looking for places where they can find sumptuous dishes, ready to dig in.  Since the article on bhujing center at Agashi(http://virarandwest.com/2012/07/24/agashis-bhujing-the-foodies-delight-3/), we realized how much the  readers are eager to know the recipe. […]

  • Shevala –A Delightful Start of the Monsoon

    by on June 17, 2013 - 4 Comments

    Shevala is an edible, exotic vegetable, botanically related to the family of Suran Flower. You can compare the similarity with the help of pictures (especially the inflorescence structure). Both, Suran flower and Shevala taste similar after cooking and have a very limited season. The difference is Shevala is not a plant grown on farms. You […]

  • Uncle Aunty Sandwich and Pizza House

    by on October 18, 2012 - 4 Comments

    The name, Uncle Aunty, evokes a feeling of bonding from the start. There must be more to the name as we see that the customers coming in are frequent visitors, quite used to the place. We were correctly informed then about this sandwich corner which the owners, yes the uncle and aunty, who tell us […]

  • The Temple of Votive Goddess Harbadevi/Shitaladevi in Virar East

    by on June 28, 2014 - 0 Comments

    The vintage temple of Harbadevi is situated in East of Virar. The goddess known to the local Marathi community as Harbadevi, is also more famously known as Shitaladevi by the Gujarati people. This temple customarily is maintained by several generations of Bairagi family, the ancestor of whom was appointed to look after the temple chores […]