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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!

810 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.

IMG_5035
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.

1446 total views, 1 today

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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Shevala –A Delightful Start of the Monsoon

Khaugalli June 17, 2013

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 can find Shevala in the markets of Virar, Vasai, Goregaon and Dadar in starting 2-3 weeks of June. (In earlier version of this post I had written that they are found after first rains. Well, it hasn’t rained yet this year and I just bought it from the market. The vendor explained that the one that grow before rains are called dhulicha shevala (Shevala of dust), they taste better, she claimed). This one is forest grown plant plucked by the local tribe mainly Katkari’s from the Interiors in Thane District. It is also found in Konkan region and called Lotadi though commonly city folks are unaware of this wild veggie.

The below picture is of the Shevala shoots we clicked  in village Pargaon near Saphale. If you visit this place during the season, some local will graciously take you, like they took us, to show where this plant grows.  Click here to find more pictures  – http://www.flickr.com/photos/virarandwest/sets/72157634170947536/

Shevala in Woods

The Katkari’s sell them to the local veggie sellers and they bring it to the markets  of nearby Mumbai  suburbs, mostly western suburbs. In Virar, you can find Shevala in Bazaar that takes place everyday from 7a.m. to 9 a.m in the ground near Virar-Vasai Mahanagar Palika (Virar East). You might  also find it in West of Virar, near Railway Station.

Shevala 2

Shevala is an itchy veggie like Taro leaves (Alu). To counter this the seller will also hand you some green fruits that resembles emblica. They call it Kakada. Cut them, remove seeds, grind in grinder and add the extract while cooking.

Kakada

Kakada

Like  Suran Flower, Shevala too has a  part with pollen grains, the third down most segment, that is cut off and not used in cooking. Only the rest of the inflorescence (Spadix) and the immediate leaf cover (Spathe) is used.

Shevala 4

Shevala 5

Shevala 6

You can cook Shevala exactly  as per  Suran flower recipe given in the previous post or try one below.

Ingredients
7-8 stems of Shevali
2-3 Onions
½ Coconut (It is necessary)
One cup sprouted field beans/Gram dal/Moong dal
Asaefoetida
1 spoon turmeric powder
1 spoon Red chilli powder
½ cup soaked tamarind

Garam Masala
1/4 dried coconut
Coriander seeds(half quantity of dried coconut)
5-6 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
7-8 Black pepper
1 green cardamom

Method

Fry the garam masala ingredients separately in two tbsp oil, grind the masala with some water. Keep aside.
Chop Shevali in small pieces. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, put one pinch of asaefoetida and fry the chopped Shevali crisp. Add onions and fry it again. Add everything other than the Garam Masala paste i.e, chilli powder, turmeric powder, field beans( you can use gram or moong daal), coconut, tamarind juice, water and cook till beans turn soft. Now add Garam masala paste and salt and boil for two minutes. It is ready.

Three things that are  Primary requirement in cooking Shevala- A tempering of Asafoetida and crisp frying in good amount of oil(Just like Taro leaves), secondly adding kakada extract and third tamarind extract.  Crisp fried Shevala on Asafoetida tempering can be preserved for six months by keeping it in an airtight container and deep freezing it in the refrigerator.

Shevala 7

Non vegetarians add Kheema(cooked minced lamb meat) or prawns to it. You can also make delicious patties or wadi which is very popular like Alu wadi. To make a really good wadi, use leftover shevali curry or purnachi bhaaji which has spices already soaked by Shevali. Add some rice flour and besan flour. Now shallow fry or bake it in oven.

Shevala 8

Shevala 9

One important tip is that adding beans, meat, pulses or simply rich coconut gravy is vital to this veggie. It alone has no taste but brings exotic flavor to the recipes by its presence.  Shevala also tastes very good with Gram Dal or adding Soyabean Chunks. Just treat your dish royally.

Do share with us your recipes if you are already familiar with this veggie.  Email it to twocents@virarandwest.com and we will publish it here with the senders name.  Hurry, because the season is going.

Additional Information:- Smt. Shakuntala Dharmadhikari, Virar East and Smt. Manisha Bhise, Goregaon West

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    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 […]

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