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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!

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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.

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.

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



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.

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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