Saturday, August 8, 2015

Foods@India......

Some vegetables and other ingredients........ubiquitous to Indian kitchen...

Freshly harvested groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea) on a bamboo winnow. I am a sucker of this food. When i was kid, we used to grow groundnuts in our backyard. I would enjoy the whole process of the wet earth getting ploughed, seeded and soon covered with canopies of oval leaves. I would dig a plant once in a while to check whether the pods have appeared and if so, whether matured enough to eat. Then once day, my parents would decide, the crop is ready for harvesting. I would join the farmers in digging the plants. The heady smell of freshly-dug groundnuts instantly takes me to a journey down the memory lane. The piles of  plants would be allowed to dry enough before threshing. Then the pods would be collected and sun-dried for days before being kept in storage. I loved munching on the  raw, fried, boiled nuts or relishing it cooked with vegetables. We no more grow it in our backyard, as the soil has gone barren due to heavy erosion each monsoon and the serious lack of farmers. We rely on the local market for our supply of these delicacy, which gets scantier each year. Any way, as long as these things pour in my house, I would feel, the earth is still fertile..

Mustard greens (Brassica juncea) is a storehouse of phytonutrients with multi-pronged health benefits, apart from being a regular delicacy. I always loved the simple, steamed recipe of these fresh, green, curly leaves with tiny golden flowers....

This bunch of chlorophyll-rich, oval leaves is Moringa oleifera. This tree, commonly known as 'drumstick', grows luxuriantly in the mineral-rich soil of India. Commonly grown in every household, this tree is considered a source of cheap but nutritious vegetable. The drumstick shaped slender fruits are relished as fry, curry and pickles. I am a huge fan of the simple but delicious preparation with the green leaves. When the fragrant blossoms appear, they are also made into delectable recipes. Overall, it is a very popular vegetable in my native area....


Pumpkin stalks.....make tasty dishes...

Banana flower........

Turmeric...

Onions....

Straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea), the tastiest mushroom i have ever consumed.  After the rain, the fruiting bodies sprout in the rotten straw piles, in our backyard. I wonder, from where do the spores come year after year. For me, it was sort of an achievement to discover a black, dome-shaped head peeping from the rotten straws. Soon many fruit bodies with conspicuous stipes and gilled umbrellas covered the piles. I can't stop wondering, how the rotten mass gives rise to such a gustatory delight. May be, much like the muddy pond generating lovely lotus and lilies, I reason with myself. Though I have keen interest and knowledge in mycology, I can not resist giving in to such lame thoughts. Though a late bird, as a kid, just for excitement of picking the mushrooms, I used to get up early. Till now, I tend to salivate at the thought of this delectable dish, though I do not get it here in California. I have to manage with it's cousin, the button mushrooms.:)

Dried fish.......

Dried shrimps..........

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