A little sweet, a little pungent, a little hot, but altogether cooling! Now, there’s a recipe to beat the heat
The term ‘back to nature’ is something of a contradiction in terms. We should say ‘catch up with nature’, because it is always ahead of its times. Prepared for any eventuality, be it in the seasons of the year or the cycles of life. No wonder traditional societies lived in tune with nature.
Take traditional foods. They always take into account local produce and the time of the year, and if you follow that kind of diet, chances are you won’t need a fridge, an air conditioner or a heater. Well, even those of us who don’t want to go so drastically back to nature can benefit from eating right.
Longing for some hot, nutritious food that’s not heavy or oil laden? Let’s take a look at the vegetable vendor’s colourful stalls. Sleek long dark green okra set off against shiny purple baby brinjals and the dependable year-round potato are visible everywhere. Then there are carrots and green beans.
All these put me in mind of one of my favourite dishes. Don’t worry, it’s not a tossed salad, but an exquisite and somewhat elaborate dish, vegetable Sindhi kadhi. This vegetable broth is specially close to my heart as one of my Sindhi friends used to make it a point to send me some whenever she cooked it. This dish is bursting with health-inducing qualities. It has the advantage of using very little oil – just a couple of spoonfuls. Sometimes I cook it without any oil. Between them, the vegetables here provide elements like sulphur, chlorine, iron, potassium, magnesium and others, besides vitamins C, A and B6. Okra and carrots have an alkaline effect. There are also those wonder veggies full of iron – drumsticks
Although this preparation takes a while in cooking, if you follow the simple method below, you won’t go wrong.
Vegetable Sindhi KadhiIngredients
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
40 gm besan (gram flour)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chillies
1 tsp white cumin seeds
3 finely cut green chillies
1 1/2 litres water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup arhar dalIngredients (second set)
100 gm potatoes
40 gm okra
60 gm baby brinjal
60 gm French beans
30 gm tamarind
100 gm tomato puree
60 gm carrot
30 gm molassesMethod
Wash and clean tamarind and soak for an hour. Similarly soak molasses in water for an hour. Take the arhar dal and boil it in two cups water, then mash well and keep aside. Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds and let them crackle.
Put the besan into a pan with water and mix well. Pour this mixture into the wok through a muslin cloth and stir. Add the spices. Now add the mashed arhar dal and stir well. Cook till half the liquid evaporates. Now is the time for the second set of ingredients. Stir in the vegetables. Add the tomato puree. Then strain in three tbsp tamarind pulp. Now add the molasses dissolved in water.
Serve hot with plain rice.MONISH GUJRAL
The author is MD, Moti Mahal Tandoori Trail chain of restaurants. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org