Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Going Ga Ga over Green
The news tells me that it has snowed in the northern mountainous regions of my country, and I can almost feel the chill here as there has been a sudden drop in the temperature since two days. It is feels like a taste of things that lie ahead; the woolens and quilts are out of the closet, it is a Herculean effort to step out of the bliss of a soft quilt in morning, every joint of the body lodges a protest initially on being moved, a high degree of self motivation and a hot cup of coffee required to warm up and exercise, you jump around waiting for the heavenly caress of morning sunlight. The sight of the beautiful green leaves bathed in morning sun infuses a warm joyous feeling. You really feel blessed when you can simply snip off a leaf or two from the potager and very comfortably slide it in your sandwich. Spinach, I was reading somewhere, is one of the most condensed food. Here in India we prepare what is known in local dialect as Saag. It is spinach, mixed with mustard leaves and several other leaves depending on local variation, boiled, pureed and then kept on low flame after mixing with an assortment of spices. I, despite the bitter taste, love to eat it the Popeye way – munching on raw leaves while getting on with the rest of my life. Fenugreek is another powerhouse growing in my veggie garden. These iron rich green leaves are an important source of this very important mineral in the otherwise iron deficient vegetarian diets. Mustard presents a pretty picture over the vast expanse of the north Indian farm lands with their bright yellow flowers. In fact this crop has become a symbol of prosperity for farmers Cilantro or Coriander as it is more commonly known here is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The leaves serve as a garnishing while the dried and pounded seeds are used as condiment, imparting a unique flavour to the dish. Some Radish leaves with a little salt sprinkled on and a few drops of lemon juice make a delightful snack to munch on. Icing on the cake is that besides the leaves the root is edible too Leaves of the Kale plant have grown well. I got the plant mainly for its decorative value, but after reading an article on its nutritional value I am tempted to try it in a recipe.