More than eye candy: Fragrant nutrition



By Pushpesh Pant |
Updated:
Feb 22, 2022 13:20 IST

New Delhi [India], February 22 (ANI): Homer’s epic poem Odyssey mentions the ‘Lotus Eaters’ who after taking a chunk of this seductive flower forgot household and buddies. Past recollections have been erased they usually wasted away in a trance-like stupor. Though the addictive lotus hasn’t been positively recognized, it has contributed to the mystique of edible flowers.
How simply we overlook that many greens we devour are flowers albeit missing in hallucinogenic energy. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Artichoke buds. And, the most costly spice on this planet, saffron is yielded by the crocus flower.
Trend-setting cooks overseas had realised way back that flowers are way more than eye sweet on the plate. They not solely add rainbow tints but in addition contribute delicate aromatic flavours to the dish. This has made these working in Indian kitchens to sit down up, take discover and emulate. They are getting enthusiastic about Thai and Vietnamese dishes which can be flower-based.
This is ironical as we on this land have at all times consumed a wide range of flowers. Mocha (Banana blossoms) are cooked as a stir-fried vegetable and cutlets in Bengal. In the identical state, pumpkin flowers calmly dipped in batter are deep-fried as fritters. Moringa (drumsticks) flowers are generally added to curries right here and in adjoining Jharkhand.


There are different regional favourites. Turmeric flowers are cooked with pork in Nagaland and within the hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal, sherbet with buransh (rhododendron) is ready to maintain cool within the summers. In Rajasthan, the phog (flowers of a desert shrub) are added to raitas and kadhi. In the desert the place not a lot grows pho flowers have been combined with millet flour seasoned with salt as a meal by the poor when famine struck.
Buds of neem (margosa) are very bitter however are prized for distinctive medicinal properties. They are chopped and dried, cooked combined with ghee and eaten in small portions with rice. In Tamil Nadu, a particular number of rasam makes use of the neem flowers. Other floral bitters which can be thought-about stunning are orange blossoms known as teeta phool in Assam. The Saraswat neighborhood dwelling on the western coastal belt celebrates Gudi Parva (New Year) with stir fry crimson neem leaves and flowers flavoured with pepper, cumin seeds and sugar.
Ayurvedic compendia like Bhavpraksh Nighantu dedicate a separate part to flowers that may very well be consumed beneficially. Supa Shastra, which paperwork the culinary practises of medieval Karnataka refers to chuchhuroti, made with palmyra flowers ghee, sugar and aromatic edible camphor. The Nematnama, a captivating textual content compiled in the identical interval, offers an extended record of edible flowers–roses, jasmine, water lilies and plenty of extra. An unique recipe mentions blue water lilies filled with boiled rice and, then steamed in a pot. Descriptions of mouth-watering pickles ready with horse radish flower and oils infused with floral fragrances and refined tastes are additionally offered.
Maharaja Digvijay Singh of Sailana has shared in his celebrated cookbook a recipe for tesu ka phool ki tarkari (Flame of the Forest aka Palash). The petals are first boiled after which cooked in sesame oil with onion, garlic and spices reminiscent of cumin and mango powder to make a dry curry of kinds.
Other flowers like semal (crimson silk cotton tree) and buds of kachnaar (Camel’s Foot Tree) until a technology again have been used equally. In Awadh, some kayasath households employed it to organize vegetarian kaleji (liver) and in Delhi, kachnarkali ka salan was a well-liked seasonal delight.

In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the flower most well-liked to tickle the palate is kundrum (roselle). The leaves of this plant are known as gongura and have a pointy bitter style whereas the blossoms have a lovely flushing pink color and a pleasing tang. Kundrum flowers enliven many vegetarian lentil soups and non-vegetarian curries.
Sun-dried kundrum flowers are actually being bought within the cities –marketed by enterprising NGOs working with self-help teams in villages. Besides refreshing chutneys, these are actually getting used as infusions, sherbet and preserves.

Mahua flowers are broadly utilized by tribal kids of forest–Gond, Korwa, Bhil, Baiga, Santhal and Munda. Not solely did these blossoms present an intoxicating beverage inducing a pleasing excessive however have been a serious supply of food in occasions of shortage. Deep-fried mahua flowers are relished as a snack. In Chhota Nagpur area, Asur khichdi is ready with rice combined with flour obtained from dried mahua flowers.
The conventional recipe for latta blends mahua flour and parched millets with molasses. In arid Bundelkhand, mahua incorporating gram flour and linseed is taken into account a delicacy. Mahua Poda Pitha is in style in villages settled within the forests of Orissa. Mahua laddoos have an extended shelf life and are believed to have distinctive tonic properties.

We sincerely hope that the revival of curiosity in edible flowers just isn’t restricted to superstar cooks and conjures up house cooks to reclaim this distinctive heritage.
Disclaimer: The views expressed within the above article are that of the author and don’t mirror that of ANI. (ANI)



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