Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seasonal Vegetables & Fruits

Spring is finally here! And with it come the new vegetables of the season. In India, we would get vegetables only seasonally, not year round. For example, sweet peas were available only in winter for a couple of months. The backyard guava trees would be laden with fruit in December and the markets would be flooded with mangoes in summer. Potatoes would be as cheap as Re 1.5 in winter and as costly as Rs 7 in peak summer. The taste of fruits and vegetables which are available seasonally far surpasses the ones which are here year round. So this time try buying according to seasons and be amazed at the superior taste ( at least a little, because hybrid varieties and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides affects the crop negatively. For best taste organic is the way to go ).
Given below is a list of fruits and vegetables which are in season now - SPRING!

Belgian Endives
Butter Lettuce
Chayote Squash
Collard Greens
Green Beans
Morrel mushrooms
Peas (garden, snap, snow etc.)
Sweet Onions (vidalia etc.)
The above are in season during spring. Depending on your location the start of availability might vary from early to late spring. The best idea would be to go to a farmer's market this weekend and buy the freshest produce on the stands. Lookup some new recipes online and taste the best of Spring. Now that would be yummy khushi!

pictures courtesy : No copyright infringement intended

Last show - Apr 14th

Here are some recipes and ideas given me by listeners for vegetables found here but not in India. I had requested them to come up with ideas on how they 'Indianise' such vegetables. And I'm sharing them here.


Brussel sprouts 1 pound
Curry leaves 1 Tbl Spoon
Mustard 1 tspspoon
Oil 5 tblspoons.

Grind to powder:
Channa dal 2 Tblspoon
Coriander seeds 4 Tblspoon
Urad dal 2 Tblspoon
Red chillies 4-5
Little salt to taste
1. Fry the above ingredients in a teaspoon of oil until golden and powder
2. Slit brussel sprouts and stuff the powder
3. Heat the oil in a pan and season with mustard and curry leaves
4. Add the stuffed brussel sprout and fry until crisp and tender.

recipe courtesy : Meera Rajgopal

Ingredients :
2-3 zucchini, chopped
2-3 green chillies
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp tamarind
Pinch turmeric
Salt as required

For seasoning:
1/4 tsp uraddal
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hing(optional)
Few curry leaves
Coriander leaves, chopped

1. Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a pan and fry zucchini and green chillies.
2. After few minutes add turmeric, garlic, salt and cook on low flame for 5 - 10 minutes.
3. Grind the whole thing in blender.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add uraddal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds, when they splutter add curry leaves.
5. Remove from heat and add it to zucchini mixture and then add coriander leaves.

recipe courtesy : Meera Rajgopal

#3 Indian Zucchini bread ( Handvo )

Ingredients :
2 cups - handva flour (or cornmeal, as a second option)
1/2 cup - bottle gourd or zucchini, grated
3 tsp - shredded carrot
1/4 cup - fenugreek leaves
1/4 cup - spinach leaves (optional)
2 - green chillies, finely chopped
4 to 5 - garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp - ginger paste
3 cups - buttermilk (or yogurt mixed with water)
1 tsp - soda bi carb (fruit salt)increase it by 1/2 tsp if you don't feel its frothy enough
1 tsp - each urad and channa dal
salt to taste
1 tsp - lemon juice
1/2 tsp - sugar (optional)
For Tempering:
1 tsp - mustard seeds
2 tsp - sesame seeds
2 tbsp - oil

Method :
1.Take buttermilk in a large vessel.
2.Add salt, soda and flour and mix well.
3.As the mixture begins to froth, cover and set aside for 6-7 hours for fermentation.
4.Grate the bottle-gourd or zucchi and squeeze out all excess water.
5.Do this after the fermentation is done, as leaving bottle-gourd in air oxidizes it and makes it turn brown.
6.Now add all the vegetables, bottle-gourd, spices and green chillies to the flour mixture.
7.Heat oil in a pan, add urad & channa dals, and the mustard seeds.
8.Allow to splutter, then pour half of it into the batter and mix thoroughly.
9.Pour the mixture into a steel or aluminum container.
10.Place in a Steam Cooker and cook like idlis, for about 25-30 mins, then check to make sure it's cooked through.
11.Remove from flame and keep it covered for another 7-10 mins.
12.Once cooled, you can slice it into wedges

The above batter can also be used for making individual pancakes.
recipe courtesy:

Tip : One listener, Priya, uses Zucchini in all recipes calling for dudhi (lauki, opo squash) and Parval. She assures me that the recipes come out fine and taste very good too.
I'll be uploading other recipes from previous shows hopefully soon. So this is it for now. Happy Eating!

note: Pictures courtesy of google images. No copyright infringement intended.