My grandmother always advised me that you should eat vegetables according to the season. I assume that all grandmothers gave this advice for it only makes sense to eat what you can grow – In fact one of the joys of cooking is that with every season, you can get to cook different kinds of food that go well with the weather.
If you go to the fresh vegetable market these days, don’t get surprised if you come across a bushy looking mess being pulled apart by old women or children, sitting in the morning sun, tearing away the pods to reveal fresh green channa. When I was in school, I remember learning that this crop is specially grown to fix the Nitrogen in the soil and is literally uprooted and sold in the market roots, pods and all. Some vendors just sell the pods leaving you to this tedious task but the more enterprising ones do the dirty work for you and charge you an obscene amount for just what seems like a handful. But when you realise that shelling the pods is a lot of hard work, you won’t really resent this price.
Green channa is my favourite winter vegetable which I love pairing with that other seasonal delight – the knolkhol or kohlrabi ( as it is known in English). Kohlrabi has a peculiar , distinctive taste which lends itself well with green channa. But Kohlrabi is a bit dicey as if can sometimes be a pain to eat with the stringy parts sticking in between the teeth which is what happens when the vegetable is not harvested at the right time.
So today I decided to make green chana with cauliflower.
Here’s what I did:
- 1 cup of fresh green channa
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 tspn ghee
- 1/4 tspn cumin seed
- 2 curry leaves
- 1/4 tspn turmeric powder
- pinch of asoefetida
- 1 tablespoon freshy grated coconut
- 1/4 tspn cumin seed powder
- finely chopped coriander
- milk to cook
After washing the green chana and cauliflower florets, I heated the ghee in a kadahi. When it was smoking hot, I reduced the heat and added the curry leaves, cumin seed , asoefetida and turmeric powder.
After the tempering sizzled and popped, I added the green chana, increased the heat and stirred for a bit.
I then added the cauliflower florets, grated coriander and salt to taste. I gave the whole mix a good stir and then lowered the heat and added enough milk for the vegetable to cook and the chopped coriander. I covered it with a lid and allowed the vegetables to cook till soft.
I then served it with hot chapati.
But tender green channa, the ones that are tiny, taste great eaten raw too! Just add a dash of lime or lightly steam them and with a bit of salt and lemon, makes a great snack while you soak in the winter sun.
You can get more such easy recipes from my book ” The Fragrance of Mango Blossoms” which is available on Amazon, Flipkart, Popular Prakashan and Infibeam