Cook a gluten-free Sindhi thaali and cherish the gifts of nature


It was World Environment Day yesterday and my small patch gifted me three bitter gourds, one huge snake cucumber and loads of self-seeding purslane (kulfa in Hindi). Sindhi thaali was an obvious plan as I have grown up eating purslane with bitter gourd sabzi. What made it interesting was the ragi roti (finger millet flatbread).

I soaked millet early in the morning to make some fresh millet flour after sun-drying the grains. If you are thinking how textures are created and how we can work with different millets for soft and hard rotis, do reach out to my Instagram handle. I will be doing and cooking it all Live next week.

Prepping for roti from soaked grains. (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

My tribe asked asked for the recipe of kulfa saag (Purlane Leaves Curry) and bitter gourd, I told them, this is the place where they will find it. So here you go:

 

GLUTEN FREE SINDHI MEAL

PURSLANE KULFA SAAG (also called as loonrak jo saag in Sindhi)

 Ingredients: (serves 4)

·      500 g purslane leaves with thin stalks

·      ½ cup dal (green moong or chana soaked well)

·      ¼ cup chopped raw mango slices

·      1 medium onion chopped

·      1 large tomato chopped

·      1-inch ginger

·      8-10 garlic pods peeled

·      1 medium green chilli chopped

·      Rock salt to taste

·      ¼ tsp red chilli powder

·      2 tsp cold pressed sesame oil for tempering while serving

·      ½ tsp cumin seeds for tempering

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker, add all ingredients except oil and cumin seeds. Add just half-a-cup of water. Please note, excess water may increase your cooking time.

2. You can opt for slow-cooking this recipe as it tastes really good in open vessel clay pots. But just in case you are pressure cooking, cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame or till you hear one whistle.

3. Once the steam is settled, with the help of a wooden masher or potato masher, try to manually-blend the cooked saag. Blend till you get homogeneous consistency.

4. Check for excess water. Keep it on high flame with continuous stirring to reduce it till you get desired consistency.

5. Once it is settled, heat oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds, and as they splutter, add the tempering to your saag.

6. Enjoy it hot with your millet rotis. 

Karela Aloo Sabzi (serves 4)

Ingredients:

·      3 medium size bitter gourds

·      3 medium size potatoes

·      1 large onion sliced

·      ½ medium raw mango sliced

·      1 tsp organic jaggery

·      ¼ tsp fennel seeds

·      ¼ tsp mustard seeds

·      ¼ tsp asafoetida

·      ¼ tsp red chilli powder

·      ½ tsp turmeric powder

·      ½ tsp aamchur powder (can avoid if using raw mango)

·      Rock salt to taste

·      2 tsp cold pressed sesame oil

Method:

1. Peel bitter gourds and chop them thick. Marinate the peels and slices with salt. Leave it for 10 minutes.

2. Peel and chop potatoes.

3. In a deep pan, add oil, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Once the mixture crackles, add marinated bitter gourds with peel and potato.

4. Mix and add salt and turmeric.

5. Cover it and cook it on lowest flame for 10 minutes.

6. Once it is all tender, add sliced onions, raw mango slices, red chilli powder. Cover it again and cook for 5 minutes on low flame.

7. Once it is done, add organic jaggery. Mix and cook on high flame for 2 minutes.

8. Serve hot.

Shalini Rajani, eat healthy gluten-free Sindhi thali, chef shalini rajani, world environment day cooking, eat organic products, organic ingreadients, indianexpress.com The final product should look something like this. (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

Health benefit of organic purslane and bitter gourd

Purslane leaves are rich in vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant. They play a role in vision, healthy mucus membranes and to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Purslane contains the highest content of vitamin A among green leafy vegetables.

Bitter gourd acts as a hypoglycemic agent. It is a rich source of soluble fiber and is low in glycemic index, which helps in lowering the blood sugar level. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Regular consumption of bitter gourd contributes to relieving constipation and indigestion.

(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops for all age groups.)

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