Purslane Kootu

A visit to the local farmer’s market is something I eagerly look forward to. Its either the motivation of laying hands on the freshest produce that I will serve my family; or the interaction with the person who devotedly grew it; or the knowledge I gain on growing/storing produce and herbs; or just the lively atmosphere and the music. The farmers are always eager to share recipes for vegetables or greens that I haven’t tried before. Sometimes they recommend their favourites, which I make sure to buy. Last fall, we feasted on a locally grown variety of apples, thanks to one such recommendations. Thin skinned, small and sweet, it was hard to believe that they were actually fruits and not candy. The farmer even complained that she had to stop her son from eating more than three a day.

Armenian Cucumbers

Over the last few weeks, I was lucky to be introduced to new kinds of produce. Lets start with these Armenian cucumbers. Long, slender and slightly ribbed, they looked a cross between snake gourd and an English cucumber. Some were bright green, and others were lighter coloured. But they both taste sweet and crisp, and didn’t require peeling. Their taste and texture reminded me of a variety of cucumbers that are small, sweet and crisp and are usually sold at bus stands in India. I was happy to rediscover ‘em.

Giant Okras

Giant okra compared with regular ones

Next stop, okra. Not your everyday okra, but huge ones. When I saw them, my first thought was, why would anyone want to cook such mature okras. Surprisingly, these giants were still tender. The grower, Maya, explained to me that this was another kind of okra and taste the same as the regular ones. They did, in addition to being less slimy.

Purslane

Last, but not least, is Purslane or Verdolaga, known as 'Paruppu Keerai' in Tamil. An edible weed native to India, they can be cooked or eaten raw. I preferred cooking it, but there weren’t many recipes around. Cooking with dal was definitely a safe option. But noticing the delicate leaves, I want to give them an opportunity to shine on their own.

I turned to Pedatha, who has always inspired me in the past. In addition to recipes, what I look for in a cookbook are ideas and methods that I could adapt to my own liking. This book has it aplenty. A recipe that called for amaranth/spinach caught my eye, and I decided to adapt it. The kootu, as I like to call it, was divine. Once cooked, the leaves were unbelievably tasty, tender and not even slightly bitter. I am certain that we would enjoy this recipe over and over, for years to come.

I am sending this to JFI – Love, hosted by Jigyasa and Pratibha. This edition of Jihva is about honoring those individuals that inspired and enriched your culinary world. I find it only apt to pay my tribute to Pedatha, with one of her own recipes.

Purslane Kootu

Purslane kootu served with rice, Armenian cucumbers and eggplants sautéed with sambar powder

Purslane Kootu

Ingredients

Purslane – 3 bunches, chopped coarsely along with stems
Roasted gram – 2 tbsp, powdered
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 2 cloves
Green chillies – 4
Cilantro – ½ cup, packed
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt

Method

Grind ginger, garlic, green chillies and cilantro into a smooth paste with little water. In a pan heat oil, splutter mustard seeds and roast urad dal until golden brown. Add the greens, turmeric powder and cook covered until the greens are done. Add the ground paste and salt, and cook for additional two minutes. Remove from heat and add powdered gram. Serve with rice and vegetables.

A+Veggie+Venture+2008+Fresh+from+the+Farmers+Market+400.jpg

This icon, courtesy of Alanna at A Veggie Venture, celebrates farm produce and encourages bloggers to seek out locally grown produce. Remember Ms. Blush, the sweet tomato from last year? This being Earth Week, I found it apt to blog about local-grown produce. If you haven't gone local yet, here are 10 reasons why you should. 'Going Local' is one of the 51 things we can do to save the environment.

On a separate note, there seems to be a problem with my TOI feeds. While Sailu is working on the issue, feel free to subscribe my feeds in your reader.

19 comments:

indosungod said...

Lucky you, Suganya our farmers markets - atleast the ones I don't have to drive 10 miles open only end of May or early June.

The kootu looks great, I will look for purslane. I have come across Persian cucumber which also resemble our vellarikai but with a slightly thicker skin.

Sapna said...

Arachivitta Sambar with verdolaga tastes great too.

Kalai said...

Gorgeous produce and lovely kootu, Suganya! I have the same issue as Indo... My farmer's market doesn't open until sometime in May.

sunita said...

Yes, Sug, local produce is the best...all of your's look lovely...and that's just the plate of food we love...so when are you inviting ;-))

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I will definitely try your purslane recipe, Suganya. I usually just add it to salads. Yours is much more exciting!

Sandeepa said...

The ones we have as "Farmers Market" here are not like the ones you talk about. That is the growers are not the sellers and I doubt that the produce is totally local

Only during summer some local farms open their stall adjacent to the farms but it is mostly fruits and tomatoes and limited veggies.

Loved all the produce you have here

Cynthia said...

I wish we got more variety of cucumbers here... A couple months ago I was able to get some of the seedless ones but the farmer told me that after the first crop (which I got from), they have not been growing well :(

Okra you bought there is the same kind we get here.

Hope you are feeling much better.

sra said...

I love these greens! First found out they were the same as purslane from Vineela's blog, long ago. And the eggplant is to die for, will come back to see if you have a recipe for that on your blog!

masalamagic said...

What a fitting tribute and what a lovely post! Love the pictures Sugs, i just feel like reaching out for those veggies to cook them myself. :-) Or better still i could just come over, that plate looks tempting.

Sig said...

Wow, that is one giant okra you have there!! I don't even know if the farmer's markets here are open yet.. weather is still crazy here...

White On Rice Couple said...

What a wonderful expose of your new farmers market finds, then all created to a beautiful dish! I have never seen the american cucumbers before! wow!

Susan said...

I've never seen purslane in my markets, not even half as dramatic as these beautiful stems. Now I am even more curious about it. I *have* seen it growing wild along highways and in vacant lots, but dare not pick them. :|

Kumudha said...

"going local" and also going vegan is a great way to go green...

Kootu looks so tasty!

Arundathi said...

Lovely photos. The kootu sounds delicious. Btw, there's something waiting for you at my blog:

http://arundathi-foodblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/my-first-award.html

Nanditha Prabhu said...

you got my mouth watering....
as always your photos are looking great too.

Kirti said...

Superb photos! visited your blog from a link on 'finally' blog through blogadda.com - saw some of the food blogs there, but your pics are the best! Now, I need to try the recipes... :)

Sumitha said...

What stunning pictures Suganya!Loved the okra one more.Never cooked using purslane.This looka like a perfect recipe to try.

Jeanne said...

I'm quite sure I've never actually eaten purslane but now I'm curious to find out how it tastes. Lovely picture of the gian okra too.

Priya said...

Sug, I found these at my organic store last week, and just made this. And, yes! I have eaten it in India, its called gangapaayala kura (or something like that :D) in telugu. I added half a bunch of spinach to it too, since I had very little of the purslane. It tasted super good, thank you soo much for the recipe and for heads up about these leaves :)

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