Using easily available local produce for making everyday food nourishing and tasty is the greatest favour we do for ourselves and for the planet. Each drive to the market leaves a dent on the carbon footprint and each leaf growing nearby could undo the same.
And no, I am not being a snob locavore here. I do cook a lot of food with things growing around me and I believe in walking to my neighborhood markets to buy the everyday food and grocery. We often don't realise that it is the least significant everyday chores and choices that define our green habits, or otherwise.
Of course we have to travel long distances too for work and even for entertainment but everyday food is managed mostly by a weekly shopping of fruits and vegetables and walking to neighborhood stores for other groceries. Some exotic stuff is bought from faraway corners of the country when we travel.
Like I had bought a large bag of sun dried kachri when I visited Bikaner for work this summer. Kachri is a wonderful resource of nutrients that grows wild in the vast deserts of Rajasthan and like a weed in Punjab. It is foraged and used either fresh or is sun dried to be used in various preparations.
The other names of this vegetables are Chibad, Sane and Kaachar in various parts of north India. Sun dried kachri is powdered to be used as a souring agent and also as a meat tenderiser especially for game meat which gets cooked in pits.
Chutneys can be made with either fresh or dried kachri. The sun dried kachri chutney has been shared earlier too but this time the recipe serves a bigger purpose.
Yes the purpose this time was to make the chutney suitable as a supplement too that takes care of the healing our bodies need after the Chik-V sickness. I used drumstick (Moringa) and curry leaves from my garden and added sesame seeds for the added calcium boost, kachri itself has good amount of proteins, calcium and even OMG3s in the seeds, the resultant chutney was quite delicious and smooth textured. It was actually smooth enough to be used as a dip for crackers, crudites and even as a sandwich spread.
Drumstick leaves are traditionally used for joint health and curry patta or curry leaves are very rich in Iron and minerals along with enough Vit C to make everything absorbed well. Addition of lime juice or tamarind serves the purpose of making the minerals readily available for the system too.
Make this chutney rich in garlic flavours if you like but keep the chilli heat milder so you can consume more chutney with one meal.
(makes about 500 gm chutney)
150 gm drumstick (moringa) leaves
50 gm curry leaves (about 15-20 mature strings of leaves)
200 gm sesame seeds
a dozen or more fat garlic cloves
dry red chillies to taste
50 gm sun dried kachri or 100 or more fresh kachri
a little tamarind extract or lime juice to balance flavours
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp sesame oil or any other oil of choice
salt to taste
Steam the drumstick leaves till soft. Keep aside.
Lightly roast the sesame seeds and keep aside
Heat the oil, add hing and peppercorns and wait till they turn aromatic. Add the Garlic followed by clean dry curry leaves and saute till the leaves get aromatic too. Add this to steamed drumstick leaves.
Now mix everything together and make a smooth paste, adding a little water as required. Add the tamarind extract or lime juice slowly to balance the flavours.
Serve the chutney or dip as required. We kept having a small bowl of this chutney with every meal for some time till I was able to make some sesame laddus for ourselves.
Here it is served with red amaranth leaves and red lentil savoury pancake.
Thankfully we had someone who could follow instructions and cook for us.
These healing foods have helped a lot to heal our joints and even muscle and nerve damage. Chik-V took a toll in a way we had never imagined. But we must be grateful for the nourishing plants growing around us so eating healthy was not as difficult as it could get possibly.
Do try this chutney recipe to supplement calcium, iron and even OMG3s in everyday diet. Have it regularly if there has been an acute illness, else it can be included once in a wile. Another such chutney rich in calcium and iron has been shared that serves the same purpose but the recipe is a bit elaborate.
I have shared these recipes with many friends and family members already and have got great feedback. Please share a line or two if you try these chutneys. Use them as dips or sandwich spread as per choice.