Friday, February 6, 2015

Sonje phool aar saag Bhaja/Simple fry of Drumstick flowers and leaves – Simple and easy dish – And lots of health benefits.

Living in houses with lots of open space and a garden is a rarity these days. To think of a mango tree, jackfruit tree, guava tree, drumstick tree, Jaam and Jamrool trees, and some other trees in a garden in a city-house is a dream. The Champa, the Shuili, the Joba, the Tagar, the Madhumalati creepers, and so many other flowering plants give us their hue of colours when they bloom. But is this the truth that one can see in high rise apartments?

In the countryside this eye catching natural environment still exists and a visit to these homes is a treat of its own.  Time spent looking and walking around the garden area of the house brings happiness not only to the soul but the taste buds are relished from the fruits plucked and savoured at one’s sweet will.

Children climbed trees, plucked fruits, ate and shared and mothers never prevented them from doing such small enjoyable mischief. But today’s mothers’, I mean the present day mothers are so possessive of their child or children...don't allow them to indulge in such playful activities... 


Has a mother’s heart changed from that of our previous generation?

No logic can say about the change, for, a Mother is a Mother and she has the same love and affection and takes the same care in nurturing her baby as she had done years ago and will be doing so in the many, many years to come.

This is all for the Sojne Phool (drumstick flowers) and Pata (leaves) that is cooking in my kitchen, bringing back some of my childhood memories. Memory recalls the Sojne gaach/drumstick tree that bore the sojne dantha/drumsticks and how the phool and the pata were cooked in the kitchen as they were thought to be very good for the health. It did taste a bit bitter but the Ma always said, “teto khele sorir bhalo thake aar pete bodo bodo kencho hoi na (something bitter to taste is good for health and keeps away the worms from invading the stomach)”.

Like or dislike, just gulp it down to make sure Ma’s sideways glance did see that everyone ate it.

Having got some fresh sojne phool and saag I made a side-dish that is so easy to make…adds lots of nutritional value…but then rightly or wrongly said, “aap ruchi khana, par ruchi pehenne”…likes and dislikes, thumbs up and thumbs down will always be there.
It was so nice to get the fresh flowers and leaves.

Fresh Sojne Phool aar Pata/Fresh drumstick flowers and leaves
Firstly, separated the flowers (can cook only the flowers) and the leaves (the leaves were inviting, so added them) from the stalk.

Washed and let the water drain out completely.

There is no need of chopping these flowers and leaves and so let them sit while work is in progress.

Cubed one large brinjal/egg plant…only veggie added to it.

Placing a kadhai on the stove added about 1 tsp. of oil.

Next broke a dry red chilli and added to the hot oil.

Then the brinjal/eggplant cubes went in.

A minute and two of stir fry and then dumped in the flowers and leaves that had been in waiting.

A good mix-up and a cover to let it cook for another couple of minutes or a little more.
Now time to add salt, a pinch of haldi and a little red chilli powder.

Again some mixing of all the ingredients and then the cover on the kadhai to let it cook on its own on slow fire. The veggies will release moisture and cook in the water it releases.

But activity must go on or else the dish will burn on the fire in the kadhai...

So in between a peep-in by lifting the lid and stirring…

And once the moisture has dried up completely, the dish is ready.

Serve as the first helping with rice…that’s how Bengalis eat saag and bhaat first (smiles).

Food value, it has lots of protein, vitamins and minerals…and this is what a simple sojne/drumstick tree can give.

Special note:

Can also add some freshly grated coconut just before removing from the stove-top.

Drumstick flower vadas are easy to make. Take some fresh flowers, add some besan and spices like a pinch of haldi and red chilli powder, salt and make a tight batter. Give round flat shape to each vada and then deep-fry them. Serve hot with rice and dal.

The leaves can be cooked with mung dal. Very healthy and good for those having constipation problem.

© gouri guha 2015