Many greens and vegetables have vanished today from the market because they lack either distinguishing taste, or easy availability. I have heard from mother, how Taro, Drumsticks, Radish and many other lesser known greens that grew aplenty without plantation cost provided nutritional supplement the middle class and poor households in those days could not have afforded otherwise. Some vegetables like Kantavli (Spine gourd) are suddenly being acknowledged and awaited for their medicinal value and delectable taste resulting in their heavy valuation while others are living a forsaken and ignored existence, but still fighting to survive in the market.
I had noticed these purple reddish colored, thick stems many a times, very passively. I remember doing some general inquiry on them when I first noticed, and then somehow my brain categorized them as a lesser priority. Last week, I suddenly became curious on its ever availability and thought that there must be good amount of consumer for it that they are so much visible in the market. Virar’s locals, mostly honoring the nostalgic value, have not abandoned many simple veggies in this new modern times and this red stems, probably overgrown Lal Math (let me know if they have a different name) are testimony to it.
This time I decided to buy this veggie, and cook it. My mother called this one as dethachi bhaji and cooked them with vaal (field beans). They somewhat smelled like taro leaves while cooking, were like drumsticks/sugarcane in texture, and tasted like a cooked starchy, soft tuber. You have to be careful about the skin while eating, if it’s a thick overgrown stem, even a small shred is pointed and sharp, and can hurt throat if you by mistake gulp it. We did not use the leaves, they didn’t seem to be tender. The Aamti tasted delicious.
Vaal-Deth Aamti, Mother’s Recipe
1 big stem of lal math, 1 cup field beans, Asafoetida, methi crushed seeds- half tea spoon, green chillies -2, jeera 1 t.spoon, curry leaves, red chilli powder- 1 tea spoon turmeric powder 1 tea spoon Goda-kala Masala -1 tb. spoon, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, besan 1 tb spoon, tamarind, 1 medium potato. Salt and jaggery to taste.
Cut the stem in pieces, peel the hard skin off. Boil Field beans and the stem pieces together. Heat oil, add jeera, Asafoetida, methi seeds, green chilies, curry leaves and let them splutter. Add peeled & sliced potato and let it cook. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, tamarind water(according to amount of sourness you prefer)and the boiled field beans-stem pieces. Make a smooth paste of 1 tb spoon besan and 2 tb. spoon water and add to the curry, boil 4-5 minutes then add goda-kaala masala, coconut, salt and a little jaggery to taste. Turn off the stove and serve it with steamed rice.