Green Garlic – The Winter Wonder

I miss winters and being in Mumbai the only way I feel close to my favourite season is by visiting the vegetable market. All the greens call out to me from the carts and baskets and I feel like – I say this quite often – a cow or a goat. For a household of two people, I end up buying vegetables for an entire village. This season, apart from the regular sarson, bathua and spinach, I ODed on green or spring garlic also known as leela lasan.

Green Garlic/Spring Garlic/Leela Lasan

Green Garlic/Spring Garlic/Leela Lasan

Green garlic is actually young garlic which is harvested before the cloves begin to mature. It looks like a clove of garlic with long, bright green stalk and a bunch of white hair on top. Another variation, which looks more like a green onion is harvested before the plant starts to mature. The second kind is something I’ve grown up eating in the north, but the first kind is something I came across in Mumbai. The flavour of this green garlic is closer to that of mature garlic, but is much milder. It’s used widely by various communities in western India and I’ve been told that the Gujaratis and Parsis get particularly excited by this vegetable.

A few days ago I did a bit of research on the regional recipes with green garlic and found quite a few interesting uses for this winter wonder. The most well-known dish is the Gujarati undhiyu – slow cooked dish that uses a mix of winter vegetables. Then there’s simple chopped green garlic fried in ghee and eaten with thepla. Sindhis wait for entire year for this seasonal crop to make their favourite doda – jowar flour parantha with chopped green garlic in it. Food writer/blogger Ankiet Gulabani shared a Sindhi carrot and green garlic bhaji recipe which I tried, simple and full of flavours – you can check out the recipe here. A baingan bharta recipe made in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra uses both spring garlic as well as onion. Thalipeeth – a Maharashtrian flatbread made with a mix of flours rises up a few notches in flavours with green garlic added to the dough.

North has its own bunch of recipes using green garlic. Last year at a Garhwali food pop-up hosted by Rushina (of APB Cook Studio) I had sesame broth which was flavoured with lehsun ka namak – dry chutney made with salt, green garlic and green chillies. In Bihar, green peas are stir fried with onions, green chillies and stalk of green garlic to make a winter snack. Desi tamatar (tomato) and green garlic subzi is a favourite in UP. The most interesting recipe was of a laddoo – shared by a friend on Facebook – of bajra flour, ghee, green garlic and salt. Amrita (of Life Ki Recipe) took a desi twist on hummus and made a green peas and green garlic hummus. Do try it!

And then there are Bohris and Parsis who love this ingredient. Bohris make lasan baida keema which is keema covered with chopped green garlic with eggs cracked over it and cooked slowly. The Parsi dish is quite similar to the Bohri one but minus the keema. While discussing the recipes on Facebook I was invited by the awesome Kurush and Rhea Dalal over to their place for breakfast. So next day, early morning I was heading to the Dalal house in Kharghar for a breakfast of leela lasan, leelo kando ne kothmir per eeda. It was simple dish of eggs on a bed of winter greens with fresh and robust flavours.

Leela lasan, leelo kando ne kothmir per eedu

Leela lasan, leelo kando ne kothmir per eedu

Leela Lasan, Leelo Kando ne Kothmir per Eedu

Ingredients
Green garlic – 2-3 bunches
Green onion – 2 bunches
Green coriander – 1/d a bunch
Eggs – 4
Red chilli powder – a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil

Recipe
Heat oil in a pan and sauté chopped green onions for 2-3 minutes. Throw in green garlic and coriander and add salt; sautee for another 5 minutes. Now make 4 depressions in the greens and break an egg in each one. Make sure that the yolk stays intact. Cover and cook till the whites are cooked through and yolk stays runny. Season with salt and chilli powder and eat with pav or bread.

Leela lasan, leelo kando ne kothmir per eedu

Leela lasan, leelo kando ne kothmir per eedu

Do you have a traditional recipe made using green garlic? Share it With me in the comments below.

What to eat in Indore – In pictures

I was in Indore a few days ago for a mere one and a half day trip, and man what a trip it was. In just one day I covered 56 Dukaan, Nafees Biryani and Sarafa Bazaar. Here’s my Indore food trip in pictures (it’ll make you pack your bags, trust me) and a quick checklist of what to eat and where whaen you travel to Indore.

What to eat and where:
Pohe-Jalebi – Anywhere in Indore, every area has a favourite shop.
Coconut Crush – Goyal Juice, Palasia Market
Mutton Biryani – Nafees (also try the shahi tukda and haleem available on weekends)
Cheese Chutney Sandwich – Sapna Sandwich; they have multiple outlets (the chutney is amazing with the perfect blend of dhaniya and pudina)
Benjo – Johny Hot Dog, 56 Dukaan (it’s basically omelette with pav and chutney, but the guy does something with the omelette which makes it really worth trying)
Khopra Pattice – Vijay Chaat House, 56 Dukaan (deep fried potato pattice stuffed with coconut and chutney)
Cold Coffee – Lotus Hut Cafe (simple, home style, comforting)
Bhutte Ki Kachori – Kothari Market (flaky, crisp and stuffed with mashed corn)
Hare chhod aur batle ki kachori – First shop at Sarafa Market (kachori stuffed with green peas and green gram, winter special)
Bhutte ka kees – Suresh Chaat House, Sarafa Market
Garadu – Sarafa Market
Sabudana khichdi and Wafers bana ke – Sanwariya, Sarafa Market
Kabeet (wood apple) ki chutney – Sarafa Market
Dahi bade – Joshi Dahi Bada House, Sarafa Market
Anna ka paan – Rajwada
Sev ka paratha – Pandit Ji Parathewale, Gita Bhavan

Pohe-Jalebi, Sabudana Wada with Dahi, Aloo ki Kachori, Indore

Pohe-Jalebi, Sabudana Wada with Dahi, Indore

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24 Hours in Pune – What to do,see and where to eat

I think I am on to making some kind of a New Year traveling trend for myself – traveling to and exploring a new city within the country. Last year I went to Ahmedabad (read about the trip here) and 2017 started with a trip to Pune. Despite spending a couple of months in the outskirts of the city a few years ago and a few trips last year, this is the first time I saw the city like a traveller would. Here’s what you can do, see and eat if you are in the city for 24 hours.

Shaniwar Wada, Pune

Shaniwar Wada, Pune

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Kyoto in 20 Pictures

I spent 3 nights and 4 days in Kyoto and checked quite a few things off my list, but still feel I could’ve spend more days roaming and cycling around this beautiful city. Here’s my Kyoto journey in 20 pictures.

House of Geisha in Gion. Kyoto's Geisha District

House of Geisha in Gion. Kyoto’s Geisha District

There was haunting silence when we entered Gion, Kyoto‘s Geisha district in the evening. The streets were dark with tourists stealthily moving around with their cameras on the ready. We were in Hanami-koji street, the most popular area of Gion, lined with traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. According to http://www.japan-guide.com/, due to the fact that property taxes were formerly based upon street frontage, the houses were built with narrow facades only five to six meters wide, but extend up to twenty meters in from the street. Continue reading

Home-Made Canned Beans and Eggs on Toast – Watchmen: The Literary Kitchen #13

The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No
– Alan Moore, Watchmen

Rorschach, Watchmen

December 14, 2016

Woke up with a hangover. Exhausted, hungry. Nothing in the kitchen. Just some beans and eggs. Eggs, can’t eat them raw. Rorschach does, but he has more important things to worry about than cooking eggs. I look at eggs again…no, can’t eat them raw. Rummaged through the fridge and found tomatoes and some bread. Can cook myself canned beans and egg with toast. Yes, sounds good.  Continue reading