New Delhi, Oct 26 (Life) The fast pace of life and the economic downturn have affected the diet, taste preferences, and variety of Indian cuisine in the past decade. And chefs, farmers, and experts point out that it’s also up to consumers who need to accept, reflect, and take action in bringing back desi vegetables. Chef Zacharias, muses, expresses the hope that these practices may not be learned.
One area of post-epidemic concern is how social restrictions have affected food, especially for those with limited access to nutrients. “How can we make the argument of making more vegetables part of the diet?” Dr. Said Pushpesh Pant, renowned food historian. “About thirty years ago, five rupees bought five kilos of fresh green peas. Today they cost more than a hundred! Even the rich mean the price of the watch, so what do people in the lower income bracket do? The solution according to him could be based on options like Chandigarh farmer mandis or cooperatives, bringing vegetables to the center.
As solutions go, supporting farmers, cutting out the middleman, and encouraging fair trade is the way forward. This model is also being tested around the country. For example, Spudnik Farms, a network of Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms brings pesticide-free, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables to consumers in Bangalore through a subscription model.
“Our model has gained popularity, especially in the last two years during this pandemic. It’s convenient and allows people to engage in proper nutrition,” explains founder Sumeet Kaur. This trend was confirmed in the Godrej Food Trends Report 2022 which showed that 34.9 percent of experts opted for food subscriptions by and trusted sources.
Indian food culture is rooted in vegetarianism and its ethos. Roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, pods and seeds are consumed during the plant life cycle. Even the peel and shavings are used to be thrown away. And what is not edible turns into compost for the garden. In fact, 36.5 percent of food experts in the Godrej Food Trends Report 2022 support non-toxic cooking, another encouraging trend that will gain momentum in the coming years.
Interestingly, flowers are eaten, from pumpkin and onion to neem, tamarind, kachnar, banana, and others, some are eaten for taste, others for nutrients and it is not uncommon.
“In the North East, we eat a lot of flowers,” says Assamese chef Gitika Saikia, a pioneer in the field who has included indigenous plants in her pop-up menu for nearly a year. ten years ago. “In Assam, Indian sorrel and Roselle (Tenga Mora) flowers are used to make fish curry. In Manipur, mustard flowers are made into a bitter soup and eaten for their medicinal properties.
40 percent of food professionals involved in the Godrej Food Trends Report 2022 predict that menus will continue to be plant-based.
Excess material is dried, frozen, stored or digested depending on the weather. Washing vegetables is a practice that is followed in many areas. “A hundred years ago, we couldn’t predict floods, so people were always prepared. Everything from tomatoes to parwal and karela and even onions and potatoes are cut and dried. Like many green vegetables, some of the powder has to be crushed to be cooked with rice water as a substitute for dal when it is expensive,” Shwetha Mohapatra, Chief Creative Officer, and food essay.
“In Chhattisgarh, our tradition is to dry Sukhsisaag in the winter, everything from tomatoes, brinjal, broad beans and ji to Tiwra bhaji or green peas which are boiled in hot water and cook it soon,” reminds local food columnist Garima Tiwari. And because drying changes the textures and flavors of the vegetables, this adds another style to the vegetables. Dried vegetables have a following, from HokhSyun of Kashmir, Sukhsa of Uttarakhand, and Ker Sangri of Rajasthan to Vathals of the South!
(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)