If you see my Instagram or Twitter Profile, it reads Writer | Editor | Home Cook | Blogger | Psychologist | Reader. And if you ask me what my favourite food-related activity is, I’d say cooking and working with ingredients. Fresh produce, aromatic spices and cooking with them gives me an adrenaline rush. Combining the ingredients and bringing out the best in them – roasting, grinding, sautéing, tasting, mixing and matching various vegetables and meat, gives me a high like no other. That’s why when Godrej Nature’s Basket offered to send across some ingredients for me to work with, I jumped at the opportunity. My very own Mystery Box (Masterchef style).
So, GNB sent across some Indigenous produce, some of which I had to actually research about before trying them. There were mustard micro greens, sunflower greens, Gotu Kola (Ek Paan), and Kohlrabi (Ganth Gobi or Knol Khol). The first thing I did was taste everything, except the Kohlrabi.
1. Mustard Microgreens
The mustard micro greens were the most delicate of the lot and I knew they had to be used up first. So, I prepared my first ever poached eggs on toast and topped them with the delicious micro greens. They added a hint of pungency to the toast and the simple preparation of the poached eggs (Heston-style) allowed that to stand out.
I couldn’t figure out the sunflower greens till I posted a query on Instagram and Nikhil Merchant from Nonchalant Gourmand helped me with the name. By then, I’d figured out that these greens have a velvety texture, are quite luscious and could carry flavours well. So, I combined them with my favourite Balsamic Tomato and Celery Salad, which complimented them quite well.
3. Kohlrabi and Gotu Kola
These were my main ingredients – because I had to make them heroes of their dishes. I had tasted the Gotu Kola and found it to be quite astringenty in taste with a raw texture. That would perfectly as a salad of its own.
The Kohlrabi, on the other hand, was a tough nut to crack. I went through several articles online and finally decided on a puree to go with some Paprika Roasted Chicken and the Gotu Kola Salsa. The recipe for both are as below:
- Combine all the ingredients and serve cool.
- Peel, wash and cut the kohlrabi and its leaves.
- Put the kohlrabi (minus the leaves) into the water and boil well till just soft.
- In the meanwhile, sauté the chopped garlic, chilli and onion till soft
- Now, grind this with the leaves and add the kohlrabi with a little water to a smooth puree.
- Serve with some paprika roasted chicken/paneer and the Gotu Kola Salsa on the side.
After the meal, some of the puree was left over. To this, I added some freshly chopped onion and lime juice and served it like a gojju (in Konkani) or chutney the next day. Turned out that that kohlrabi and lime juice went together beautifully!
Having done reviews of all kinds – product and restaurants, I must say my favourite most one is experimenting with produce and spices! And all this has inspired me to do is figure out more indigenous produce and recipes from India and work with them!