I am trying to make the most of all that monsoon has to offer. Being here in my hometown I am trying to cook with all the fruits and vegetables that are in season.
In my post on Colocasia leaves, I was talking about all the greens and leafy vegetables that grow wild in monsoon. One such plant is Thagatte Soppu/greens. It’s also knows as Thajanku or Sajanku. (After trying to get the right name for Curry Fruit, I give up on my ambition of finding out English names of local vegetables/fruits. I am just going to go with the local names unless one of you can tell me what they are called in English!) Thagatte grows only in monsoon in wet areas. It’s completely wild, plants have oval round leaves which are opened out the whole day close up after sunset.
Going Thagatte picking was one of our favorite things to do as kids. With rains that never stop, it was an adventure to actually venture out. I remember looking out for these in wet, slippery grass and filling our bags as much as we can with tender springs of these greens. This time I went with my daughter to pick these and sure enough she too loved it!
It’s traditionally cooked with jackfruit seeds (which are also in season) into a dry playa/stir fry, ground into a lite yogurt and coconut based gravy called Tambli or added to steamed rice cakes with spices called Pathrode.
My mom cooks them with potatoes. She used a distinct spice mixture of cumin and coriander seeds which she used only for these greens. Thagatte Soppu has a slightly bitter taste and is fibrous and quite tough (unlike most greens) even after cooked. To balance out the bitterness it’s always cooked with some jaggery for sweetness. Creamy potato pairs well with the hard chewy greens. Like most other Indian stir fries and curries this too is always served with some rice.
Being in my home town in monsoon and not cooking with these greens would have been totally unfair! So here is a simple spicy stir fry recipe with cumin and coriander seeds to bring back memories.
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px" color="#b36f98"]Ingredients:[/typography]
- Thagatte greens 2-3 cups
- Potatoes cubed 1 cup
- Oil 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds 1tbsp
- Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
- Red chili powder/cayenne 1tbsp
- Jaggery 2tbsp
- Salt 1tsp
Wash and clean the greens and remove all the stems. Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds till fragrant and crush or grind coarsely.
Heat oil in a pan and add the ground cumin, coriander and red chili powder. Fry for a minute and add the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and cook till potatoes look slightly cooked. Add the greens and the jaggery and a little bit of water. At this stage please taste to make sure the seasoning are according to your taste. You can add more jaggery or salt. Add about ¼ cup of water and let it cook in low flame. Cook till the water evaporates and potatoes are cooked. Serve hot with rice.