Kshemakutuhalam is no doubt a wonder book … It makes us wonder, how can people be so confident about cooking some amazing stuff with even few spices available… Most of us fail to give that precise taste and flavour despite of having lot more ingredients which were available back then in medieval India… We have new additions to kitchens like carrots, bell-peppers, green chillies, tomatoes and many many more which weren’t exactly Indian in origin..
Well, moving forward, we had finished the part of the eight chapter which described about leaves used in cooking… Next there is an elaborate account of flowers used in food…. Take a look….
1. Kareera kusuma – kareera is commonly called as, Capparis decidua, scientifically…. It generally is a plant which grows in dry regions.. these flowers are dried in sun and then kept dipped in water for a week… Once softened, it is fried in oil along with salt and asafoetida. It is then kept in buttermilk and gruel, later mixed with besan… Author says, that only people who have worshiped god gets to taste this dish…
Kareera is pungent in taste and hence decreases kapha… It is appetizing and is in general conducive for health..
2. Kutaja pushpa – kutaja which is commonly called as Holarrhena antidysenterica, is a very frequently used drug in Ayurveda… It’s flower is used in cooking as well.. A bunch of kutaja flowers are taken and steamed in madhura kanjika (sweet gruel) for one muhurta kaala i.e. approximately 45 minutes. Then it is fried in oil and added with asafoetida and Salt. This type of cooking makes the dish appetizing. Flower of kutaja is constipating, is cold in potency and light for digestion. It is good for people with bleeding tendencies, fever and even many more health conditions.
3. Shobhanjana – Root, fruit and flowers of the drumstick are used for cooking too… These parts are fried in oil, steamed with water and then added with powdered saindhava salt and asafoetida. This dish improves digestion.. Any part of drumstick is very hot in potency and pungent. It decreases kapha. It is good for conditions like krimi (work infestations) too. Ofcourse who doesn’t know the nutrition and health value of the drumstick fruits and leaves too..
4. Madhuka pushpa – commonly called as ‘butter tree’ in India, this plant is used for many medicines and is considered very conducive for health.. A big flower of madhuka is selected, it is seperated from its stalk and pollen.. It is simply fried in ghee and sugar until well cooked, and add it with cumin seeds. This flower is said to be jeevaniya i.e. very good for general health. Flower of madhuka, is known to improve strength and growth. It decreases vata and pitta. It is heavy for digestion, still appetizing. It is also good for heart health…
Flowers have been carefully explained with their appropriate qualities in mind… Few more to go… Until then ….
Stay tuned !!! Happy time!!!