Chinchinge Posto (Snakegourd in Poppyseeds Paste)

10:50 AM

Everyday cooking, lately there is a lot of fuss around it. I have been hearing a lot about how time consuming, tiring and intimidating it is and whenever I have tried to argue, I have been dismissed by saying many things. Trust me I cook not only because I love to  but mainly because I care.
And with little organising and planning it is very easy to whip up a simple, nourishing meal for your family. On a daily basis I try and experiment to bring in variation and do not do elaborate dishes unless and untill guests are involved. There is no rule, nothing is right or wrong. Good food comes in all textures and colours and but best one is the one that has been prepared with fresh, local and seasonal produce with lots of love and care, preferably following our own regianal recipes. which are precious ancient wisdom, that has been tested by time and have been prepared with lots of thought to suit our climate, body type and values.

For example this humble Chichinge or Snake gourd. It's an native to Indian continent and lesser known in the West.  There was a time when people would buy and cook them regularly during summer. But now in the cities unless and until you are a cooking enthusiast they don't get any place in the weekly grocery bag. But this humble vegetable has a significant amount of fiber, vitamin and other nutrients. 

In Ayurveda and  in other Asian countries, traditionally they are being used to treat many ailments. It stimulates the liver, aids urination and detoxifies the body and also works as a mild laxative perfect for children. It miraculously work as a natural cure to reduce fever or as mild expectorant. 

Yes there are many more superfood found in our traditional way of life other than turmeric latte. Do not let the magazines decide what is hot and what is not. Rather going back to your roots and asking your parents would do you a sea of good...not to mention to save the fortune you spend in the name of speciality health food.

Here is a simple recipe that will show how to cook it very quickly. Will post one more recipe tomorrow.

Chichinge posto
(serves 4)

Snake Gourd: 2 or 3 (chopped 4 cups)
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil/ white oil: 4 tsp
Green chillies: 2-3 or as per your heat tolerance
Poppy seed paste: 3 tbsp (made from 4 tbsp poppy seeds in a mixer or mortar and pestle)
Sugar: 1/3 tsp

Using your knife lightly scrape the powdery skin of the chichinge. Just run it up and down and the upper layer will come off. Discard the ends of the vegetable and cut it lengthwise. Now slice each piece as finely as possible. The finer you slice the quicker it cooks. Wash under running water, Drain and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan till smoking. Rub the nigella seeds in your palm and add to the oil along with chopped (or slit) green chillies. Cook for a few seconds till you get a nice aroma. Now add the sliced chichinge, salt and turmeric. Mix and cover. Keep the flame medium and stir in between.

Initially a lot of water will come out, let the veggie get cooked in that juice. After 8-10 minutes when the veggie looks dry and almost cooked add the poppy seeds paste. Mix and on medium flame cook by stirring till the raw smell is gone. Add the sugar and adjust seasoning.

Serve hot with steamed rice or roti.

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