And what about dishes made of vegetables like prickly colocasia leaves and roots, itchy and slightly bitter gawar, itchy suran(Indian Yam), the bitter karela (Bitter Gourd/Melon) and the not so bitter kartola (spiny bitter melon), bitter methi (fenugreek) pungent and smelly mooli (white radish)? Not to forget the exotic and often ‘snob’ value attached to vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, kohl rabi, celeriac, rutabaga, watercress, parsnip, et al, which tread that thin and dangerous line between tasty and nasty! Why do we eat them if they have the potential to cause such discomfort?
In the course of my quest for answers, I have placed one vegetable dish that is on my ‘must make’ list. The dish is the Bengali Shoukto- made with bitter gourd, radish, cluster beans, brinjal and pungent mustard. I want to make Shoukto to discover the redeeming feature of this dish that might sound - to some who cannot venture beyond bhindi and aloo- just a tad less vile than the magic potion brewed by Macbeth’s three witches.
Just like I want to show off- ok, maybe only show will do- my baked spicy arbi wedges. Arbi or colocasia, is one such vegetable, which for some or all of the reasons above, I keep turning to. Despite some horrible childhood memories of severe itching in the throat after I unsuspectingly dug into some of these yummy guilt-free chips!
Baked Spicy Arbi (Colocasia/ Taro) Wedges
2-3 tbsp coarse chickpea flour (ladu besan) (fine besan will also do- just add some semolina or bread curmbs)
½ tsp garam masala (or more)
½ tsp amchur (dry mango) powder (it helps mitigate the itching caused by calcium oxalate in the colocasia
Ajwain powder or dried oregano leaves to taste
Chilli powder to taste
A pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
Oil spray or 1 tbsp oil