Friday, September 4, 2009

Pesky weed and Blood Pressure

A long pending post that I planned to publish in April is finally here.



"A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s so true. Don’t you agree?

Wondering what am I talking about? , It's about the most annoying weed that grows in lawn, the Dandelion. Though it is considered as a pesky weed, it has lot of culinary and medicinal uses in Ayurvedic as well as in herbal treatments.

The name Dandelion is derived from its French name "Dents-De-Lion" given for its serrated leaves that resemble "Lion's Tooth".

Why to talk about this weed now? There's a reason. Mr.B was diagnosed with above-normal blood pressure and his better half is on the quest to find food that lowers it and dandelion green is one among them. I had never eaten dandelion or thought it's edible until I did research on food that lowers blood pressure. It is one of the natural diuretics (the only potassium-sparing diuretic) that help to get rid of excess fluids in the body without potassium loss, thus helps in lowering high blood pressure. They are also rich in Vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium.

There are several mythologies/folklore about Dandelions. It’s called Sheppard’s Clock as its flowers open about 5 am and closes at 8 pm. I have vivid memories about dandelions as a kid in elementary school. One, who succeeds in blowing all the seeds in one shot, would get the highest marks in the class and so forth.

Dandelion greens can be steamed or sautéed and the tender greens can be eaten raw in salads. My favorite farmer's market carries fresh Dandelion greens. I tried different dishes with Dandelion greens as I would cook any other greens.
Dandelions are mildly astringent and has slightly bitter flavor (we love bitter vegetables and greens) like arugula.





Ingredients

Dandelion - 1 bunch (washed and cut)
Toor dal - 1 cup
Tomato - 1 (quartered)
Onion - 1 (cut into big pieces)
Green chilies - 3
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt
Water - 3 cups
Tamarind
Puree - gooseberry size

For Tadka:

Oil - 1 tbs
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa Dal - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chilies- 3(broken into pieces)
Curry Leaves

Method

Wash the dandelions and chop them into pieces. Add toor dal, tomato, onion, ginger,
garlic and green chilies to the greens and pressure cook it for about 15 minutes. I usually keep one whistle that takes about 7 minutes and keep it in simmer for about 5minutes. Once the pressure is released, mash the dal with a wooden masher or hand blender. Add salt and tamarind puree and cook for few more minutes. Heat oil (add 1 tsp of ghee for flavor) in a pan, add mustard seeds and the rest of tadka ingredients. Add the hot seasoning to the dal.

Serve hot with Rice/ Roti.


Another Version:

Heat oil in the pan. Sauté the onions and dandelion. Add the cooked dal, chili powder and salt. Add little tamarind puree and water. Let it cook for some time. Do the tadka along with broken chilies and add the hot seasoning to the dal. I prefer this when I have already cooked dal in my fridge.


2 comments:

Kay said...

thats great. i did not that you can use dandalion for cooking. where can u get it? is it safe to eat the one which grows in the backyard? how can i identify them just to make sure i am picking the rite one. please post picture of dandelion if you have and that will be helpful.

Passion Cooking said...

Hi Kay,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I usually buy the Dandelion greens from Route 9 farmer's market. You can try in Route130 Farm Market, Hightstown (next to atlanta bread store). I wouldn't use the dandelion greens that grows in the backyard for two reasons . One is the false identification of the plant and second is the endless toxic sprays that we use to maintain the lawn.

Regards,

Meena