Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Long lost native nutrition.

One of the plants that grows easily in my balcony farm  ;) braving limitation like lack of sunlight and pigeon menace is Pirandai, a highly wonderful medicinal and native food plant. It is a creeper and easily grows in pots even with less soil and nutrition but its medicinal benefits are immense. Called  veldt grape in english and since it is good for treating in fractures ,sprains and for bone health in Siddha medicine, it is also called Devil's back bone and Hadjod in Hindi.  Many of my friends in my gardening group call it orthopaedic doctor:)

I remember my grandfather making a thogaiyal( chutney) out of this especially on special ocassions when he would take charge of sourcing vegetables, chopping and helping my grandmom and mom in kitchen chores. It was then available in local markets.  He would personally supervise during family lunch that everyone ate atleast a morsel of thogaiyal mixed with hot rice and ghee. Pirandai was considered best medicinal food that helped prevent and cure many disorders like intestinal, gastric, menstrual and treating ear ache, ulcers, sprains,Osteoporosis, regulating cholestorol and it is was also supposed to be an appetizer. 

Not easily available in our local markets anymore, i grew this more for nostalgia and the creeper also has an ornamental look  with its tendrils, nodes, less foliage and lengthy stems. Today  morning, I decided to break the tender pirandai and make a thogaiyal out of it and also bracing up for a war on the dining table with my teens.

Traditional and local vegetables and some forages which easily grow in our climate and have immense health benefits  were a part of daily diet in our elders lives. Most of it has been diluted or lost with time. If we don't safeguard or spread knowledge about the heritage and native nutrition, the value of these and our traditional vegetables will not move beyond our village markets.  Unless money can be made from local vegetable and millet  production they will disappear and so will our traditional native cuisine. We will lose them to the zucchinis, bokchoy  and quinoas .As it is, we only find such english and foreign vegetables in the market today. 

Today's inspiration: the long slender pirandai 

day 3/5



  1. Asha,
    I am also very much interested in our traditional vegetables and the wisdom of our elders in cooking. I am so happy whenever I find similar people. As always you are an inspiration. What is the kannada name for this? let me know if possible.

    Thank You,

    1. Happy to note you are interested in native cuisine too Veena. This is called mangaravalli or sanduballi in kannada. If you stay in Bangalore, you can find a cutting in Lalbagh nursery in the herb section.

    2. Thank You so much Asha! Will visit Lalbagh nursery.

  2. Once again, much educated. I had no clue what pirandai was. I now have to demand a pirandai thogaiyal from my mother. I presume you make it out of the stems.

    What did the teens have to say ?

    1. Yes, made out of its stems, it has to de- veined and peeled( outer skin). Only its flesh is used. It is itchy like yam, so sesame oil has to be smeared on hands before handling it. The teens give in always after ranting, raving and sulking...even otherwise it gets into their system camouflaged through other dishes. LOL

  3. I love pirandai thugayal.