Vegetables play an intrinsic role in our food, but seldom get their due. And more so in recent years. Many factors, including the growth of supermarkets and convenience stores, have led to a monumental decrease in the variety of vegetables and dishes made with them that we consume. We also tend to eat what is packaged up for us - cauliflowers without the green parts, Mooli without the leaves and more.
Indian dietetics set down eons ago, said how we ate, what we ate, when we ate it, all had a purpose. Eating local and seasonal was a large factor of the overall belief, because it was beneficial to the individual and the ecosystem. Regional Indian diets traditionally showcased a wide variety of vegetables that were consumed round the year in various ways. And we also made the most of what we had access to. Most community cuisines have recipes that use up vegetable stems, leaves, peels and other bits, dry, pickle and preserve surplus produce because traditionally cuisines used up as much as they could, making the most of the flavour and nutrition in all parts of the plant. That is why terms like 'food waste' and root to tip did not exist. With Subzi Tarkari Day, let us rediscover together the traditional wisdom we have in Indian Cuisine.