Figs And It's Various Use In Indian Cuisine
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Anjeer, or Figs, is an ancient culinary ingredient with numerous health benefits and a unique texture. One of the best sources of natural sugar, figs in sweets and desserts are considered healthy and provide an exquisite taste to the dishes it is added to. Figs have existed on this earth for ages. Bible mentions that Adam and Eve used to wear fig leaves. Cleopatra, The Ancient Egyptian Queen, loved figs in her daily diet. In the region of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, figs are widely produced; however, in India, figs are primarily grown in Gujarat, Kashmir, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

Anjeer is used in many Indian recipes to prepare delicious sweets, jams, and chutneys. Anjeer ka halwa is a fantastic preparation made with desi ghee, khoya, and dry fruits like almonds to give it nourishment and taste. Anjeer ki Barfi or Anjeer khoya rolls are some of the unique varieties of sweets on display at the most prominent sweet shops across India.

Use Anjeer on a shahi tukda for added flavour and texture, or prepare an Anjeer kalakand, Anjeer Basundi, Anjeer Pak, Anjeer ke Ladoo, Anjeer stuffed modak or an Anjeer kheer; Anjeer will surely provide the royal touch to all Indian desserts, especially those made with milk. One of the best Anjeer desserts you can try is the Anjeer ice cream. At the Mozamzai Market (Heritage market for fruits) is where the ‘Famous ice creams’ is located; as the name suggests, it is one of the most popular ice cream shops serving natural homemade ice creams. Try out the Anjeer ice cream at this legendary shop, and you will fall in love with it. Anjeer Kulfi and Anjeer Milkshakes are also delectable options to include calcium-rich figs in delicious desserts. Fresh Anjeers are used to prepare healthy and delicious curries in various regional cuisines of India. In Bengal, Anjeers are called ‘Dumur’, and ‘Dumur Dolma’ or a ‘Dumur Bhaja' is a cherished recipe. Figs, known as ‘Athikai’ in Tamil Nadu, is an ingredient of interest. The fresh and nutritious figs are cooked with green moong dal to prepare a healthy and flavourful ‘Athikai kootu curry’. A fantastic traditional Tamil dish, ‘Poriyal’ is prepared with figs (Athikai) and potatoes (Urlai).

Mughlai dishes are ideal preparations to put figs to delectable culinary use. Anjeer Korma, a royal preparation where fried figs are rehydrated and cooked in a rich Mughlai korma gravy, is worth preparing for a special dinner at home, cooked along with chicken and let the slow cooking, and rich Indian spices play its magic, with Anjeer providing sweetness and the crunch not many dishes can boast of. Similarly, use Anjeer to stuff the koftas, cook in rich Indian cashew-based gravy and leave your guests surprised as they bite into the kofta. Give the kebabs a healthy crunch using Anjeer. Be it a ‘seekh kebab’, or better if it is the tawa fried ‘Shaami kebabs’, Anjeer kebabs or tikkas are a sheer delight.

Cooking with figs has various health benefits, as it is rich in calcium and vitamins and is a healthy source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. Thereby making it a combative ingredient against osteoporosis, helping control high blood pressure, and aids digestion. Consuming figs instead of sugar in desserts can be helpful, especially in controlling diabetes.

With many health benefits, a delectable taste, a unique texture, and a naturally sweet flavour, figs have significant usage in kitchens. Indian cuisines have used it to good measure and produced delicious dishes. We wish that as the newer generation of chefs is putting Indian cuisine on the world map, with ingredient-first restaurants ruling the roost in the international arena, figs or Anjeer be used more and in a newer attractive way, creating dishes which highlight the ingredient, as well as the great cuisines of India. Let's make some interesting new dishes with figs this winter, or try some of the dishes mentioned in this article and enjoy a healthy and tasty winter.

Sidharth Bhan Gupta, Founder of 361 Degrees Hospitality, is a Hospitality / Food and Beverage / Restaurant Consultant, Travelling across India on a Cultural and Culinary Exploration.