Monsoon Special Gharbandi: An Edible Green From The Sahyadris
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Gharbandi – also known as dinda or mordini or bandicoot berry – is a wild and uncultivated edible green that grows abundantly in the forests of the Sahyadri range. With bright green leaves that have ridged edges, the flavour of this monsoon vegetable has a mellow bitter aftertaste and resembles the texture of amaranth leaves, once cooked. The wild, hyperlocal green leaf can be used in any recipes that contain spinach, as a replacement.

Cooking gharbandi with minimal spices, or adding it to soups, stews, sabzis or simply sautéing it in some oil to wilt, makes for a great accompaniment to scrambled eggs or grilled fish. It is also known to have many medicinal properties, along with being highly nutritional as it strengthens joints and also purifies blood. Typically found in main vegetable markets between mid-June to early August, the roots and leaves of the plant are used for medicinal treatments to relieve muscle spasm, soreness and body pains.

The stems and other parts of the plant are enriched with gallic acid and quercetin – both of which are known to be excellent to treat itchy skin and diarrhoea. Consuming a decoction of these leaves boiled in water is ideal especially for pre and post-natal women. Including gharbandi in everyday recipes is one of the best ways to harness as much nutrition of this hyperlocal monsoon vegetable. If you happen to get your hands on a bunch, make this recipe for a delicious gharbandi dal to enjoy with rice.

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  • 1 cup toor dal, soaked
  • 1 bunch gharbandi leaves
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • Salt, to taste


  • Soak the dal for 30 minutes and rinse it thoroughly to set aside. Meanwhile, chop the gharbandi leaves into thin strips.
  • Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they begin to splutter, tip in the minced ginger-garlic, followed by the sliced onion.
  • Fry everything until aromatic and the onions are lightly browned, before tipping in the tomatoes. Add the turmeric powder and lower the flame, to cook the tomatoes until soft and mushy.
  • Add the chopped leaves and sauté until they are wilted. Season with some salt and add the dal to mix well and combine.
  • Pour in the water and bring it to a roaring boil before turning down the flame and adjusting seasoning. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • Once cooled lightly, whisk the dal to make it creamy and serve warm with some rice or rotis.