Cooking with fresh blooms just picked from your backyard has always been something to look forward too. Creating some exotic on your lunch table is nothing new. Eating florets or flowers is nothing new and so is the cooking. This has been happening since ages. Be it the humble rose, chameli, marigold, banana bloom, hibiscus, or even the lesser known moringa to exotic names like lilac, tulip, violet they are just don’t decorate the table anymore. Going back to Ayurveda one can track down traditions and cultures where the concept of gets reference. 

Pumpkin flower

Sneha Saikia, Northeast cuisine expert says “We in Assam eat varieties of flowers like Moringa flowers, Banana flower along with Pumpkin, Agasthi or Bok phool , papaya flowers , Roselle , coral jasmine or xewali phool, Harsingar and  more. One of my popup was exclusively themed around edible flowers. Each dish in the menu saw flowers in some form or the other like adding Roselle or Tengamora to dal and pork, Bodos makes Khar (an alkaline dish) with papaya flowers, Moringa flowers were stir fried with duck eggs. Adding lemon flowers in mashed potatoes or Aloo pitika in Assamese gives that distinct aroma to the dish. In our Tea culture too we often make Roselle tea by boiling few petals in water and honey that acts as a sweetener. Not to miss the Xewali phool or coral jasmine that’s eaten as Khar. I drop few fresh ones in dal to get a beautiful aroma. All these flowers are highly medicinal and a common ingredient in Assamese cuisine”. 

The Ni’matnama – a 15th century recipe book mentions in detail how variety of flowers, including roses, jasmine, water lilies, champa, jujube and more can put to a variety of culinary uses – From brewing to fragrances. Edible flowers whether sprinkled on a salad, candied for a cake, and cooked to make a main course dish it surely has that ambrosial touch to the seasonal entertaining.

Edible flowers are those which can be consumed safely. Most of these flowers have also been known to have medicinal qualities and also act as natural detoxifier for our body. Be it hibiscus, lilac, marigold, it’s their bitter sweet taste that uplifts dish. Edible flowers are seen enjoyed as a main dish, side dish, incorporated into salads, topped in smoothie bowls, or added to a cocktail. Talking about south Indian or Bengali cuisine both sees the extensive use of flowers. Be it kumro phool bhaja, (pumpkin flower fritter), bauk phool bhaja,  mochar chop (banana flower cutlet) or Mochar Ghonto to name a few they are fast catching up the vegan world too. The secret to cook with these delicate beauties keep your dish simple and don’t overpower with spices as they have their individualistic flavour.

Dal with shiuli flower

 

India’s love with edible flowers have been there through centuries. The list of indigenous edible flowers that’s seen in Indian cooking is almost endless with few unique ones like Sanai buds, flowers of the phog (a desert shrub), jivanti, mahua or the shiuli (night jasmine) that have stayed more regional. 

Here’s a simple recipe for moringa flower fritters and they are supposed to be great  energy booster, and also helps to treat inflammation. 


Moringa flower fritters

These flowers have a very delicate texture and a bitter taste.

INGREDIENTS  Serves-4

    Moringa flower 1 cup

    Gram-flour 1 cup

    Half chopped onion

    Garlic cloves 5

    Green Chili 2-3

    Salt

    Oil to fry

    Water

Method-

    Wash the flowers very properly and finely chop them. 

    Make a paste of garlic and green chili.

    In a bowl take the flower, gramflour, chopped onion, garlic and chilli. Add few moringa leaves if you feel. Add salt to taste.

    Add water and make a paste with thick consistency. Heat oil and then slowly drop spoonful of batter into oil. Cook at medium heat and flip. Cook until done and serve hot.

    You can eat it as a starter with some chutney or even with rice and daal