India has a rich vegetable heritage and we should be proud of it. Even with most of the vegetables available throughout the year, there are still so many things I'd like to see in Bombay. For instance in winter, the north gets to make kanji- a fermented drink with black carrots and the south of india sees some beautiful varieties of spinach which we don't get here. But since we're in a sort of cosmopolitan-urban setting, we get some vegetables that you probably wouldn't see anywhere else in India. Most of it is thanks to Trikaya, a company that grows some funky vegetables not very far from Bombay. The rest, like the invasion of the huge tomatoes and ice berg lettuce, I would attribute to McDonald's, Subway and KFC. (If you haven't read Fast Food Nation you must).
I buy most of the non-Indian vegetables from Crawford Market. Every time you go they have something new and you probably will not find the same thing twice. The staples there are green and yellow zucchini, red and yellow bell peppers, celery, leeks, fennel, thai brinjals, birds eye chilies, avocados (when they are in season), artichokes, rainbow chard, chinese kale, lettuce varieties, cherry tomatoes, arugula and herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, chives, mint varieties. If you are lucky you will get arugula, endives, edamame, tree tomatoes and a few things I have in pictures below...
Cherry Tomatoes I found in the Ghatkopar East Market
Here are a few things I found...
Romanesco Broccoli/ Cauliflower
I had no idea this even existed till I saw it sitting on the counter. It's so beautiful it almost hypnotizes you. I couldn't stop looking at it all the way home. Apparently "the meristems of this cauliflower/broccoli form a logarithmic spiral". If you want to see symmetry in nature (without the use of hallucinogens) then go find one of these.
It tastes a lot like a broccoli but is not as strong in flavour. I'm sure kids who don't like broccoli will like this better. It cooks much like a broccoli so you can steam it, or eat it raw even.
I love purple, it is my favourite colour. So this is something I couldn't not buy. There's so much to do with cauliflower and I was so confused what to do with it. I finally ended up putting it in a quiche. I have even found Orange Cauliflower on one occasion.
When you watch too much of Masterchef Australia or TLC, you will want to go and find those vegetables they use and make their dishes look so pretty. These again were at Crawford Market a few weeks ago. I roasted them with other root vegetables and a dressing of EVOO and balsamic vinegar...divine! The leaves were garnishes on many salads over the week.
A few notes on where to buy:
These days every vegetable guy has broccoli, avocados, celery and the red and yellow Bell Peppers. But they do sell it at double the price. If you have the time and energy to go all the way to Crawford Market, then you absolutely must because the produce is at its freshest there. And always be prepared with some extra bags to bring back all the thing that you didn't plan to buy but bought anyway.