THE KACHNAR TREE or ORCHID TREE
The kachnar tree is known as the Orchid tree, Mountain Ebony, Pink Butterfly tree, Bois de Boeuf, and the Purple Orchid tree. Its Latin name is Bauhinia variegata. In Indian mythology it is associated with Shiva one of the principle Hindu gods.
It has many uses in traditional medicine on the subcontinent. Its bark is used as an astringent and a tonic. It is good for skin diseases, and has been used to treat leprosy. A decoction of the bark is used to cure dysentery, while the dried buds are used to cure diahorrea. A decoction made from the root of the kachnar is said to prevent people becoming obese. An infusion of the flower buds is good to get rid of coughs.
The kachnar tree grows all over the subcontinent, and is even to be found lining the roads in parts of the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad. The flowers of this tree vary in colour from white with pink veins to almost purple, and when in bloom it can take your breath away with its beauty and aroma.
Apart from its aesthetic value, the flower buds are considered a delicacy. They are relatively expensive as they are only available in spring for a limited period. When cooked, they taste a bit like liver. And are good with beef or as a vegetarian dish-that way you get to taste the real unadulterated flavour of this bud. You can faintly taste the perfume of the flower still captive inside the green sheath, and that is delicious. Apparently the flowers themselves are good in pakora.
In Pakistan there is a movement to plant more of these trees in an effort to help the environment, whereas in places like Florida, where these trees have been imported, they are considered a threat to the ecology.
KACHNAR SPRING MINCED MEAT
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
4 green chillies, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger root, finely chopped
½ handful mint leaves, shredded
½ handful fresh coriander leaves, shredded
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
½ cup oil
½ kilo kachnar buds
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
Add the minced meat, tomato, green chilli and all the spices, stir occasionally, and cook for about 10 mins.
Now add 2 glasses of water and the kachnar buds. Stir well then cover the pan and cook for about 30 mins. After this time, check and if there’s water left, cook for a further 5 mins.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the mint and coriander leaves. Stir well to mix, cover and leave to stand for 5 mins.
Serve and sprinkle with lemon juice if this is to your taste. (We think it improves the flavour.)
It’s good with naan, chapattis, or any other kind of bread, and our mint and yoghurt sauce (See recipe)
This has Taste and is a Treat.
a very good and beneficial article. keep it up pl.ReplyDelete
Hi Abbas, thank u very much for the post, as we all know Kanchnar Guggul is a classical Ayurvedic formula to support the glandular system, especially the thyroid. so people who are facing thyroid problems can use this recipeReplyDelete