The core ingredient for this PP dish are these exotic seasonal blooms called शेवळं. (Scientific Name – Amorphophallus Commutatus… I found a website referring to this as Dragon Stalk Yam – but can’t find a single site with a recipe)…
The edible flower is definitely an ingredient in some CKP style dishes in addition to being used by Communities along the North Maharashtra Coast (Raigad to say Dahanu). But I haven’t yet located recipes using these from any other place.
The flavour is best described as very very meaty and mushroom like. A lot of people complain that it has a very strong unpleasant flavour (including Manju my wife)… But I guess it’s just one of those acquired tastes you pick up when you start having these things as a kid!
The flowers are increasingly difficult (not to add expensive) to source – a few vendors in each vegetable market especially the vendors from Vasai/Palghar will stock these.
The flower is fairly easy to clean but I’ve heard of a few people being allergic to touching them (apparently causes itching). They need to be cleaned very carefully though, since most parts of the flower are toxic… Only a part of the fleshy stamen is edible.
As you’ll see I the below pictures, the petals and stems need to be discarded. Of the remaining fleshy edible part, very carefully trim off all traces of the yellow dotted bit. Pretty as they are, a small amount of the yellow bits are capable of inducing anywhere from a mild rash / throat itch to severe itching all over the body.
When it comes to ingredients like this (growing in the marsh, available only for a few days in the year, are toxic) I keep wondering about the first bloke who decided that this ugly thing was edible!! Hats off to him/her!
Once these are cleaned, chop them up and blanch them in a cup of water with a tbsp of tamarind extract.
Now these are ready for use. If you’d like to freeze these, deep fry to a crisp in oil and store in an airtight container. They’ll easily last for a year.
To make this curry you’ll need the following ingredients –
Chopped and Blanched shewal – 1 cup
Chopped Onions – 1.5 cup
Tamarind Extract – 0.5 cup
Red chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Parbhi Sambhaar – 2 tsp
Oil – 4 tbsp
Prawns (preferably karandi) – 0.5 cup
Coconut Milk – use half a grated coconut (thin second extract 1.5 cup & thick first extract 1 cup)
Besan – 2 tbsp (dissolve in thin extract and make a slurry)
Hing – 1 pinch
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add a pinch of hing and chopped onions – sauté on a medium flame till the onions are pink (add some salt so that the water leaches out and they caramelise quicker)
Add the blanched shewale and tamarind and continue to fry stirring constantly for around 10 minutes.
Add the powdered masalas (red chilli and sambhaar) and continue frying till the oil separates and the mixture comes together.
The entire process takes around 30-40 minutes. (You could even choose to cool and freeze the mix at this point instead of just the fried shewale – will last around 6 months)
The final cooked mix should look like this.
My mom claims that making a purée of this mix intensifies the flavour and also further reduces any chances of the residual itchiness coming through – but I do know of families who use this mix as-is without caring to purée. But to follow the method used in our family, blend the mix once to a chutney like paste.
Combine this with the thin extract besan slurry and bring to a bubbling simmer.
Add the prawns and the thick extract, adjust the seasoning and simmer gently for a couple of more minutes till the prawns are cooked through.
Serve once slightly cooled with steaming white rice. Tastes best with some crisp fried fish..
My personal favourite – some crisp fried suka bombil!
Super post. Thanks for another (re)introduction to a traditional recipe.
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My non PP friends wanted to know about shevale and I was totally stumped for an answer ! Your post provides all the answers , so thanks a ton ! I grew up eating these at my grandparents place in Sabta Cruz! My granny was an excellent PP cook ! We lived in Pune though and many PP ingredients weren’t available there back then ! Never had these after my granny passed away ! Thanks for the info !
PROUD TO BE A C K P === RAJIV KHARKAR ,because this being a ckp reciepe
Nice to know. Unfortunately, this is not a CKP recipe, it’s a पाठारे प्रभू recipe. I believe the CKPs make use of kakda… Would love to try it sometime.
I make it similarly. But, I amazed dat not to use kakada (Looks like Avala , you get it with shevala) ? As we grind it and use along with tamrind pulp to avoid itching.
Never used kakda… Most PP families I’m aware of don’t use it either. Till date, I’ve never experienced any adverse reaction.
Thanks for this recipe.I plan to use the dehydrated shevlas from my last trip to Mumbai.
I make it similarly with preferably khadichi prowns, is it not necessary to use kakada (Looks like Avala , you get it with shevala) ? As we grind it and use along with tamrind pulp to avoid itching.
Thank you so much. I came here via http://eatsfeedsanddigs.blogspot.in/2015/07/the-forest-greens.html and am still so amazed that the questionable looking wild-anturium-like flower is edible! There’s not enough information about this sort of thing online so this post is very very helpful.
Wonderfully scripted for a Novice.
Thank you I think! I’ve been cooking for a few years… Hope the rest of my posts too pass the muster… 😁
What a narration! Well written and informative, as always! You’re a rockstar!