Journal of Drug Research in Ayurvedic Sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 105--118

Ethnic recipes from the tribes of Jawhar and Shahapur forest division: Maharashtra, India


Arun Manohar Gurav, Rasika Kolhe, Goli Penchala Prasad, Chinmay Rath, Anupam Kumar Mangal, Narayanam Srikanth 
 Department of Botany, Regional Ayurveda Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Arun Manohar Gurav
Department of Botany, Regional Ayurveda Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra
India

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Tribals have developed their tradition of the food system by using native plants having nutritional as well as medicinal values. Different parts of wild edible plants are consumed by them in various forms such as curry, pickles, fried, etc. Such knowledge is applied to cope with starvation and survive in unfavorable conditions. But this valuable information is not preserved well by the next generation. Therefore, there is a need to systematically record such unexplored traditional knowledge for further detailed study. Present study aimed to document and record wild edible plants and details of the recipes prepared by the tribal of Jawhar and Shahapur forest division. METHODS: A Medico-Ethno Botanical Survey was carried out in Jawhar and Shahapur forest divisions of Maharashtra during the year 2018–19. The study includes the documentation of the traditionally used edible plants by the ethnic group of people in the studied area and is presented systematically. RESULT: A total of 34 recipes prepared from 32 different species were described in detail. Out of 32 species, 28 species are wild and only four species are cultivated on the farm or yard. Ten recipes using leaves (fresh and dried), six using fruits, five using flowers, six using tubers (dry and curry of Dioscorea bulbifera L.), four using pods, two using seeds, and one recipe using shoot are reported, which are not familiar in the urban areas. The use of ash for the processing of Dioscorea species to make it more palatable was found as a unique method. CONCLUSION: Vegetable recipes of nine species were reported as noteworthy after validating from the available literature. Further investigation of collected data from the perspective of their phytochemical and nutraceutical studies may provide better nutritional and medicinal sources for the future.



How to cite this article:
Gurav AM, Kolhe R, Prasad GP, Rath C, Mangal AK, Srikanth N. Ethnic recipes from the tribes of Jawhar and Shahapur forest division: Maharashtra, India.J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2022;7:105-118


How to cite this URL:
Gurav AM, Kolhe R, Prasad GP, Rath C, Mangal AK, Srikanth N. Ethnic recipes from the tribes of Jawhar and Shahapur forest division: Maharashtra, India. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 27 ];7:105-118
Available from: http://www.jdrasccras.com/text.asp?2022/7/2/105/356050


Full Text



 Introduction



Tribals from all over the globe have developed and adopted their tradition of the food system, learned from elderly family members and by experiences. These tribal people are mostly dependent on native plants for food, medicine, fuel, and household uses and transferred such knowledge by oral communication from generation to generation. In India, 3,900 or more wild plant species are used as an edible food and vegetable by tribes out of 45,000 species of wild plants.[1] Even to cope with starvation and survive in unfavorable conditions, tribals have developed their food habits.[2],[3] Different parts of wild edible plants such as roots, tubers, stems, fruits, flowers, and seeds are consumed either raw, roasted, fried, cooked, boiled, or in the form of spices and pickles, etc. Therefore, there is a need to systematically record such unexplored traditional knowledge for further detailed study.

 Materials and Methods



Study area

The present study was conducted in the Shahapur and Jawhar block of the Thane forest circle of Maharashtra [Figure 1]. This selected area falls under the Northern Western Ghats region, which is rich in biodiversity with a moist deciduous type of forest ecosystem and falls under the forest department.[4],[5] Moreover, Katkari, Kolams, Madia Gonds, Bhils, Gonds, Mahadev Kolis, Malhar Kolis, and Kokans are native to this area for thousands of years, among which Katkari (Kathodi), Madia Gonds, and Kolams are the vulnerable tribal groups.[6] Therefore, these given areas were selected to collect and document the information from the tribes and their traditional food recipe.{Figure 1}

From Shahapur forest division, Shenva, Dhasai, Kudshet, Shirgaon, Shilottar, Kasara, Thal Ghat, Dand, Umbravane, Latifvadi, and from Jawhar forest division, Gangodi, Kharonda, Chambharshet, Kharoni, Tilondas, Kasatwadi, Gorthan, Dadade, Medhi, Khand, Pochada, Vaki, Pinjal, Baste, Bhonpada, Ghaypatpada, and Kumbiste forest range were surveyed. A total of four survey tours were conducted in the selected area. Thane forest circle was divided into two major forest division that is, Shahapur and Jawhar. From Shahpur forest division, Shenwa, Dhasai Kudshet, Shirgaon, Shilottar, Kasara, Thal Ghat, Dand, Umrawane, Latifwadi, and from Jawhar forest division, Gangodi, Kharonda, Chambharshet, Kharoni, Tilonda, Kasatwadi, Gorthan, Dadade, Medhi, Khand, Pochada, Vaki, Pinjal, Baste, Bhonpada, Ghaypatpada, and Kumbiste forest range were surveyed. A total of four survey tour were conducted in the selected area. Alternate two surveys, each of 11 days, were carried out in each forest division in the year 2018-19 for the documentation of medico-ethano-botanical (MEB) claims.

Method of collection of data

During Medico-Ethno Botanical (MEB) Survey, folk healers, elders, and personals from the forest departments were interviewed for their knowledge about the traditional recipes being prepared by them. The information shared by them was recorded in specially designed proforma and audio- and video-recording, along with suitable photographs captured. The interviewee was asked for the local name of the plant, its useful part, the season of collection, the quantity of ingredients, and the method of preparation, with a specific indication or any holistic approach, if any. Certain traditional recipes such as curries and dry vegetable dishes were also recorded from the initial to the final serving dish as per their convenience. The survey team also tasted the recipes along with suggested bread and rice preparation. The vegetable or the recipes that were not practiced commonly in Maharashtra were only documented thoroughly. To get more clarification about recipes, housewives were interviewed for the details about ingredients and their quantity. The collected data were segregated as per the useful parts such as leaf, fruit, tuber, shoot, flower, pod, and seeds and presented systematically with details of ingredients and the method of preparation for each type of useful parts to avoid the repetition of the procedure.

Collection of plant parts and preservation

Plant materials such as tuber, leaf, fruit, and flowers were collected during the MEB survey with the help of knowledge providers and local health practitioners. The collected plant materials were identified with the help of flora.[7],[8]

Herbarium specimens of collected plant

Herbarium sheets were prepared by following the standard methodology for future reference and deposited at the Herbarium section of the Institute.[9],[10] The data of edible plants and fruits other than usual wild edible plants have been presented in a systematic manner, whereas certain unique recipes described by the tribal have been mentioned in detail. The literature was thoroughly reviewed to identify the possible literature reported on similar lines.[11],[12],[13]

 Results



In the present study, based on the unique method of usage by the tribal communities of Jawhar and Shahapur forest division, a total of 34 recipes that are unknown to the urban population have been identified. It was observed that the tribal people are well versed in plants and fruits available in their native places. They mostly use seasonal leafy vegetables, flowers, bulbs, and fruits for the preparation of curry or dry vegetables. Many uncommon seasonal fruits are also consumed by tribal people based on their traditional knowledge. The survey study led to the identification of a total of 34 recipes in the form of vegetables in a dry or curry form using different plant parts: 10 recipes using leaves (fresh and dried), six using fruits, six using tubers, five using flowers, four using pods, two using seeds, and one recipe using shoot are reported, which are not familiar in the urban areas [Figure 2].{Figure 2}

It was observed that tribal people prepare the dry vegetable and curry following the traditional method of preparation. This is a common method of preparation of vegetable dish by using certain ingredients, which contains mainly edible oil, onion, ginger, turmeric, garlic, chili powder or green chili, Garam Masala (powder of Indian spices), and salt.

 The Ethnic Method of Preparation of Vegetables



Tribal women usually prefer to use dried wood pieces or sticks of plants as a source of fire in mud stoves (Chulha). Metal or earthen pots are placed on the fire, and edible oil is added when the pot is heated. In hot oil, mustard seeds and cumin seeds were added; when it begins to crackle, chopped onions are added and fried until onions become pinkish-brown color, and then some ginger and garlic paste is added and fried. Later, some turmeric powder, chili powder or green chili, and salt are added. Then the fresh vegetables are added as per requirement in fried ingredients or gravy. At last, Garam Masala is added as per the requirement to enhance the flavor of curry/dry vegetables. These ingredients are cooked until it become soft. By following this method of preparation of leafy vegetables/curry, several different recipes are prepared from edible leafy fresh vegetables, rhizome, tuber, fruit, and flowers.

Vegetable preparation of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson

Lotha leafy vegetable

On the onset of the monsoon season, fresh tender shoots and leaves sprouted just after the first shower of rain are collected, steamed, and cooked known as Lotha dry vegetables.

Method of preparation

The tender leaves and shoots of Lotha [Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson-Araceae], voucher specimen number (VSN-14013), are plucked and thoroughly washed in water, cut it into small pieces, add oil into the pan, and add sesame, cumin, and mustard seed. When they begin to crackle, onion and crushed cloves of garlic are added and fried till it becomes pinkish-brown. Then turmeric, chili powder, and Garam Masala are added and sautéed. A little amount of water is added to avoid the burning of spices. Later, pieces of tender leaves of Lotha are added. While cooking, two to three tender leaves of Nanabonda (Lagerstroemia parviflora Roxb., VSN-14167) should be added to avoid itchiness in the throat. The mixture is cooked until the remaining water evaporates and served with Bhakri (Indian bread prepared from rice flour or bajara) or Roti (Indian bread prepared with wheat flour). To make its curry form, two to three spoons of well-soaked green gram or chickpeas are added along with a sufficient amount of water and boiled for 10–15 minutes until the added pulses are cooked properly.

Shevalai leafy vegetable

The leaves and tender stems of A. paeoniifolius Dennst. are also dried and stored for off-season consumption for up to 1 year. A curry or dry leafy vegetable dish is prepared from these dried leaves.

Method of preparation

Required amount of Shevalai is to be taken and boiled for 10 minutes or soaked in cold water for 10–15 minutes until it becomes soft. Drain the excess water by squeezing it. Then, in a pan, add oil, chopped onion, green chili, turmeric, salt, and boiled Shevalai and cook it till the remaining water evaporates.

Suran tuber vegetable

Tubers of Lotha are known as Suran Kanda. To prepare its curry or dry vegetable dish, collected matured tubers are cut into cube-shaped pieces, boiled well, and cooked as a vegetable, following the common method of preparation of curry or dry vegetable mentioned above [Figure 3].{Figure 3}

The vegetable dishes prepared from leaves

Dinda leafy vegetable

Leea macrophylla Roxb. ex Hornem. (VSN-14142) is locally known as Dinda in Shahapur and Jawhar forest area.

Procedure

Tender leaves of Leea macrophylla Roxb. ex Hornem.-Vitaceae are cut into small pieces and washed with water, and excess water is drained out. The required quantity of cut pieces of leaves of Dinda are mixed in Indian spices following a common method of tempering (Tadka). Salt is sprinkled as per taste and cooked till it becomes soft.

Following the same method of preparation, other seasonal plants and tender leaves are also used for preparing leafy vegetables. Tender leaves of Shida, botanically identified as Bauhinia racemosa Lam.-Caesalpinaceae (VSN-14182), known as Ashmanatak in Ayurveda, tender leaves of Kurdu (Celosia argentea L.-Amaranthaceae, VSN-14031), tender leaves of Terha (Impatiens balsamina L-Balsaminaceae, VSN-14188), tender leaves of Baphali (Peucedanum grande C.B. Clarke-Apiaceae, VSN-14216), leaves of Mokha (Schrebera swietenioides Roxb.-Oleaceae, VSN-14246), leaves of Kaila (Smithia laxiflora Wight & Arn.-Fabaceae, VSN-14597), and tender leaves of Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum (L.) Moon-Verbenaceae, VSN-14106) are also used by tribal.

In the case of Tarvata (Cassia tora L-Fabaceae, VSN-14112) known as Chakramard; its tender leaves are boiled in water, and excess water is drained out and then vegetable curry is prepared as per the same procedure mention for Dinda leaf vegetable [Figure 4].{Figure 4}

Fruit vegetable dish

Method of preparation of Waghoti

It is believed to be auspicious to eat the Waghoti fruit vegetable. Unripe fruits of Waghoti (Capparis spinosa L.-Capparaceae, VSN-14244) are collected from plants in the monsoon season and cut into four to six pieces and remove the seeds. Cut pieces are washed in water, squeezed to remove excess water, and used for vegetable curry preparation. Pieces of fruits are mixed in chopped onion, green chili, grated ginger and garlic paste, and turmeric powder following the tempering method and sauté for 2–3 minutes. A sufficient amount of salt is sprinkled and steamed for 5 minutes and it is ready for serving.

Method of preparation of Karmal

Fresh unripe fruits of Karmal (Dillenia pentagyna Roxb-Dilleniaceae, VSN-14355) are collected, and before preparation, boiled in water till it becomes soft. Then, boiled fruits are squeezed to remove excess water and put into a pan, containing a mixture of mustard seeds, chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves, chili powder or green chili, turmeric powder, and salt and cooked well. Following this method of preparation, tribes are using the unripe fruits of Pendharun (Gardenia turgida Roxb.-Rubiaceae, VSN-14390), Gometi (Solena amplexicaulis Lam. Gandhi.-Cucurbitaceae, VSN-14019), and fruits of Chichoradi (Solanum torvum Schltdl-Solanaceae, VSN-04065) to prepare a dry form of vegetable or curry, whereas the fruits of Tembhrun (Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.-Ebenaceae, VSN-02558) are used both in the unripe and ripe stages to prepare the vegetable curry [Figure 5].{Figure 5}

The vegetable dishes prepared from the tuber

Varahikanda vegetable

Tubers of Dioscorea bulbifera L. (VSN-14038) Dioscoreaceae are known as Varahikanda in Ayurveda. It is prepared in dry as well as curry form. Tribes store varieties of tubers for their usage throughout the year. Particularly, during the starvation period, it is used as a source of food.

The dry form of vegetable dishes

Method of preparation

Freshly collected or stored bulb of Varahikanda is cut into small cubes and boiled in water till it becomes soft. While boiling the tuber, two to three spoons of ash (ingredient—leaf of Euphorbia neriifolia L., VSN-14032), flowers of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T.Aiton (VSN-14103), stem bark of Oroxylum indicum (L) Benth. Ex Kurz (VSN-14268), stem of Amaranthus viridis L. (VSN-14028), dried whole plant of black gram Vigna mungo (L. Hepper) (after harvesting of pods), [collect all these listed ingredients dry it completely and burn it till the ash remains] are added to reduce the bitterness of the tuber. Later, clean the tuber and unpeel it. In a pan, oil is added followed by mustard seeds, and cumin, when it begins to crackle, chopped onion and ginger garlic paste are added and fried till it becomes pinkish-brown. Then turmeric, chili powder or green chili, Garam Masala are added and fried. Once it is cooked, slices of tuber are added and steamed for 5–10 minutes.

Curry

Oil is added in a pan and heated, and finely chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves, and ginger paste are added and fried. Then green or red chili or chili powder, turmeric, and pieces of tomato are added and cooked. Later, some grated coconut is added and mixed well. Once the gravy is prepared, boiled slices of tuber are added followed by a sufficient amount of water to make its curry.

Following this method, tubers of Chai (Dioscorea alata L.), Godkanda [Dioscorea esculenta-(Lour.) Burkill], and Vajkanda (Dioscorea hispida-Dennst., VSN-04185) belonging to the Dioscoreaceae family are also prepared in a curry or dry vegetable form [Figure 6].{Figure 6}

The vegetable dish prepared from the shoot

Young shoots of Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd-Poaceae (VSN-14356) are collected and cut into pieces. Following the common method described above for the preparation of vegetables, shoots are cooked with onion, chili, and other ingredients [Figure 7].{Figure 7}

The vegetable dish prepared from the flower

Method of preparation

Freshly collected flowers of Bahava (Cassia fistula L.-Fabaceae, VSN-03663), known as Aargavadha in Ayurveda, are collected and washed thoroughly with water. Then flowers are boiled in water for 2–3 minutes and squeezed out to drain water. Later in a pan, edible oil is added, after it becomes hot, slices of onion, green chili, turmeric, salt, and spices are added as per requirement. At last, blanched flowers are added, mixed well, and cooked for 2–3 minutes. Following this procedure, flowers of Moha (Madhuca indica J. F. Gmel.-Sapotaceae, VSN-14124) and Khat (Gliricidia sepium-(Jacq.) Walp.-Fabaceae, VSN-03917) are prepared as a vegetable from the freshly collected flowers [Figure 8].{Figure 8}

Whereas in the rainy season, the flower of Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum (L.) Moon.-Verbenaceae, VSN-14106) is collected and fried with oil, chopped onion, pieces of chili, turmeric powder, and salt without blanching [Figure 9]. Following the same method of preparation, the recipe of the inflorescence of Shendvel—Dioscorea pentaphylla L. (VSN-14127) is also prepared [Figure 10].{Figure 9} {Figure 10}

The vegetable dishes prepared from the pods

Method of preparation

Young pods of Tetu/Shyonak (Oroxylum indicum-(L) Benth. Ex Kurz Bignoniaceae, VSN-14268) are collected from plants and washed thoroughly with water. Later, pieces of the pod of 1–2 inches are boiled in water till it becomes soft and the excess water is removed. These boiled pieces of pods are mixed in gravy prepared with onion, green chili or chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and tomato as per requirement.

Following this method, pods of Abhaya [Canavalia gladiata (Jacq.) DC.-Fabaceae, VSN-03959], Medhashing [Dolichandrone falcata (Wall. ex DC.) Seem-Bignoniaceae, VSN-00830], and Kharshing [Radermachera xylocarpa (Roxb.) Roxb. ex K. Schum-Bignoniaceae, VSN-14225] are also prepared and consumed as per the seasonal availability of tender pods.

Young pod of Tetu/Shyonak (Oroxylum indicum-Bignoniaceae, VSN-14268) and Kharshing (Radermachera xylocarpa (Roxb.) Roxb. ex K.Schum) are also cut into pieces and stored in a jar containing saltwater, known as Khara. From these stored pieces of pods, curry or vegetable dishes can be prepared as and when required throughout the year [Figure 11].{Figure 11}

The vegetable dishes prepared from the seeds

Method of preparation

Seeds of Gavathiudad-Gramya Masha (Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper.-Fabaceae, VSN-00522) are collected from the matured follicles and dried properly so that they can be used throughout the year. To prepare curry from the seeds, first, the seeds are boiled in water and cooked with gravy prepared with onion, tomato, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and spices. The required quantity of water is added to maintain the consistency of the curry. Following this method of preparation, seeds of Ranmuga (Teramnus labialis (L. f.) Spreng-Fabaceae, VSN-03317) are also cooked as a curry.

 Discussion



Tribal communities are well acquainted with the knowledge of native plants of the surrounding forest and know to identify them. They know their useful parts, the season of collection, storage techniques, and detoxification (how to remove any harmful substance or how to make it palatable without harming its nutrients). Tribal people used to store the tubers and bulbils of various species of Dioscorea and use them as a vegetable throughout the year. Wild species of Dioscorea are either annuals or semi-perennials or perennials. Cultivated species are annuals.[14] Tubers of Dioscorea species are considered as the source of energy especially during starvation. As it serves as a rich source of carbohydrates and nutrients, it enriches the diet.[15] But, corn and aerial bulb of wild Dioscorea species, when eaten raw causes a terrible itching sensation in the throat, are unpalatable when taken raw. Tribes are making them edible by processing the vegetables using different traditional practices. In the surveyed area, it was reported that people add ash to the water while boiling the cubes or bulbs of Dioscorea species. This ash is made up by burning certain medicinal plants or bulbs that are kept overnight in the water or in the river to dissolve the bitterness. These methods are devised by the traditional knowledge inherited by the elder people and to date being practiced in the kitchen. In most parts of the country, tubers are mostly soaked overnight in water or left overnight in stream and subjected to successive boiling to remove the bitterness.[16] The use of its tender leaf as a vegetable is practiced mostly in the surveyed area.

Tribal people are also aware of the effect of certain vegetables on health; for example, the vegetable dish of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson is useful in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and dysentery, whereas a vegetable dish prepared with Clerodendrum serratum (L.) Moon flower reduces the joint pain vitiated in the rainy season. The vegetables of Radermachera xylocarpa (Roxb.) Roxb. ex K. Schum. and Oroxylum indicum are also used in indigestion and abdominal discomfort.[17]

Other than the listed vegetables, some plants are used to enhance the taste of curry. The aerial part of Kardai (Argemone mexicana L.-Papaveraceae-Swarnakshiri, VSN-01509) is peeled off to remove its thorns, and pieces of its fresh stem are added to chicken curry to enhance its taste. Fruits of Ambattingali [Embelia tsjeriam-cottam (Roem. & Schult.-Myrsinaceae) A. DC., VSN-01066] are being used as ingredients for spices.

Tribal communities still depend on wild plants for the basic supplement of food and nutrition. Native and easily available plant species are used by the tribes extensively instead of costly fruits and vegetables used in the urban area; moreover vegetables such as D. bulbifera L., Dioscorea alata L., Dioscorea hispida Dennst. are cultivated in the farm or yard. Maximum plant species are seasonal and mostly available in the rainy season in the studied area. A critical review of the nutritional analysis of reported plants explored the awareness of tribes about the nutritive importance of vegetables [Table 1]. The documentation of such knowledge is the need of the hour to fight against the issue of malnutrition and metabolic diseases. Many of these plants possess good medicinal properties and can be utilized for their dual use as medicine as well as food. Ayurveda also advises collecting the knowledge carefully and practice in the health care coming from cowherds, shepherds, and tribal health practitioners who may give valuable usage of plants subjected to experience and traditional usage.[18] Further investigation of collected data from the perspective of their phytochemical and nutraceutical studies may provide better nutritional and medicinal sources for the future.{Table 1}

 Conclusions



A total of 34 recipes were recorded for 32 plant species belonging to 27 genera and 20 families. Maximum plant species are of wild variety, whereas three species of Dioscorea are cultivated by the tribal. The plant species that are used by the tribal as food are rich in nutrients and also possess medicinal value. The detoxification of Dioscorea species by using the ash of certain medicinal plants is the uniqueness of the studied area. There is the scope of nutritional analysis of leaf of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson, flowers of Smithia laxiflora Wight & Arn., Gardenia turgida Roxb, Gliricidia sepium-(Jacq.) Walp, Dioscorea pentaphylla L. Cassia Fistula Linn, fruits of Solena amplexicaulis (Lam.) Gandhi, and pod of Radermachera xylocarpa (Roxb.) Roxb. ex K.Schum and Dolichandrone falcata (Wall. ex DC.) Seem., which will help the future studies in the field of food and nutrition and the scientific exploration of tribal traditional food recipes.

Acknowledgments

The authors are highly thankful to the Director-General, CCRAS, for providing funding to this project and encouragement during the project period. The authors are grateful to the Chief Conservator of Forest, Thane forest circle, for granting permission to survey this area.

Financial support and sponsorship

CCRAS, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, New Delhi

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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