Rice thali with Panonoa or Shiny Bush (Peperomia Pellucida) as an important side dish

Before I proceed with details about this thali, I would once again reiterate the fact that presentation of dishes is crucial to enticing your family members, with their diverse food preferences, to savour your cooking. Even simple food will look magnificent and alluring if served in an attractive manner. This thali that I serve to my family now and then is enhanced with the health benefits accrued from Panonoa or Shiny Bush. It was very difficult for me to make my kids eat this leafy green that is so beneficial for health. So, I came up with this thali that is further embellished with a lot of other side dishes, each again having their own health benefits and easily available.

The thali is complete with the following items:

a)Panonoa and potato dry fry

b)Masoor dal or red lentil prepared with jackfruit seeds and elephant apple

c)Salad

d) Bhangon maas or fish labeo boga mashed with fermented bamboo shoot. (you can use any fish of your choice)

d) Fish intestine fry (maasor petu bhaji)

e) Local fish fry (I have used bahu)

f) Bhangon maas or fish labeo boga and tomato curry (typical Assamese maasor tenga or sour fish curry). You can use fish of your choice.

g)Fish roe fritter curry prepared with tender cucumber

h)Boiled lady’s finger

i)Mashed jack fruit seeds seasoned with lemon juice

j)Elephant apple dry pickle

k)Radish and garlic pickle

l)rice

Consuming Panonoa that grows in profusion in Assam on a regular basis will help in addressing many health issues including low blood pressure, urinary infection, heart ailments and impotency, will improve eye sight, and also heal cuts and wounds.

Method of preparing Panonoa:

Panonoa is a very tender leafy green. We can consume the herb in many ways like adding it to dal, making chutney, wrapped in leaves and steamed, frying it in ghee etc.

The method that I have used to cook this leafy green for this particular rice thali is as follows:

Panonoa—two bundle (you can take more or less depending on the number of family members)

Potatoes— 1 (you can use more than one depending on your preference)

Onion—one medium chopped

Garlic—3 to 4 cloves crushed

Oil—one table spoon (depends on the quantity of leafy greens and potatoes used)

Turmeric—as required

Salt—as required

Clean, wash and chop the Panonoa.

Peel, wash and cut the potato.

Pour one table spoon oil in a pan or Kadhai. When the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic and keep frying till it is translucent. Add turmeric and the potatoes and fry. Add salt. Cover the kadhai. Cook till the potatoes are done. Now add the Panonoa and cook in low flame for six to seven minutes. Turn off stove. Your leafy green dish is ready for serving.

P.S:- cooking is always an experiment to cherish and you need not be fastidious about the rules of cooking. If you add more or less of any ingredient, or even if you miss a particular ingredient, you will definitely create a new taste– a taste that is uniquely curated by your heart, and with each attempt at cooking a new dish, you will only script your own journey of self-improvement and self-satisfaction.    The quantity of the ingredients in any recipe including this Panonoa recipe will vary depending on the number of people we cook for. So, just listen to your heart.

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