| Too dear |
Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, you can’t do without onions. But the rising price of the vegetable has forced people to innovate in the kitchen and outside.
“Pyaz sach much rula raha hain (Onions are making us cry). It is the most essential ingredient of many dishes we cook,” said Rajendra Nagar resident Sangita Narayan.
The rising price of the vegetable — from Rs 60/kg last month to Rs 70/kg this month — has forced her to cut down on buying onions to keep to her domestic budget. Though the price has come down a little now (Rs 65/kg for Nashik onions), residents are still economising.
“But I know how to make tasty dishes without onions,” claimed the homemaker.
So what is Sangita cooking these days? “Paneer, potato, snake gourd and lady’s fingers are the common ingredients I use these days to make curry. I don’t need onions. For paneer, I use capsicum, tomato puree and spices. Another dish I often make is kadhi. The main ingredients for this are gram flour and curd,” she said.
Another trick that Sangita has up her sleeve is using finely grated bottle gourd as a substitute for onion. “Also, cabbage, thinly sliced, can be a good alternative for onions.”
While vegetarian dishes can still be imagined without onions, how can one make meat without the distinct flavour?
“Roasted and grilled chicken do not need onions. You would lick your fingers if you eat the chicken I prepare, after marinating it with curd and other spices,” said Pragya Mishra, a resident of Boring Road.
Eating dishes that do not require onion is a strategy that many are using. “I’ve stopped eating chicken and mutton. These days, my non-vegetarian diet consists of fish and eggs,” said Gardanibagh resident Anish Goswami.
But while some are cutting down on the consumption of onions, others just can’t live without the vegetable. Raj Kumar Mishra, an advocate at Patna High Court and a resident of Boring Road, said: “I have stopped buying expensive vegetables such as cauliflower, tomato and brinjal. I love brinjal curry but I have to do without it. Also, I used to buy two coconuts for my pregnant wife earlier but now I am buying only one.”
Hotels and restaurants, too, are coming up with strategies to please the palate of their patrons without raising prices. B.D. Singh, general manager, Maurya, said: “Our contractor supplies onions at a fixed rate. But even if he increased the price, our dishes would cost the same. We would not cut down on onion use either. Satisfying customers is essential.”
How did you innovate in the kitchen to economise on onions? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org