On a shooting spree

This no-fuss asparagus recipe comes with the added attraction
of being a rich source of Vitamin A

Asparagus is recognised abroad as an exotic delicacy. Arguably it ranks second only to morels among the vegetables dear to trend-setting French gourmets.

Interestingly, it was only in the reign of Louis IVX, the Sun King that it reached the imperial table but it didn’t take it long to seduce sensitive palates with its subtle taste and exceptional succulence. It is delicate and can’t bear harsh heat treatment and is usually served steamed or lightly boiled as a starter or salad with a light sauce or dressing — often no more than salted butter or honey-laced vinaigrette.

Little did we know that it is a popular, people’s vegetable in the mountain kingdom of Bhutan, the realm of Gross National Happiness. Recently, we were invited to an exhilarating literary festival that sprawled over from Thimpu to Paro over four days and had an opportunity to indulge in this ‘expensive’ shoot to our heart’s content.

Till then, we had had only a few close encounters with it. The last time we caressed a few shoots wistfully was when a photo shoot was taking place for Kambhog: Aphrodisiac Foods and friend Jiggs had insisted that asparagus represent arrows from Cupid’s quiver.

Bhutanese cuisine is known for its exceptional heat imparted by scorching chillies, both red and green, and what came to the rescue of most of our travel mates was good-old asparagus. Some had it all the time — in omelettes, soups and as a refreshing snack.

On return to Delhi, we discovered with pleasant surprise that asparagus is now available on the food mart shelves and is affordable to be indulged in more than once in a while. It is being grown by some enterprising farmers in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Uttarakhand.

Our nutritionist friends reassure us that it is a very healthy food with only 25 calories per hundred grams and is a rich source of vitamin A. For those who like to lace their food with interesting trivia — this is the plant that provides aspermic acid that in turn spawns aspartame — the sugar-free sweetener.

The recipe we bring to our readers this week is ideal for summers and no fuss at all.


Asparagus  nayaab

Asparagus 200 g

Butter (salted) 2 tbs

Honey 1tbs

Vinegar 1tbs

A sprig of coriander (for garnish)

Wash the asparagus several times in water. Then, peel or scrape lightly with a sharp knife and cut into equal pieces. Place on a steamer or lightly boil. Keep aside. Prepare the dressing by melting butter and blending with honey and vinegar. Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander. Enjoy!