Shuwanchal is a vegetable that is grown in Hunza and around Gilgit Baltistan from spring to late summers. It is a beautiful leafy vegetable with vibrant green color. Unlike vegetables like Hoi we do not dry this vegetable for winter season. It tastes best when it is stir fried with onion.
Shuwanchal looks similar to the wild edible vegetable Malva parviflora which is a wild edible perennial herb but we grow this variety of vegetable from seeds. For cooking shuwanchal, we harvest the leaves with the tender green stems because they tastes best when they are tender else the stems becomes stringy. The whole vegetable is edible except for its roots. The best recipe for this vegetable is to stir fry the finely chopped shuwanchal with onion and seasoning it with salt. We wash the vegetable thoroughly shake off any access water. We can chop the vegetable right away after washing but it becomes a bit slimy like okra vegetable therefore we let it sit for some time so that the water dries out and then it is roughly chopped.
Cooking Shuwanchal /Malva parviflora :
A bunch of freshly harvested vegetable is roughly chopped.
In to pan of hot oil we add chopped shuwanchal and stir fry it. The green color of vegetable becomes darker and stems softens.
Add chopped or sliced onions and stir till the onions become translucent and the slimy liquid like that of Okra vegetable disappears.
We serve it while it is still hot with Khamali and a glass of cold lassi goes best with this dish. In some areas of Gilgit Baltistan it is served with fresh butter.