the fruit of the desert

Sangri is a bean which is produced by the Khejri tree. The scientific name of Khejri tree is Prosopis cineraria. The plant is native to Western Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The plant is found in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The plant is the state tree of Rajasthan and Telangana. It also serves as the national tree for UAE where it is known as ‘ghaf’. Through the ‘Give a Ghaf’ campaign the citizens of UAE are urged to plant it in their gardens to combat desertification and to preserve their country’s heritage. The desert village of Nazwa in the UAE is home to the Al Ghaf Conservation Reserve.

The Khejri tree also has a religious significance in India and is worshipped on Dussehra. The tree is best known for the dish that is mad out of it in Rajasthan. The sangri sabzi can be considered as an integral part of the Rajasthan cuisine. According to me the taste of the sangri vegetable can be considered as the best balance of bitterness, sweetness and spice. The texture of the sangri can be considered as spongy. The sangri is eaten to compliment the taste of other vegetables but I love to eat it separately too.

Sangri is widely known for its medicinal properties too and its powder is used as a constituent of many medicines. The tree is grown by the farmers of Rajsthan, Haryana and Punjab along with wheat, Johar, Bajra etc. The tree requires many years to mature therefore it is not grown as a crop But used as shelter belt by farmers. It is one of my favourite foods and I urge you to try it when you get a chance.