Tamarind leaves are available in June when people use it in curries of various combinations, treating it as good for health.
VIJAYAWADA: The price of Chinta Chiguru (tender tamarind leaves) price is competing with those of chicken, fish, prawn and mutton due to a steep increase in its price to Rs 600 per kg from the earlier Rs 100 per kg.
Tamarind leaves are available in June when people use it in curries of various combinations, treating it as good for health. Tamarind trees used to be found in every place, but these are disappearing due to urbanization. This increased the price of Chinta Chiguru abnormally, market-analysts said.
In Andhra Pradesh, many dishes are incomplete without a spray of tamarind leaves. It is majorly used in curries, chutneys and rasam. A pickle made with tamarind leaves is popular in AP and other states. This is good for digestion as it acts as a laxative.
A special chutney called ‘chintachiguru pachadi’ is made by adding fresh or dried tamarind leaves with peanuts, garlic cloves, dried red chilies, and cumin seeds.
Chef D Nagesh said tender tamarind leaves are an important ingredient in the Andhra cuisine as the leaves are very tasty. Chinta Chiguru is used in preparing dal, fish, chicken, mutton, prawn and other curries. Chintha Chiguru Pulihora is very famous in Andhra and a majority of the people will taste it without fail.
Vendors are putting up tender tamarind leaves on the footpaths and selling them in grams of 100 for Rs 60; and a kg for Rs 600 in Vijayawada and other cities.
Vendor Lakshmi recalled that tamarind trees used to exist along the road-sides in villages and towns. In several areas, they were cut for road expansions, constructions etc. "We are going to hilly areas and far off villages to fetch tender tamarind leaves," she said.
Lakshmi said workers were available in the past to pluck tender tamarind leaves but now there is a shortage of workers. "Whoever is available to do this work are demanding huge money to pluck the leaves. This also led to the price rise," she said.
Homemaker Rehana Shaheen said the tender tamarind leaves used to be available for Rs 100 per kg but it touched Rs 600 now, which is equal to two kg of chicken, nearly a kg of mutton, three kg of fish and nearly two kg of prawn. "Despite the abnormal price, we are purchasing Chinta Chiguru as it is very tasty and has a lot of health benefits."
Ayurvedic doctor Satyanarayana said tender tamarind leaves are good for health. Tamarind leaves are good to ease joint pain, rich with ascorbic acid, Vitamin C and tartaric acid that help in building immunity naturally.