Local name: Kujjee (कुज्जी)
Kujjee is a seasonal shrub and its plants grow during summer season at places which are around 1800 metres above sea level. The precise botanical identification of this plant could not be made. We also could not find the description of this particular plant in any of the books on Himalayan plants. It is quite likely that kujjee has escaped the attention of botanists and therefore its description is not there. However, as the flowers are quite similar to those of Thermopsis barbata, so it is quite likely to be some species of Thermopsis only. Thermopsis barbata grows at more cold places at a higher level and kujjee does not grow there.
Kujjee bears very attractive and pleasant smelling flowers during the months of May-July. As plants of kujjee are present in large numbers, so these get very easily noticed because of their attractive purple flowers on mountain slopes. So this plant has been noticed and appreciated mostly by trekkers who are usually outsiders. Therefore it is not stated by them in their blogs or travel accounts that this plant was also a source of food. Local people, especially the shepherds who stay out of their homes for months together along with their sheep flocks, dig out the tubers, clean and wash these and then prepare as a vegetable. Sometimes, they just roast the tubers on burning fire and eat. So this also serves as a very good emergency food.
Seasonal herbs, appearing in April-May and drying in September-October; tubers 1.0 -1.5 cm wide and 8-15 cm long.
Shoots prostate, growing upto 30 cm, glabrous.
Flowers deep purple, very attractive and fragrant.
Pods very small, 3 mm wide 10-15 mm long.
Tubers are edible and fondly eaten by villagers. These are cleaned, peeled to remove the outside skin, boiled and prepared like a vegetable. These tubers are also roasted in fire. The skin is then peeled off and is eaten with salt. These taste somewhat like potatoes.
Vegetable of kujjee tubers can be prepared by following recipe.
Kujjee tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1/2 table spoon; red chillies, 2-3; medium sized chopped onions, 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste, ½ table spoon; 1 cup amount chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste.
For preparing sabji, the tubers are first boiled and brown peel is taken off. Then these are cut into small pieces and fried in hot oil along with spice listed before in sequence, as is done with potatoes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapatis.
Ready to serve kujjee vegetable.