Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From tree top to table top!

The soft breeze is caressing the tall beauties pregnant with its heavy fruits. Amma is sweating heavily in the back yard, partly from washing the heavy loads of laundry and partly from the fear of those heavy fruits ready to be pushed down by the wind.

Its more than two weeks since they called Purusha to drop the coconuts, still there is no trace of him. Purusha is always in demand. He can only be seen like a lightening, flashing here and there in the neighborhood on his bicycle, with the best round coconuts, a sickle and a few ropes.

Now Amma is done with her laundry , and is on her phone calling neighbors to give “purusha alerts” …” ….if you see Purusha hanging around, do direct him to our place…..”

Finally Purusha turns up …..He demands unjustifiable fees for climbing those trees….And as usual he wins….and also gets to choose the best coconuts he can carry along with the fee.

He grips on to the tree with ropes balancing on his feet and climbs up with ease…dropping the bunch of coconuts ….in no time our yard is full of green, orange and brown coconuts and a few broken flower pots , an aftermath of Purusha’s hard work.

When the Sun goes down, everyone in the family is seen carrying these coconut bunches to heap it up in our shed. The next few weeks we would be drinking loads of tender coconut water, eat the various flavors offered by coconut in curries, have papads fried in fresh coconut oil…….

One dish which was commonly made in my home with freshly squeezed coconut milk was “dheeve ummen”, which is a traditional Konkani dish. “Dheeve” meaning white and “Ummen” means gravy.

So hear goes the recipe for “Dheeve Ummen…”

What you need:
1. 2 cups chopped vegetables( potato, bitter gourd, edo , potato and long beans are the usual combination)
2. 2 pieces of kokum( it can be replaced with star fruit or tomatilloes) This is added to reduce the bitterness of the bitter gourd.
3. coconut milk(I used 1 can coconut milk, though usually we use freshly extracted coconut milk)
4. green chilies 3
5. mustard seeds 1tsp
6. cumin 1tsp
7. curry leaves 1 sprig
8. oil to season
9. salt to taste


Add the chopped vegetables, green chilies and enough salt in a vessel. Add enough water covering the vegetables. Boil until vegetables are cooked. Add coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes. Temper with mustard seeds and cumin and curry leaves and serve hot with rice.

I submit this to Pooja of creative ideas for her VOW Bitter gourd.


Suma Rajesh said...

wooo its elegant .....long days passed having deeva umman.....its mouth watering nanduakka.....

Pooja said...

I always love to read your post Nanditha , coz it carries along so many nice memories ... Dheeve Ummen - the name itself is so nice. I pronounced it 2-3 times when I got your email :D. Lovely traditional dish by you Nanditha, thanks a lot for participating with this traditional konkani dish.
hugs to you girl :)

Susan said...

Another evocative piece, Nanditha. I always feel better after reading your posts.

I've had Chinese bitter melon (don't know if it's the same) and liked it a great deal. I'd like this, too - anything with spices!

Jyothsna said...

I drafted a similar story about cocnuts, mangoes and jackfuits... since I was explaining those experiences at my native place to my husband :)

srikar's kitchen said...

FANTASTIC CLICK...graet idea...

Happy cook said...

When i was at home, it was same with us. When the coconut guy cam to climb the trees for the cocont, we kids were always excited as we knew we would get tender coconut for us and also dragging the coconuts were such a fun.

ANJALI J. said...

Hey Nanditha, my pleasure. U are most welcome.
you have a great stuff to read and ur recipes too are good. i will go through ur blog now to find out wats cooking in ur blog :)

Cynthia said...

Oh man that has got to be tasting so good.

And what would I not give right now for a tall cold cup/glass of coconut water!

When you are settled and ready for us to pick up the photography thing let me know.

Sia said...

wonderful write up nanditha. it took me down the memory lane:)
being from m'lore i can relate to most of ur stories and also the recipes:) will come bk for more recipes and stories:)

AnuZi said...

I wish I like Karaate! I think its acquired taste for sure...but I love that pic :o)

Nanditha Prabhu said...

i too made dheeve ummen after a long time and it was savoured with more fervour.

thanks dear!people like you make me want to keep on posting and travel down the memory lane!

thanks a ton for our warm words, dear!
i have never tried chinese melon. bitter gourd is one of my fav vegetables..though people say it need acquired taste to relish it.

we do miss our home don't we? only thing we realize it when we are so far away!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

thank you! welcome here and do drop in more often!

happy cook,
yes ,... some time its so nice to live those memories:)

welcome !thanks for dropping in...
:)me too i would love to have tender coconut water too! will mail you soon:)

sia , thank you ! do come back....

i know it is sort of acquired taste!but i never used to like kaaraate when i was a kid but love it now:)

ranji said...

hi nanditha..i love dhave humman...first time to ur blog...happy to meet a fellow konkani blogger...i dont know if we know each other but i think we have a common relative suma rajesh...i just saw her comment here.. if her husband's sister's name is hema then we know the same suma and most probably we might know each other as well:)

ranji said...

hi again..i am not related to rajesh but his sister hema is married to my cousin premnath prabhu(father's sisters son)....so thats how i know them:)..
thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment..looking fwd to seeing more recipes:)..am adding u to my blogroll!!!