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.