Saturday, December 11, 2010

Terra Madre Day in Mangalore

Today was Terra Madre  day and I had hoped to cook something local, instead we were invited out for dinner with friends who were in the country for just awhile, so we ate at a local restaurant :)

Since I hadn't cooked, I asked my sis to send me a pic of something mum had cooked. Mum almost always cooks with locally available ingredients. Some of these ingredients and vegetables aren't even available outside of Mangalore.

In this picture is red rice (unpolished rice that is commonly eaten along the Kerala to Goa coast. Locally grown and sold. It takes much longer to cook than white rice and is not as soft to eat. It has a nutty flavour and is extremely high in nutrition. Nees - the water that it is boiled in, is extremely high in nutrients and is served to patients who do not have the strength to eat solids.

As kids with colds or fever that made us lose all taste for food, the remedy was a hot glass of nees with a piece of hot and spicy lime or mango pickle mixed into it for flavouring.

The dhal is a dish we call bimbli saar. Saar is very watery compared to a dhal, just slightly thicker than a rasam and it gets its sour taste from sliced bimblis - a local Manglorean sour fruit. Arhar/tuvar dhal is boiled with bimblis, chopped onions and green chillies in a pressure cooker. Seasoning is with sliced onion or crushed garlic or dry red chillies. - These spicy Red chillies are grown and dried in Kundapur - a town a few kilometers away from Mangalore.

The red dish is Rawa Fried Pomfret. The fish is caught off the coast of Mangalore. These are slices of pomfret marinated in Meet Mirsang which mum grinds herself at home and rolled in a light layer of rawa before frying with a tsp or 2 of oil.

Also see the recipe for Seer Fish fried with Meet Mirsang

The 2 vegetables are also local to Mangalore although in recent times, Tendli is now available outside the Konkan coast region. Gosale or Ridge Gourd also appears on our dining table quite often.
Tendli Mirya Peeto is made by cooking Tendlis with onions, sol (another local souring fruit that is used in dried form) and salt and pepper powder until done. Then a little coconut milk is added to the dish to tone down the pepper.
(To prep the tendlis, chop off the ends and make a single cut lengthwise upto half the depth of the tendli to allow the flavours to permeate better.

Gosale Naarl ani Tel Piyao is the traditional way of cooking most vegetables in our community. The preparation is also known as Fugath in Goan and Anglo Indian styles of cooking.

Scrape the edges of the ridge gourd to remove the thick and hard skin, but leave enough on. This vegetable is extremely high in fibre and it comes from its skin. Slice into thin circles.
Heat a tsp of coconut oil, add some sliced onions, lightly stir fry, then add the sliced ridge gourd.
Add salt and a souring agent like Sol or tamarind or bimblis to taste.
Cook till done.
Sprinkle fresh grated coconut on top and stir on the fire for a minute or 2 before taking it off the flame.

I have to mention that the coconuts used at home come from Grandma's garden and mum grates, grinds and extracts the coconut milk herself, no store bought Dabur Coconut milk has ever crossed her threshold.

What you see on that plate is a traditional vegetarian meal that is made at home when we want to eat light after nights of parties, when we have just arrived home and want to eat dishes we don't get outside or can't cook in our current cities or on Fridays in Lent. Wedding & Christening season has started in Mangalore and they are already eating light when eating at home.


Torviewtoronto said...

healthy and delicious meal

Kurinji said...

looks yummy...

harleygypsy2003 said...

the tendil resembles the cucumber of north americas.does it have large water content as well? i live in tucson,az. , and with the large cultural blend, i am hoping some of these veggies are obtainable. when would they be in season to harvest?thanks so much.

Kim said...

The tendli does have water content but not as high as a cucumber. The seeds ar elight and easily digestible. I would say that the closest realtive available in North America is the gherkin (normally available only as pickled gherkins - but should be available in farmers markets)

Its not the same taste and since I never found fresh gherkins while I was in the US, I haven't tried cooking with them. But the taste and texture of pickled gherkins leaves me to speculate that fresh gherkins might be a workable option

Kim said...

Again, to clarify - the vegetables mentioned here are quite specific to Mangalore - a coastal town in South India. I have only seen tendlis in some of the bigger Indian metro cities in the last few years.

There are a lot of Manglorean vegetables that aren't found outside of Mangalore/Udupi as they seem to grow best only in that climate+soil combination


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