That small slice of afternoon from my adolescence and this particular dish I was introduced to , still holds a special place in my taste memories as that was the only time I got to relish this dish. It could be my grand mother’s culinary brilliance to use up the bits and pieces of vegetables lying in the kitchen….or my grandma herself was reminded of one of her favourites, when the fish monger gifted her some fresh raw mangoes and drumsticks or she was just using her imagination and throwing some vegetables at the spur of the moment to come up with a dish that completely changed her grand daughter’s perspectives on the popular dish, Avial.
I knew the entire experience of re-creating this dish long forgotten would not let me relive those moments with my maternal grand mother and uncle yet it was like going back to my roots or rather reconnecting with my past ………I was aware of my limitations while creating such a humble dish which grandma made combining native variety of vegetables, while I used a set of frozen ingredients ……….yet the whole experience was worth especially when CJJ who had his own doubts in the beginning, appreciated the dish, even with the funky taste of the frozen jackfruit seeds!! Now, I know what tops my priority list of must-eat dishes in my next trip to home!
- 1 cup Chakkakuru/jackfruit seeds, cleaned and cut into medium pieces (I used frozen)
- 12-14 one inch length Cheera-thandu/red spinach stems (I used red swiss chard)
- A handful of raw mango, skin removed and sliced ( adjust as per the sourness)
- 10-12 drumsticks pieces of 1” length, cleaned and split lengthwise
- 1-2 green chillies, slit opened lengthwise
- A small piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp red chilly powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- Water to cook the veggies
- 1tbsp homemade curd (Optional) *
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- ¾ cup grated coconut
- A small piece of ginger, peeled
- 3-4 Indian green chillies
- 1 small clove of garlic
- A pinch of cumin seeds/jeera
- ¼ - ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Grind grated coconut, ginger, green chillies , garlic, cumin seeds with salt and turmeric powder into a coarse paste and keep it aside.
- In a “mann-chatti” (an earthenware from Kerala), cook jackfruit seeds, stems of red spinach, drumsticks, sliced raw mango, ginger and green chillies by adding some water (very little, just to cook the veggies) along with salt,turmeric and red chilly powder. When the veggies are cooked well, add the ground coconut paste and stir well to coat all the veggies in this ground mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the salt. Crush the curry leaves in coconut oil and pour it to the veggie-coconut mix. Stir gently and turn off the stove. Close with a lid and lock in all the aroma and flavours to embrace each other.