Friday, June 27, 2008
Dondakai Ulli Kharam - Andhra Food Series and Juggling Life
As usual, I am running somewhere else and have to be in another place too while I am desperately trying to update my blog and put in a new post. I always wonder if it such a struggle for everyone. Trying to juggle so many balls and keep them all up in the air at one time. I guess this is something all working women face. Every time I discuss this with my girlfriends, we come to the conclusion that it is because we are middle aged ( much as I hate saying the dreaded words "middle age", the expression just has to be used now). I think this age brings with it many additional responsibilities. Parents are getting older, kids are reaching adolescence and needless to say, are acting up, we ourselves are going through many changes and don't have the energy to cope like earlier. And to add to it, when you are working, the work-life balance gets totally unbalanced.
But anyway, despite feeling really overwhelmed sometimes, I still find time for my blog, for my friends, so life is all good after all. I guess, accepting life as it comes and keeping all those balls juggling high up there and finally everything just works out and falls into place...
Enough of serious talk. (I find my blog is getting pretty serious in the last few posts and that will soon change, I promise.)
Now for the Dondakai Ulli Kharam...
Dondakai is AKA Tindli, Tindora, Kovakai, Ivy Gourd
It is a very commonly used vegetable in Andhra. I find it a vegetable which either excites someone or induces a feeling of absolute disgust in some folk. My husband is one who will not touch it. Not even a teeny weeny bit to taste. On the other hand I simply love it. The taste of eating this along with hot rice, ghee and mudda pappu is simply awesome. It is simple enough to make and is not at all time consuming. The original method of cooking calls for everything to be fried in sufficient quantities of oil, but now for reasons of health, I steam the Dondakai and then fry it for a bit in the oil. This cuts down the oil consumption by more than a thrid and the decrease in taste is fully justified by the health aspect.
Now for the recipe
1/2 kg Dondakai cut lengthwise into quarters
4 red chillies
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 curry leaves
2 tablespoons Oil
Steam the cut dondakai along with salt.
Grind together the onions and red chillies till it is a coarse paste.
Heat oil and fry the mustard seeds till they crackle and then add the curry leaves. Now add the steamed dondakai and onion paste and keep frying on medium heat till it turns brown.
A little more salt may need to be added.
Serve hot along with hot rice, ghee and mudda pappu ( boiled toor dal- staple of all the Andhra people). Delicious.