My mother is the kind of person who, as a busy doctor without household help, would make a meal of salt, chilli powder and leftover rice. So it comes as a surprise whenever she expresses an interest in a recipe or proffers one herself. Which is why this recipe is very special and unusual, because she told me about this recently when I was stressing out about how to cook a full meal for someone I'd invited home for lunch.
Now invitations from me are rare because I too, though not a busy doctor, have a hectic life, what with my insomnia and harried rising, gym-and-back-from-gym routine, and work and after-work routine, my insomnia and harried rising gym ... you see how it goes.
I have a two-hour window in the morning with which to turn out some stuff to eat and I managed to make this rather swiftly along with some payasam and two other vegetables. Now that's not a spread by any stretch of the imagination but that's what you can expect if I invited you on a weekday and you accepted my invitation. I had tomatoes and with my mother who arrived the previous day, came from my grandmother's garden fresh drumsticks (or saragwa - always reminds me of Sarajevo and Archduke Ferdinand ever since I heard the name not too long ago).
Known as mulagakaya in Telugu, drumsticks are a household vegetable in South India - not only are they popular, many houses have a tree. It's notorious for harbouring furry and itchy caterpillars, but the benefits outweigh that risk, with the leaves being considered extremely nutritious as they are sources of beta carotene, Vitamin C, iron and protein.
They have a taste that I can only describe as delicately pungent, an oxymoron, I know, but really, you have to taste it to know it. They're the kind of vegetable that you appreciate better as a grown-up. Like brinjal/eggplant, for instance. In my house, we've never had the leaves, only the fruit. And now I don't find any in my locality though there are a few saplings struggling to grow in my apartment building. I've even seen recipes using the tree's flowers. Here is more information.
It's pretty much an as-you-like-it curry and it was almost two months ago that I made it so I'll give you the general guidelines about how to make it.
You will need
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
2 drumsticks, cut into 2-inch pieces
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4-1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder and salt to taste
Oil - 1-2 tsp
In a pan, heat 1-2 tsp of oil.
Pop the mustard and then the cumin.
Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till pulpy.
Now add the spices and cook a little more.
Ensure the tomato isn't drying up - if need be, add some water.
Then add the drumstick pieces, mix well, add just 1/4 cup water if there isn't any already in the pan, cover and cook till insides are soft.
Chew to your heart's content once it's done. My mother's grandfather is supposed to have chewed them so long and hard, with such relish, that they were bleached white!
One more way to cook them.
This goes off to Chriesi at Almond Corner who's hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, now run by Haalo.
Weekend Herb Blogging Vegan Gluten-free musings