Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tasty Solutions To A Hairy Tale

Coriander and mango-ginger chutney - don't you love the colour?

Idiyappam with shallots and mango-ginger

To go from really short hair to hair that's just 2-3 inches longer is an endeavour fraught with impatience, irritation, heat, sweat, rubber bands, clips and such paraphernalia one hasn't used in a while. Enough is enough, I told myself, a good stylist will not whine about the non-growth, but they did. I walked out of one salon as the smile on the stylist drooped but stayed put in the second because frustration took over - and, of course, the stylist there marketed it (my hair - to me) better. It really isn't that much longer, he said, acquiescing to my request to 'give me more volume at the top but retain the length' and doing none of that (or so it seemed). He spent a few minutes, charged a lot and I came away looking and feeling just as I had earlier. Just a lot poorer.

My friend, who came over to drop off a macaroni-spinach-paneer creation yesterday, exhorted me not to give in to frustration. "It's only going to get cooler. Grow it, grow it, he's cut off just half an inch anyway," she said. So for now I've abandoned the thought of cutting my hair after six weeks, and will probably only cut it six months later. I have been looking at various Web sites to find out how to make hair grow faster and one of them has some really kinky suggestions, including grinding up birth control pills and mixing them up with some shampoo, and trimming the tips of your hair each month during a waxing crescent moon.

In the face of such exotica, bizarrerie or whatever you may call it, I'd rather fall back on my own innovativeness for hair growth. Which includes grinding up some oh-so-good for health good old greens and a cup of mango-ginger into a chutney.

Mango-ginger, cut

I love mango-ginger (go here for another picture) and how it smells all mangoey and summery, but haven't used it with much variation, so I'm glad I came up with this recipe one night after coming home to dosa batter and no accompaniment.

Mango-ginger, sliced: 1 cup
Coriander: About a handful
Curry leaves: About a fistful
Green chillies: 2
Peanuts: Less than a fistful ***
Oil: 2 tsp

Heat the oil and fry the mango-ginger for about 6-8 mins on a low flame.

Add the coriander, curry leaves and green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes more.

Grind with the peanuts and just a little splash of water.

*** I only added the peanuts to give the chutney some body. The amount I used did not affect the taste but next time I would use more coriander and curry leaves and not use the peanuts at all.

The other discovery I've made recently is idiyappam. Yeah, yeah, I know it's been around for ages, just not in my home or in my consciousness. The abovementioned friend had me over to lunch a couple of weeks ago and that's when I learnt idiyappams could be crumbled and tossed with tomatoes and onions. I did that for a couple of weeks. It's a very convenient and simple thing to make if your grocer stocks ready-made idiyappam. (A friend tells me I can do this with the rice sevai/noodles that one finds in stores - I haven't tried it.) When I brought the mango-ginger home, I tossed the idiyappam with some minced shallots and grated mango-ginger. I resisted the temptation to add lime and was glad I resisted.

Idiyappam, broken up: 2-2.5 cups
Oil: 2-3 tsp
Mango-ginger, grated: 1.5 tsp
Shallots, minced: 10
Green chilli, chopped: 1
Mustard seed: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 - 3/4 tsp
Water: A little

Heat the oil and temper it with the mustard seed.

Add the shallots, chilli and the mango-ginger and fry for 3 minutes.

Add the idiyappam and the turmeric, moisten with a little water.

Mix carefully. Taste it (the idiyappam already contains some salt, and add salt accordingly.) Let the flavours meld on low heat for a few minutes and then turn off the heat.

This post if off to Cinzia at Cindystar who's hosting Kalyn's WHB.


  1. Idiyappam with shredded mango ginger. Delicious. My paternal grandmother who used mango ginger with everything did not think of that.

    We call them sandhavai and usually one batch was made into kaaram (lemon, tomato or even tamarind) and the other for eating with sweetened coconut milk.

  2. LOL ... are thsoe tips for real?! I envy you and so wish I had real short hair as yours.
    Love mango and ginger together ... guess will have to wait till next year to try this. :-)

  3. i always like your tales and wait eagerly for your new post. Not disappointed till date. :)
    Mango ginger - not sure it came may way till now. easy to find it? And i love anything with rice noodles.

  4. do not fret, I have always has just about an inch of hair cut - same lines"to give it volume"...and have been fleeced...the wallet that is!
    The chutney is not just cheerfully green but sounds good too.

  5. Sra, thank you so much for all your info, you made me learn again at this whb!
    hope will find some mango ginger some time here in Italy, and when a dear friend og mine will be back from India in a few days I will ask her for Idiyappam as well! :-)
    about your hair, ... I understand you so much, I am always afraid when hairdressers propose you this & that!
    btw, I have been cutting my hair for years ONLY during crescent moon, all friends teasing me, hairdresser included!
    but I read somewhere that in Barcelona there is a pretty famous stylist that keep his studio open till midnight (or so) during crescent moon week! :-)
    thanks so much for participating, will e-mail you when the recap is on-line! :-)
    have a nice week!

  6. And I have a horror of them cutting too much off. Once I went to a haircutting school for a trim (my hair halfway to my waist) and because of a REALLY inept student who had to get the teacher to fix the nightmare, I left with just above shoulder length hair. The final cut was a good one. But I came away feeling pretty much like you did.

    I would have felt much better if I'd had some mango ginger to come home to though. I like that the idiyappam you made looks nice and dry. I wonder if the packages of dried rice vermicelli we get in Chinatown would work.

  7. Indo, I'd had it with c. milk and kurma and liked neither much, this was a nice alternative and am curious to try the tamarind version.
    Sharmila, it's mango-ginger, a kind of ginger that smells like mango. I find it only rarely.
    La, it's called mamidi allam in Telugu. Never heard of it?
    Lata, this had to be my most expensive haircut ever!
    Cindy, the waxing moon tip is do-able so I've resolved to do that for the next haircut! :-D
    Elizabeth, are they the glassy/translucent kind? I don't think the taste would be quite the same. The idiyappam is made from rice flour, water and a bit of salt, that's it.

  8. You sure have an interesting life. Why in a hurry btw to get long hair, you are like my 7 year old.

  9. Rats. They aren't glassy but they're made with just rice. We're going to replenish Indian spices tomorrow and will see if there are packages of idiyappam available.

  10. Idiyappam tossed in mango ginger......must have smelled so good.

  11. yes, i do love the color in the first photo. i also love the idea of mango and ginger, which i've never had before. you know i love mango, don't you? :-D

  12. Bong Mom, hurry, obviously, because I'm already several multiples of seven in age :)
    Elizabeth, Not glassy is good. They're not supposed to be.
    Jay, yes. Very delicately fragrant.
    Paz, yes I do. This is not mango and ginger, it's a kind of ginger that smells like mango.

  13. Wowo i would love to taste that idiyapam dish that sounds so so delicious.
    Chutney has beautiful color and I do wish I had the guts to have short hair like you. Hans might divorce me id get a real short hair cut :-)

  14. i still like the sound of it. thanks for clarifying it for me,

  15. Oooooh hair-raising tales!! I have too many of my own :D In fact, was thinking of blogging about it next and here I come across your post!
    On another note, I love mamidi allam! it has such a lovely smell and is not as pungent as ginger... Havent tried it in this kind of a chutney. But this is so super-easy... must try soon :)
    PS - hope ur able to comment on my blog now...

  16. Hibiscus leaves dries and steeped in coconut warm coconut oil- helped my mom who always had scanty hair to grow her hair long at age 60 - enuff said!

  17. Are the mangoes mentioned here raw? Im somewhat guessing it to be looking at the color of the chutney!

  18. Hi Anonymous, there are no mangoes here, it's a type of ginger we call mango-ginger as it smells of mango. The green comes from the coriander.


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