Friday, April 19, 2013

Appealing To The Universe, With a Gourd

I haven't meant to become a columnist on my own blog, writing just once or twice a month, but that's how things are turning out, much to my dismay. The only good thing, among many bad things, that prevents me from doing that is that I wind down for the day earlier than I used to. I seem to be going through a slow and sluggish phase and I really wish things would change.

Let's see if the law of attraction works for me. Here I go throwing my wishes out into the universe: I wish things would change for the better, for you, me, everyone, the world. I wish we could be peaceful and content, with just enough desire to propel us on to achieving whatever we want. I wish for the strength and will to accomplish those dreams. I wish for patience and fortitude to stand me in good stead while I'm waiting. (But really, I just wish I get what I want without much struggle!)

I have several material wishes too: I wish we have a lot of time to follow our passions and interests, whether they are travelling the world, decluttering a life and home, or writing a blog or a book. Make that books. I want the abundance of health, time, energy, money and peace of mind to follow my dreams independently, and I want to look back on life and see one for which I can pat myself on the back. I wish the universe grants me this and much more. I wish it gives you whatever you wish for, too.

And of course I wish none of these wishes, when they come true, fall into the be-careful-what-you-wish-for, you-might-just-get-it category

Now while we wait for the universe to pool its energies and help us (and that may sound irreverent but I certainly don't intend it that way, the above-written portion of this post was written with much deliberation), let me show you how to make some snake gourd chutney.

There seemed to be a time in my mid-20s when the snake in snake gourds seemed to be going out of circulation. Till then, I only saw long, curly, grey-green snake gourds a mile-long suspended from their vines, draped over an uncle's arm when he visited from the village (this image is not mine, but it's one of my favourite movie cliches), sold whole in the market. It was also that smelly vegetable I never ate, among others, before I went to live in the hostel. Then when I set up a kitchen in a new region, I only saw what I thought was the antithesis of snake gourd or the form that gave it its name. It was very short and stubby, more gourd than snake. Curiously, the ridge gourd, which I knew only to be shorter and smaller, was very long and tiresome to process. They still are. While I see the long snake gourds back in existence, I rarely see the small ridge gourds.

I think this was made with the short and stubby ones.

2 cups of washed, peeled and chopped/diced snake gourd


1 tbsp of oil

after tempering it with

1/2-1 tsp of mustard seed
1/2 tsp of cumin
6-7 green chillies (or fewer)
1 tsp of black gram/urad dal
3-4 cloves of garlic

You need not tend to it constantly if you sprinkle some water on it and cook it covered on a low fire till transparent and tender, but not soft and wilted. You can add some salt midway.


Grind to the consistency you like. I prefer it to have some texture so I don't grind it fine.

Add this mixture to

1-1.5 cups of beaten curds

Garnish with coriander, and curry leaf fried separately in a spot of oil. Or you can choose to add the curry leaf with the rest of the tempering.