Thursday, January 3, 2008
Cheenikaayi Saasve(Pumpkin Raita)
Saasve, it might kind of sound strange to anyone who can understand Kannada. Saasve, in Kannada actually means mustard seeds. Then why is raitha called saasve??? I really do not know. But that's how it is referred to at my place. Most of the Kannadigas refer to raithas as "mosarubajji"(now, don't ask me why it is called bajji if it's not deep fried). The same goes for many other things. Like for example, my hubby's place everything is Saaru....BeLe saaru, tiLi saaru, tarkaari saaru etc., where as, at my place Saaru is of thin consistency and does not have any vegetables(except for maybe tomatoes) and huLi is thicker and has vegetables and spice blends ground with coconut. And my hubby is quick to tease me here, 'huLi' in Kannada means 'sour', so... why that name. Then we make amends deciding that Sambar would be more appropriate. Well, 'Culinary nomenclature' now, guess that would make for a serious study. But, as for me, honouring my origins from where I've been handed these recipes, I will call this Saasve and everything else as it is referred to back home. I feel I owe them that much. You are free to call it what you like, raitha, mosarubajji, saaru, huLi.... hey, 'What's in a name?'. And personally, I feel, these subtle differences add more spice to life. You talk about it, maybe you even have mock fights and make up. It is these little things that make life more interesting and lively. Don't y'all think so??? :-)
Now, getting back to Saasve. Saasve has always been this humble meal accompaniment, this side kick, (side dish I mean). Its importance at the dining table keeps varying depending upon the season. Cold, shivery, unkind winters are not at all the time for this dish. You remember to do it when the stock of veggies in the fridge is dwindling or just withering away. Prepared in the smallest possible vessel, the poor dish waits eagerly to be just noticed, asked to be served, to be eaten. Come summer and it rules the mealtimes. The tables turn in its favour. Who would feel like eating the hot and spicy sambars that leave one feeling too full and heavy and sweaty on sweltering summer days??? The cool and refreshing saasve leaves everyone happy and feeling good. Rice and chapathis just seem to disappear when served with saasve. Accompanied by either happaLas or sandiges(pappads/badis) it is heaven spread out on a plate. My mom used to make these wheat sandiges, that were oh! just so right with saasve. I promise to post the recipe of that (wheat sandige)one some time. But I dont think I will ever be able to prepare it due to the cumbersome work involved. So, no pictures. My mom herself has stopped making them and where is the place to sun dry them here anyway???(he... he... ;-) I've got good excuses too).
Saave can be made from so many different vegetables...benDekaayi(okra), (cheenikaayi)
pumpkin, (heerekaayi)ridgegourd, doNmeNsinkaayi(capsicum), which need cooking and the regular cucumber, tomato, onion which can be used raw. There is even a Maavina haNNina saasve, yup mango raita, for which you will need wild ripe mangoes. That will take up a whole new blog entry, so, someother time. Well, in any case Saaves are yummmm... dont ignore them. Go ahead and try...For right now, here's the recipe of pumpkin raitha.
3 cups Pumpkin cubes, peeled, washed and deseeded
2 cups Curds
1/2 cup fresh ground Coconut
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste
1. Cook the pumpkin cubes using very little water, until tender. You can cook them in either a pressure cooker or the microwave. Just take care not to over cook them.
2. Let it cool compeletely. Add the curds, salt,ground coconut paste and the coriander leaves and mix well.
3. Heat oil for tempering. Add the mustard seeds. When they start sputtering add urad dal, curry leaves and hing. Add this to the pumpkin bowl and mix well.
4. Serve with rice and sandige(fryums).