“Let’s see who finishes their juice first,” challenges my brother Arvind. At four years, he’s just a year older than me and we haven’t yet grown to the stage where I get smarter than him!
Being very young and very gullible, I promptly glug my juice down.
I’ve related in an earlier episode my epic capacity for stretching out every meal to an at least two hour session and sometimes more… the one exception to this was any kind of juice – bottled non-fizzy drinks were good but home made lime “juth” as we called it, was the best and we could between us polish off several large jugfuls!
That we were supposed to put it inside us was understood but that large quantities invariably ended up all around us and outside of our stomachs was a fallout from being given juice in very large jugs which we couldn’t handle but were happy to drink out of – the more the juice, the sweeter the juice, the merrier and stickier the kids!
And so back to my brother’s challenge – who’ll finish their juice faster. Invariably I’d end up forgetting what had happened the previous time and proceed to glug down the juice at a tremendous speed and proudly announce that I was DONE! Upon which, my brother would promptly turn around and jeer, “naana naana naanaa… (or something like that!); YOUR juice is over; I’VE still got mine!” and proceed to slowly drink it right in front of my eyes, relishing every drop!
My jaw would drop, I would stare at his glass, still gloriously almost full, my chin would begin to tremble and the fat drops would gather and no, no gentle tears rolling down, rather full-fledged lungs gathering to bawl out loudly, lustily and long!! The bawling would have its effect – one or both of the parents would come charging in, berating him for teasing a smaller sibling! But, and it was a very important but, he would have had his moment in the sun and when you are three or four years old, that moment is all that matters, right?!
It took me all of three or four years to catch on to this game and then, of course, he moved on to another one… and three or four years later… you get the drift?
Those moments in the sun may be important but just now, in miserably hot and humid Chennai, the moments are far too many to handle and have me searching out old and forgotten recipes which involve little or no cooking… remembered one of these and adapted it to tonight’s dinner – a no-cook poha (beaten rice) dish from Maharashtra called…
- Thin poha – 4 cups (red poha or thick poha won’t do)
- Chopped onions – 1 cup
- Grated coconut – 1 cup
- Grated mango – 1/4 cup
- Grated carrot – 1
- Chopped cucumber – 1
- Minced green chilies – 2-3
- Chopped mint and / or coriander – 3 tbsp
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sugar – 1.5 tsp
- Jeera powder – 1/2 tsp
Mix everything together and season with 1 tsp mustard seeds, a large pinch of asafoetida and 2 tbsp of curry leaves in 2 tbsp of oil.
Let everything rest for about ten minutes – the poha is softened by the juices in the vegetables and coconut. All you need is a bowl of yogurt or even better – several glasses of majjiga (buttermilk) or, best of all, a large jug of fresh lime juice – be sure to get it all in your tummy!
(The original recipe calls for only onions and coconut but I like my veggies!)