Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sheetal’s pumpkin, for the kith and kin!

Before Sheetal got married, she grew up in a nuclear family. So nuclear was the family, that anybody in the name of a kith or a kin was taboo at their house. Her father wantedher to excel in as many fields as was humanly possible!

Her mother, being the traditional Indian woman, supported her father to the hilt (though it beats every fathomable reason as to how a culture can make second-fiddles of highly talented women, just so that they don’t outgrow or out-shoot their men)!

Post her marriage, she found herself no different from her mother, yielding to her husband’s wishes and demands, though she did most of it to avoid any unpleasant situation, rather than out of conviction. Many times she would point out to the gender bias that plagued the Indian society, whether or not her husband supported the argument.

Though Sheetal came across as a head-strong individual, she was family centric and if there was one area where she listened to her gut feel, it was cooking! Her husband was as much a foodie as she was a health watcher!

She loved cooking and refused to compromise on nutrition to accommodate an enhanced taste. Her husband’s side of the family would not miss an opportunity to meet up and have food together. This culture, though alien to her, was a welcome change!

But due to the excessive love for food, most of them had health issues. She would try and make different items, consciously avoiding coffee and fried papad, inclusion of which would have fetched her the tag of ‘an awesome cook!’

During one of the get-togethers, she decided to include white pumpkin in an unidentifiable way, so that all and sundry were made to consume it raw! Now, most of you must be thinking what a devil she was and by Jove, she loved being the known devil as her husband was detected of diabetes.

I was surprised at the conviction with which Sheetal spoke on feminism and suddenly changed positions to care for her husband, putting behind the bitterness that she had for men in general and the conservative ones in particular.

I realise that women are the natural care-givers of a family and therefore, to get themselves out of the bonds that curtail them, they have to take care of themselves first, before they begin taking care of others! When women realise this they can switch roles with ease.

Here is a simple recipe of the pumpkin raita that Sheetal made for my kith and kin!
In a bowl take curd and beat it to homogeneity.

Grind white pumpkin (remove the thick outer skin and cut it into small cubes), 2 small pieces of coconut, a small finger length ginger, salt. Mix the ground paste with the beaten curds.

In a small pan, heat one teaspoon ghee. Splutter a few mustard seeds, cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida, one green (or red) chilli (slit), curry leaves and coriander leaves (the curry leaves and coriander leaves may also be ground along with other ingredients) and add to the raita.

Decorate with mint leaves on top.  

Pumpkin raita, for her kith and kin...

The latest news is that, not only does her family and the extended family relish the raita, her husband's sugar levels have reached manageable levels!