Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shakkar Kutti !

Another delectable variety of mango that one gets to taste  in India. Relish it raw, feast on it as a fruit ..or still better savor it in Sambhar!

We as a family are not partial to the khatta -meetha tastes in South Indian cooking.Be it the milagai podi ( gun-powder ) with jaggery, or the thiruvadhirai kali with kootu combo ..or jaggery in vetha kozhambu. We believe in mutually exclusive tastes.

However, Shakkar kutti - (home name and there was never a doubt about her gender ) is the only exception to this.

One has to go on a search for this variety that appears in the market towards the end of the season and disappears as fast as well. But Lakshmi ..the lady who  sell vegetables and fruits in 9th Block Jayanagar, right in front of the coconut Mandi  stocks it every season. Even if the basket looks empty, she pulls out a few kgs from the secret chambers of her cart for the regular customers.
Have always been amazed at her marketing skills and after sales service ..like slicing the yam into cubes of manageable size, peeling the peas as you shop. My little one, when she was little asked me loudly -" Amma will she also make vendakkai curry ?" . How I wish she did ?!

Ah .I tend to digress.

Nowadays the cartwalla just opposite Adiga's, off  Bannerghatta road too has this variety. But he looks very angry and does not let you pick and choose. He might as well be selling karela. Lakshmi is an angel who has internalized shakkar kuttis very nature and  lets you pamper, cajole and pick your shakkar kutti's and pack a few extra ones too.

Some get eaten raw on the way back home. Some relished as a ripe fruit. The ever-green  shakkar kutti looks the same raw or ripe.
What  remains get into the Sambhar, where they take an altogether new avatar. The evergreen shakkar kutti takes on a lovely shade of yellow while retaining all her juices within and letting just her aroma get into the sambhar. So the sambhar does not get the 'asadu' taste and retains its authentic taste.

Fairly simple recipe.

Imli water, a paste of roasted chana dhal, dhaniya seeds and red chilies and salt to taste. Dropping each shakkar kutti into the sambhar is a celebrated event at home. Sashvat and Shakti divide the shakkar kutti's equally among them only to delight in dropping them one by one into the bubbly Sambhar. Sometimes they  track the ones  they dropped up to the table.

Isn't she adorable , floating in Sambhar ?!

See the magic there? By now the whole house emanates the khatta -meetha aroma. Tastes best with Rice, and she needs no accompaniments.

But the real challenge is to choose between 'Nei' or 'Nallennai' - to go with the hot rice. No prize for guessing. We end up with  a double serving .Once with Ghee and once with gingely oil.So on and so forth!

That is the story of Shakkar Gudli ..which is her original name.  Actually had  to smuggle a small portion for DH from my shakkar kuttis who just love it!