Thursday, September 22, 2016

My guides, amazing chefs.:)

My dear annoying guides have a way of poking their noses in every area of my life. For 3 days until yesterday's storm they kept me on a rising high chatting. "It's ok! Very good! Nothing to worry about!! Tell them! Speak your mind!"

Very rapid downer after, I tell you. They seem to think the world awaits my explanation of right and wrong, and all people will be transformed, change and become good on contact with my amazing self. Naive and trusting creatures, guides - twitterati are hardboiled, sick, contemptuous and hate me - shouldn't the guides know this?! My gut is still recovering from that drop.:)

Anyway, about 2-3 months ago they wanted me to give up onion and garlic. Fine, i did it, grudgingly, but stopped buying the stuff. Later skygirl posted that onion and garlic divides/cleaves the brain in two, so I felt better about my sacrifice eventually.:)

About 1 month ago, they wanted me to stop buying veggies. Unreasonable as always! I still buy tomato & chillies (who can live without those?? They say I can, but I have grave doubts!:p), but I stopped the onion and garlic to keep the peace, now veggies, done.

About 2 weeks ago, when I felt I'd die of nutrient starvation on just grains (which they ALSO want me to stop btw, mad creatures!), and by chance about the time I also figured out how to make ragi mudde soft and yum, they said they'd help me pick out veggies again.

I'd been sneaking yum junk foods off the street because I'd been feeling so deprived all these weeks, but one can only do that for so long! I was happy to shop veggies again.:)

There's only so much starvation I can take being a foodie of the worst kind (I'd taken to eating Singapore cherries for meals from desperation for variety, fhs).

So I suggested every fabulous vegetable vendor I knew (starting from the cheapest, I'm a cheapie), visualized every vegetable & fruit I know available there -- but *no* to everything! So it had to be from my veg garden, which is overrun with greens on vines & not at all exciting to my exotic palate, unless starving, when there are so many more colourful veggies like carrots and cabbage and beans.,(

But ok. I pointed to purple basale (I need to look it up for it's botanical name, but it's a kind of mucilaginous spinach vine), they said good; basil, good; tulsi, good; and then insistently pointed out a common, local weed that I never know what to do with (don't want to kill, not sure it should grow).

They wanted me to pull it up by the roots (usually taboo with guides - I'm guessing this has a taproot and doesn't do well trimmed). I took a quite few, resigned to giving it a shot if they wanted me to eat it *even if it killed me).

There's only one recipe I know for greens. One. But it tastes so good that I've never bothered to learn any other.:) Most cooks know 10-20 ways to make anything, but I'm a bit picky about learning dishes I don't like instantly. What's the point, right?

Even Massoppu, my recipe, is only one of about 6 ways to make it. It's a poor woman's go-to for potgreens, any number of leafy greens can be cooked with tamarind, onion, garlic and lentils to go with rice or ragi/millet.

Anyway, full of enthusiasm I potted these greens with lentils, tomatoes, chillies and tamarind. Onions and garlic being out - broke my heart to lose those flavours. I made some ragi mudde to go with it. Initially it was mucilaginous but as the base developed, it looked good.

I was starved by this time, so I filled a steaming bowlful on ragi mudde ... and the whole thing was bitter!

I was deeply disappointed of course, and mad at the guides again, but puzzled. I asked loads of people for days why it might have become bitter -- by this time I'd forgotten the common weed!'

I didn't chuck it, but I didn't eat it either. I ate out, I cooked other simple stuff and just looked at this weird mess on and off. I didn't reheat it either, what was the point if I was  going to throw it anyway?

All this was 2 weeks ago. On and off I'd make up my mind to chuck the damned thing and free up the vessel, and take a lick to see if by some miracle it might have lost the bitterness and gotten tasty again. Of course it didn't. Puzzling!(cause guides are weird but never wrong. Narcs, you see.;)

The day before yesterday, someone asked me to name all the ingredients and I suddenly remembered the weed which might well have been bitter! All this time I'd been quite mad at them guides, of course, but then that's how they are. Still and affluent when they get their way, clamorous when they don't. Very hard to understand at all times!

I tasted it. Still bitter. And then I realised an extraordinary thing - the massoppu had stayed unspoilt for nearly 14 days! Without refrigeration, with a protein (lentils), tomatoes & green chillies! How could it even be possible?

New respect for my guides! What on earth stays unrefrigerated, unheated, unfermented, unspoilt and tastes as good (if bitter) for 14 bloody days??

So today I made a basmati rice to actually eat it. And I just did! It tastes like it did when I made it, went down ok, the bitterness actually fades in time and is replaced by a sweetness that lasts (I'm sure the cause is that my bitter tastebuds have atrophied!:).
About 20 mins after eating, my mouth and lips got tingly and cool. So there is a ferment of sorts!

I was sure I'd die of an allergic reaction but that hasn't happened yet. The sweetness is persistent at the back of my mouth - feels amazing actually. My throat is slightly scratchy now nearly an hour later, but nothing else!

yay!! Now I can cook ONCE in 2 WEEKS, save gas, not worry about forgetting to reheat, not refrigerate!!:))

This is what I love about kimchi too - no cooking hassle. Salt and forget.:)

Bitterness is good for the liver according to ayurveda. Personally I'm not too fond of it - I have a sweet tooth and a lousy liver. My bile is all over my skin I think, and certainly in my urine. Just nowhere near my digestive system. lol

If I don't die by the time I finish it all (I'd made a lot so ... 3 days?) I'm going to make it again!

It's a common local weed and it does so much amazing food preservation! My guides are extraordinary. *muah*

If it does good for me, my dogs & cats will have to deal with bitterness too ... and better livers.:)

And I'll give up the farm tomatoes and chillies! (but even as I write this my tonsils are feeling tingly). It might be a kind of neem - that's a tree, but may be a related weed?- it's so bitter.

I'm also wondering if bitterness is astringent to the blood? A blood purifier of olden times?

Anyway, I'm grateful to my guides for guiding me away from all the plump and colourful veggies I used to love, that are full of water and expensive pesticides.

This weed is everywhere in my untouched garden. Untouched because I can't grow things with a black thumb. It grows on it's own! Thank you, strange imaginary extraordinary beings!!

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