Melon Cucumber Spread and A Book Review
It has been long since I invested in a good cook book in recent times. Although I have been collecting cook books from my college days and have more than 200 plus of them crying out for space in my shelf. I find it difficult to connect with those books and most of them are mere hard copies I hardly refer to for my cooking.
Recently I came across a cook book ‘Cooking At Home With Pedatha’ written by the wonderful duo Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain. The book instantly caught my attention with the elegant cover and the subtle colors giving it an aesthetic look. The simple grandma’s recipes with useful tips and perfect pictures to match up with easily connects with the readers at the first sight.
The book has some authentic recipes from South India shared by Smt. Subhadra Krishna Rau Parigi who was fondly called as Pedatha, a great host and a versatile cook. It brings forth the simple and traditional ways of cooking traditional Andhra vegetarian meals.
The book has categorized the Andhra meals into spreads or chutneys, spicy powders, rice recipes, curries, crispies and sweets. You can find some very easy and scrumptious recipes for spreads using common vegetables such as carrots, brinjal, cucumber and gourd etc. Most of the recipes retain the authenticity of grandmas cooking. I found my Sanbhar tasting delightful after I used the exact proportion mentioned for the Sambhar powder in the book.
One another quick and easy recipe I found in the book is to soak the mustard seeds in water and grind along with green chillies and fresh coriander leaves. Mix the same with yogurt and eat it with hot plain rice. And you have a scrumptious treat ready in a go!
While flipping through the pages I felt my grandma is with me giving instructions for exact measurements and some special tips to make my cooking an unforgettable experience. My MIL incidentally belongs to the same place where Dr. V.V Giri former president of India (Pedatha is his oldest off spring) lived and has been dishing out delicious vegetarian Andra meals for her family for long. She was excited to see some of the rare and authentic recipes in the book which her grandmother used to make ages back! She asked me to try the melon cucumber spread from the book.
(As in Cooking at home with Pedatha)
- Melon cucumber 1 large
- Thick tamarind pulp 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
The 1st tempering
- Split black gram (husked) 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds 2 tsps
- Red chillies 5-6
- Green chillies 3-4
- Coriander leaves ¼ cup, chopped
- Asafoetida powder 1 tsp.
The 2nd Tempering
- Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp.
- Asafoetida powder 1/4 tsp.
Method; Peel the vegetable and dice it into cubes. Heat 2 tsps oil in a wok and add the gram, as it turns golden, pop the mustard. Take off from the flame add red chillies and the remaining ingredients.
Grind this tempering along with the tamarind pulp, salt and the diced veggies into a coarse paste and transfer into a clean bowl.
Heat rest of the oil and pop the mustard seeds, add asafoetida and temper the ground chutney again.
I followed the recipe which is on page 6 and got this delightful chutney. The only change I made is to grind the chutney in the end. We love this healthy and tangy Melon Cucumber spread with our chapattis and bread sandwiches .
I like to make dishes which are easy to cook, retains the nutritional value of the food and include loads of veggies and various grains in it. The cook book is for sure to keep if you are looking for some authentic recipes which are simple and healthy to add to your daily meals.
- You can avoid grinding and serve the spread as it is as shown in the book.
- Melon cucumber is called Dossa kai in Tamil.
- Can try the same recipe with other veggies as well. Carrots, radish, cucumber and brinjal will make a scrumptious spread.