On one of my trips to a street grocery shop, I spotted some greens and jumped with joy! A childhood memory struck me. “These are the exact greens that mum used to temper with coal!” I thought to myself, as if I had found gold under a mud pile.
While going back home, I called mum. “Mummy, I found those greens!” She, being my mother, knew too many greens. What is it, she asked, and gave me a few options. Beans? Garlic leaves? Spring onions? “What did you find?” she finally questioned again. “Mummy. You used to mix onions and cumin seeds in it, with some smoke that you got from the ghee-tempered coal,” I answered. I was losing my mind. “Oh! Mogri?” she beamed and started laughing. And I broadly smiled! Yes. Yes. Yes.
There are some food memories that are etched in your mind forever. Mogri or radish pods hold the same for me. As a child, it fascinated me how my mum used the smokiness of the charcoal and basically created magic with some roughly chopped onions and fresh radish pods. Eating it as a side dish gave me a rustic, homely feeling. Reliving a memory is incredible.
These radish pods, however, are not available the entire year. It’s a seasonal veggie. So, dear readers. Don’t ignore them the next time you go to your street grocery shop. For you’re not going to find this treasure in those high-end gourmet stores of yours.
Make some mogri as a side dish or salad with your rice/roti and dal/kadi. Believe you me, you’ll thank God for all the winter goodness and delight you’ve stumbled upon.
By the way, dear readers, I’m listening to some Kishore Kumar songs today. The peace one gets from his voice and tunes cannot be explained. Background score, presently: Khilte hain gul yahan, khil ke bikharne do.
How are you enjoying your winters?
Recipe: Chamkyodi Mogri or Charcoal-tempered Radish Pods
Chopped mogri or radish pods (pick the tiny ones; they taste even better)
A medium-sized coal chunk
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Chop the veggies. Make sure you wash the mogri well. Now, heat some ghee in a kadai. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds and after a few seconds, add in the veggies. Add salt and chilli powder and stir the veggies for 30 seconds and transfer it to a deep bowl. Next up, you have to burn a piece of charcoal on the stove. Once it starts to become gray, you know it’s ready. Put it in a tiny bowl, and place it in between the veggies in the deep bowl. Now add a teaspoon of ghee onto the hot charcoal and close the lid, quickly, so that the smoke doesn’t escape.