Maddhu or aati payasam is made from the leaves of maddhu soppu or Justicia wynaadensis leaves, a medicinal plant, endemic to the Western Ghats. This plant grows in the shades of the Kodagu belt and has many medicinal properties. Traditionally, it is believed that this plant, if cooked on the 18th day after the onset of Aati thinga, has 18 types of medicines. It can be cooked any other time though. Let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?
Colocasia. This miracle vegetable is a zero-waste, edible from head to toe prodigy. It has various delicacies revolving around it by utilizing its leaves, stems, roots, and also its tuber. It is of many types, black colocasia ( black stem elephant ears), pathrode leaves, white colocasia ( Taro ) etc,.
This recipe specifically calls for the black colocasia. This is a purple stemmed Colocasia found near marshy areas and is a perennial plant. As a cuisine, the young leaves and the stems of this taro is used. The vegetable alone can be very itchy during preparation. If the itchiness is intolerable, some tamarind juice or black vinegar ( something mildly acidic) can be applied. It’s an excellent source of fibre and has many health benefits. Let’s get onto the recipe, shall we?
Toadstools or mushrooms are something that has created an unofficial Olympics for Mushroom hunting amongst families, from generations. I would rather bravely state that, mushroom is a cursed treasure unspoken of. I mean it literally because you would never find a person who’d yell at the top of his lungs about the mushrooms he’d found in his estate. If yes, that person is either a fool or not a localite. A person in Kodagu might leave a gold coin behind but never a mushroom. Be it even in somebody else’s estate, you see it first, it’s all yours. Such are its bewitching powers.
As soon as the first showers hit the dry earth and the lightning cracks it open, people after milking their cows head to the secret places, passed on from generation to generation. The sacred place where the mushroom grows, which is the place where the dormant spores lie from the last year…
Huttari, (meaning ಹೊಸ ತೆನೆ -New paddy stalk) along with being a promise of a reunion of scattered relatives is also a season of the rustling of dry, golden, and proud paddy stalks. A time when parrots soar the sky with a determination to taste the golden cereals of delight. A time when wild boars and elephants are head over heals to munch down the fibrous goodies. And thus, the season of sleepless nights for framers on stakeouts with battery torches, lighters ( Both to drag a beedi to keep them warm and also to light the sutli bombs) and two well trained dogs.
We’ve all sipped on the mango flavored Paper boat brand of juices which claims to remind us of our childhood. I am not sure about the feeling of nostalgia but I find the marketing strategy very clever. So, here I am. Writing the Paper boat series of stories of my childhood away from the harsh pixel world. Let us all have our doses of Paper boat and actually indulge in nostalgia, shall we?