It was Sriram Navami a couple of days back. As much as I remember Lord Rama on the occasion of his birthday, it is all about Panaka, Majjige and Kosambari. We did not celebrate the festival this time because my Grandmother was operated upon that day. We reserve the celebration for tomorrow. Thanks to Lord Rama my Grandmother is recuperating.
Back to Ramanavami. For me this occasion somehow brings back my school days. It was around Ramanavami that the results of Final exam would be announced. Many a years it would be right on the day of Ramanavami. On such days, we did set out to bring our Report Cards and en-route munch on Kosambari served ubiquitously by devotees of Lord Rama on the roadside, at temples etc . There would be tonnes of Kosambari, and liters of Panaka /Maggige. Some would taste soggy and sad, some bright, happy and a sheer delight to our senses. Eating the cold salad right under the early summer sun had a charm of its own. Ah! Wonder years, they were.
My Grandfather has a practice of taking us kids, his own and all the kids in the neighborhood, basically, who ever wanted to walk a milk to hear his stories and eat all the goodies he gave, to his farmland. There was a Banni tree and he did arrange for Kosambari-Panaka-Majjige routine there. The specialty of course was his story telling session. He was an expert and well loved story teller. So we kids would trek all the way to the farmland and listen to his stories, mostly related to Lord Rama and eat Kosambari served in 'Donne' a bowl make of dried leaves and drink utterly sweet Panaka and Buttermilk in stainless steel glasses. Of course there were no disposable plastic ware to choke our farms and farm animals! After all the eating we did linger around trying to siphon off the end of the season 'Elachi kayi' / Ber fruit...By then all the 'Avarekai' would have gone, and we did wait for Mangoes. There were a few mango trees right next to the 'Banni' tree. It was my favorite place to hang out. I did climb one of the smaller trees and hoist myself on its lowest branch. (That would probably be about 7-8 feet from the ground!) I did be in heaven till the big-bad-red-ant got me!! The 'Raspuri' Mangoes from that tree used to be so sweet, so juicy, never had anything like that after the tree died. Yes, it did after my Grandfather......
We will need,
Herekai/ Ridge Gourd 1 big (about 1 lb)
Onion 1 small diced
Expeller pressed Peanut oil 1 tbsp
Hulipudi / Sambar Powder 1 tsp
Green Chillies 2 slit
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Hing a dash
Fennel Seeds a generous Pinch
Salt to taste
Lime juice to taste
- Wash and clean Herekai. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the ridges and discard the same. Chop the Ridge Gourd set it aside.
- Heat oil in a wok, throw the mustard seeds. One they pop, follow with cumin and fennel seeds. After 5 second, throw in the Hing.
- Now add the diced onions and green chillies. Saute till the onions are soft.
- Throw in the Ridge gourd, a little salt and the Huli-Pudi. Cover and cook on low.
- Once the Ridge gourd is cooked, adjust salt and lime juice and remove from heat. serve it with rice or Chapatis.