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Oh! for some good old vegetable stew

Illustration: Surendra

Illustration: Surendra  

An all-time favourite, ladies' fingers have been banished from my daily menu for quite a while. This delectable dish has fallen prey to the skyrocketing prices, which have touched Rs. 64 a kg.

Umm… lip-smacking ladies' fingers roast!

Sighing, I glanced away from the pile of okra lying untouched at the local vegetable shop. An all-time favourite, it has been banished from my daily menu for quite a while. This delectable dish has fallen prey to the skyrocketing prices, which have touched Rs. 64 a kg. Competing with the delectable vegetable are the sambhar onions or shallots which cost around the same.

Caught in a dilemma and wondering — to buy or not to buy and which one to buy — I vividly recall those times when our daily menu included the grandma's vegetable stew or kootu. Whether it was balancing the budget or the day-to-day menu, grandma was the expert. The daily quota of veggies was very, very important. No exceptions, she would insist.

She would buy a little of all the vegetables, maybe 100 gm or so, or use the leftover vegetables in the refrigerator tray to cook something tasty. Uggh! Even the horrible spinach, snake gourd, brinjal, cabbage and chow chow wouldn't be left out.

The vegetables, whatever were available, would be chopped, cooked and dhal added along with a paste of coconut, cumin seed and green chillies. Finally, with a dash of seasoning, the simmering vegetable stew did look inviting. It could be had with chapattis, rice or even as a side dish for dosas.

The trick was that when different veggies were cooked together, it masked the taste of those veggies you didn't really like. This way the grandma ensured that fussy eaters, particularly the children, had most, if not all, vegetables included in their diet.

Coming back to earth, I stepped out of the shop, my purse lighter. Strangely enough, my vegetable bag also felt light! The truth dawned on me. The equation has clearly changed, hasn't it? Those days, for less money, the bag felt heavier.

( The writer's email id is vidyav123@gmail.com)

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 11:40:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/Oh-for-some-good-old-vegetable-stew/article15538378.ece

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