Friday, June 20, 2014


Does your heart desire something really badly? You used to have something readily available at your disposal and now it seems unattainable. The urge for that   can gnaw your psyche. 

For me parwal tops the chart. It had been 6 years since I ate the vegetable. Back during my working career at Kol when I was dependent on the cafeteria at work for my meals, parwal ruled the roost. It was the ONLY vegetable cooked during summers along with cauliflower being the only one cooked during winters. I used to be sick of parwal. Like how much of one vegetable can you have? There are so many other summer vegetables - but no the chef had a love affair with parwal. I used to hate it so much, that when I  used to come home, I would bar mom from cooking that. It is one of the vegetables which is to my dad's liking. He does not like many of them, but this cheeky veggie made it to his good books. So when I abolished it, he was not a very happy man. But his elder daughter came only for so many days and he gave up. Hence I never consumed the vegetable anywhere else but my office cafeteria. My next stint was at Hyderabad and I saw some glimpses of the vegetable - though not much. I was surely happier.

After marriage I moved to Chennai. But something insidious happened before marriage. During one of the festivities organised as part of the marriage rituals, there was a feast at home. One of the items on the menu was potolo rasa. I am not sure if this is the authentic recipe, I have no idea of cooking parwal at all, because by the time I got into cooking I was kinda into a full blown hateful relationship with it. Coming back to the point, the dish that was cooked at home, was oh! I don't have words. It was something that could convert a meat-eater to be forever vegetarian. I was in love. Madly in love. I vowed to cook that vegetable every week in my soon to be new home. Luck strike 1. Chennai and parwal had not met each other! Interesting. I was not sure how come this green thing had not made its foray into a vegetarian heartland. I started missing the it. Now when I went home, I demanded to have the vegetable. Stroke of luck 2, for some reason or other, it would not be available. The entire time I was in Chennai, I never got to eat it, be it at home or away.

After coming to the UK, we started getting our Indian vegetables from a local store that stocks international foods. As is the theme of my life, the only veggie that was missing was - yea - parwal. (Strike 3)  Boo hoo! Recently we even chanced upon a site that delivers vegetables straight from India. We hunted the elusive one and it said that there is a ban on it till August 2014. Seriously?! (I have stopped keeping count of the knock out punches I am being given in my Pursuit of Parwal.)  Not all was lost. Mummy was coming here. Definitely she could smuggle some of those greenies.  Not a lot, just a kilo. She was all set. Had even purchased the consignment. Now she had to take a domestic flight till Delhi and then the international one. A day before her travel, a well meaning acquaintance made us aware that the baggage limit had been reduced to 15 kilos (or something like that). So, though she had an international allowance of 30 kgs, she had half of it for her domestic flight. A lot of vital stuff were ditched and my precious was also one of them!!!! 

It has been 6 years since I have been clean of the vegetable. Someday little green one, you and I shall be one. Till then the heart yearns for thee.


Renu said...

patal as parwal is called in Calcutta..was really good there..I liked the stuff version, but in UP we eat only sweets made of it..

Ashma said...

hehehe... this is something I didnt know.. I love parwal both the stir fry version and the pressure cooked grave ones.. they are awesome.

Btw I just bought 1/2 kg yesterday :-p

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