Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mudru Shamlai/A Dimasa Dish

Mudru Shamlai
Picking the first bottle gourd from the vine in my back-yard today the thought that came to my mind was, mudru. The other ingredients like the leafy greens, chillies and beans are all home-grown too! Mudru is a dish that combines a mix of vegetables and stewed till tender. The vegetables are generally a mix of greens, bottle gourd, beans, and banana blossom. The variety of greens used are numerous. Tender leaves of the bottle gourd and pumpkin, leaves from the brassica family, spinach, goosefoot, amaranth, even the tender leaves of the squash/chayote and teasle gourd are all added to mudru. At the near-end of cooking, toasted and ground oil-producing seeds like sesame and perilla/snem are added to the dish.The seasonings are salt and a little bit of heat. Either herbs or crushed garlic is used as a garnish.
Not only the bottle gourd but the beans, chillies and lettuce are all home-grown!
I like to cook this dish in chicken stock as it greatly changes the taste and makes it delicious. Going by the colour, it may not look attractive at all but the ingredients are fresh and tender with a natural sweetness that you get in the freshest of produce. This year the bottle gourd in my back-yard is showing signs of bearing in abundance. The past few years I have not been lucky but when my boys were very young I used to have an enviable harvest of bottle gourds. Who knows I might be blessed with that kind of bounty all over again...

The ingredients:
2 cups chopped bottle gourd
1 cup hyacinth beans
8-10 lettuce leaves
3 green chillies, scored lengthwise
Salt to taste
3 tbs perilla seeds, toasted and ground
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup well-seasoned chicken stock
The ingredients:only a quarter of this gourd was used for the mudru.
For very tender bottle gourd, there is no need to peel off the skin. Simply scrape it off lightly. Then chop into 1" pieces.
String the beans and chop into a similar size.
Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a pan. Add the gourd pieces. When they are half-done, add the beans, the chicken stock and chillies .
Cook till the beans are tender. Season with salt keeping in mind the salt content in the chicken stock.
Wash the lettuce under running water to remove any sign of grit. Tear into pieces or halve each leaf.
Add to the mudru. Cook for a few more minutes then add the toasted and ground snem. Give it a good stir. Then add the crushed garlic.
Remove from the flame and transfer to a serving bowl. Additional garnish with coriander or serrated coriander can be used also.
This is best eaten with steaming hot rice. Something fried or crispy (like potatoes) makes a good accompaniment to this dish.

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