I adore my greens.
And one of the myriad reasons why I love winters is the prolific abundance of greens.
Of course there’s the regular perennials.
Pui or Malabar Spinach.
Even Amaranth or the favourite laal shaak of my childhood, whose magic would dye my fingers to a sublime pink-red !!
But then there’s those that only the grey winter-man brings along.
Like the gorgeous radish greens I see this morning.
And nostalgia transports me to the fierce winters of Karimganj.
The pretty radish fledglings, with their crowns of pristine green, peep coyly through the soil in our backyard.
Manikkaka, dressed in his khaki sweater and armed with the ancient battered aluminium watering can, checks on them diligently every morning.
Just as the gorgeous beauties have thrust their tiny heads through the warmth of the earth. With dogged determination.
Another two days Ginnimaa, Manikkaka shouts back to Grandma reading her leather-bound Ramayana in the verandah, and then they should be ready to be harvested.
And then one mellow sunshine morning, Manikkaka’s adept hands loosen the soil around the radish heads and with an experienced snatch, pull them out of the safe refuge of the earth.
Pretty pink with pompous plumes of verdant green.
Grandma has a repertoire of radish recipes up her sleeve and soon the kitchen gets busy churning out culinary delights with the radish taking proud center-stage.
And yes, even the radish greens don’t go waste.
In fact, far from that.
Didi chops the radish greens and stir-fries them with a throw of freshwater shrimps.
And even Dada, not the most ardent lover of greens, asks for a second helping of Didi’s Chingri diye Mulo Shaak.
Grandma and Maa exchange a smile.
So here it is. Didi’s Chingri diye Mulo Shaak. Fresh radish greens. A splutter of kalonji. A throw of shrimps. A hint of kasundi. Some chillies if you love the heat.
Sublime with a bowl of piping hot rice.
Simple pleasures of life !!!
And if you relish your greens as much as I do, do try my Chingri diye Mulo Shaak before the radish season runs out.