Tuesday, December 26, 2006

ponkh-sev,a palate tickler



i am always amazed at the various ethnic varieties that indian food offers.a friend from gujarat met me yesterday and he brought with him ponkh and sev. ponkh is a speciality of surat and is generally eaten during winter.it is accompanied by pepper sev. the small green lentil-looking beans has a slightly sweetish and succulent flavour. and after eating it one washes it down with lots of chhaas or lassi.

it is ponkh season now and my friend advised me to eat it when it is fresh. "if you want more do let me know and i will send you fresh ponk from surat"', he added, confident in the belief that i will crave for more. shopkeepers generally sell ponk alongwith some sugar.the price for ponkh currently is about rs 240/kg!.

there are many ponkh buffs in gujerat and mumbai too. they organise ponkh picnics in farms and in rural areas where the families and friends sit together under the shade of a tree and partake of the ponkh. ponkh is generally taken raw. some like it roasted and take it alongwith sugar granules. i had it raw with green hot mint chutney and the combination was superb. like the iftihaar parties during ramzaan,politicians in gujerat throw ponkh parties where both political friends and foes are invited.

i studied in gujerat for five years. yet, i had never heard or tasted ponkh. and though i have been living in mumbai for more than twenty years at a stretch now, i had not tasted ponkh. this was my maiden consumption of ponkh and it left me with a satisfied feeling and yearning to ask for more. the taste has to be cultivated.my friend perhaps guessed it right.there will be an encore.

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