Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Of pea-pods, social media sites and magic!


 And what exactly do posts on a food blog about pea pods, and grandfathers have in common? They bring back a flood of memories that's what, and here's how!

When I was around 14-15 years old my paternal grandfather had an eye condition which had to be left for over a year to get to a stage where it could be operated upon. His eyesight in one eye grew increasingly hazy and so the avid reader in him got very frustrated. Finally he found a way to pass his time. On winter afternoons sitting in the balcony in the sun he and I would separate methi (fenugreek) and spinach leaves from their stems, string beans, then cut them by hand and the most favorite of all, de-seed peas and then string and peel  the pods. I still remember him taking his long graceful fingers over the pods to feel the ridges/smoothness as he could not see them clearly. Hard ridged ones were discarded and soft ones were peeled (almost plastic texture of the peel).He kept the nail of his right thumb slightly longer than the others on his perfectly manicured hands, so as to be able to peel the inner membrane of the pea-pods easily. He spoke even as he peeled, he would point out to me that the peel must be removed 'fully' as it can actually choke you or cut your mouth or tongue as sometimes  it does not soften even with cooking.

 Well, my ma added the peeled, hand-cut pea pods to the mutter-aloo (peas and potato curry) being made, and voila! maejeeque!!! such an increase in the yummy pea flavour !! Sometimes the excess pods were put in the ‘ jira-rice’ being cooked and again the magical change in flavour. I have since then never discarded the peels. I remember 'Bhaisaab' (elder  brother)( everyone called him that at home and outside!!)  each time I peel the pea-pods. I might sound like a ‘bakri’ (goat who loves greens) but I also use every single portion of the cauliflower in the vegetable dish I cook.And these my dear dear friends are some of my deepest closest memories of pea-pods. 

The link to the food lovers’ blog that I so love on facebook is: 

Also, just for the many I am sure would be somewhat puzzled, as I am certain I would have been, had I not had the teenage tutorial from my dear gramps, as to how on earth can a pea-pod be peeled, here is a quick run-through on how to peel and use the oh! so soft and succulently fresh pea-pods:

  • Select firm yet fresh and soft pea pods.
  • Separate the two halves of each pod.
  • Now fold and press each half of the pea pod in such a way that the outer fleshy side of the pod remains outwards.You will hear snapping sound when a fresh pea pod is folded and pressed.
  • Further remove the inner tough membrane of pod,by gently sliding it down along the length of the pod from inside.Try to avoid jerky movements which might break the membrane.
  • Make sure to remove the full length of the membrane.
  • Follow the same procedure for all the pea-peels and then chop or simply hand break them into small pieces like so.
  • Use these pieces to add substance and flavor to any number of dishes viz: saute-ed vegetables, dry shelled pea and potato saute, peas and potatoes curry also in any number of rice dishes you can add these wonderfully flavorful pieces.

Also, for those of you keen to know more about different kinds of peas and recipes of pea here is a very interesting link that I just froke out on:

Do write in with more ideas on how best to use vegetable parts that we often discard and which are quite packed with nutrients.

Till next time then happy peaing and podding (pun very much intended) aaahahahaahahaaaa!!!! :))

Post Script: For those of you who might wonder about the eye condition my grandpa had:

Do cataracts need to be "ripe" before they can be removed?
This was true many years ago but is not any more. Modern microsurgical techniques have made it possible for us to remove cataracts (a haziness which develops over time in the eye's lens) at any stage. Surgery, however, should only be performed when cataracts are causing you significant problems with your eyesight, such as trouble with your distance vision, difficulty seeing to drive (particularly at night), reading problems, glare, ghost images or double vision in one eye, or a halo around lights. We perform many cataract operations each year. These are never performed just because they are "ripe" but are based on how the cataract is effecting your visual needs. 

Information on cataract from:

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