Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pandora, Tindora etc...

I am a sucker for Indian style vegetables. I only say "Indian style" because we use it a lot in our cooking. True to being a proper Tamilian, I like pumpkins, senaikizhangu, seppangizhangu, sakkarai valli kizhangu, chow-chow etc... Now, I don't know the English equivalents of many of these veggies. To me, they will always be in Tamizh.

I found 'kasturi manjal' in the grocery shop this past weekend. I got so excited that I shrieked,

"Is that kasturi manjal?"

I have no idea why I was so elated because I never use it anywhere! Maybe because it was a whiff of home?

So my friend sniffed around a bit and confirmed my deduction.

So, in true Indian style, I pinched off a teeny tiny bit of kasturi manjal (That's all you buy, you know. I am pretty sure none will buy 2 lbs of kasturi manjal!) and dropped it in a biiiiiiiiig grocery bag. And humming happily, I finished the rest of my shopping and headed off to checkout.

The checkout person almost thought it was an empty bag (He was a rather cute college kid. You know, the ones with a cute, lost expression?). Then he fished around the bag and found my teeny, tiny bit of kasturi manjal. He gave it a rather curious look.

"What's this?"

"Ummm..I don't know."

A pause. What could you call kasturi manjal? I was quickly thinking of a translation for "kasturi". Ok, maybe I could translate "manjal" easily. "manjal" is turmeric. So it is kasturi turmeric? He was looking at that tiny piece from different angles. Like it was going to yield an answer if he looked at it from a 47 degree angle! I could sense the "Lady, you don't know what you're buyin'??" hovering in the air.

So I hastily covered it up with a,

"Ohh..I know what it is but I don't know the English equivalent!"

"Uhh..ok..Hey Cathy, you know what this is?"

Cathy now turned around. I was feeling like a terrorist who was passing customs. She looked at it and thought for a few moments and said,

"Oh, that's Tindora. It is an international produce."

I sighed with relief. It had a name, after all. So, people, its tindora! :) It is sitting in my fridge and I haven't touched it since the day I got it. But I like having it around...:)


kuttichuvaru said...

aha..... never knew of Tindora!! in fact I only hav a vague idea of wat Kasturi Manjal actually is!!

Prabhu said...

You mean kasthuri manjal as in "pongal paanai" la oru manjal kattuvaangale athu?
Un sagavaasam - nee samaiyal, kaaigari, cooker nu ellam pesa aaramuchutta ;)

Kirthi said...

I thought Tindora is the english name for our 'Kovakkai'. Thats what i see in the Indian stores here in Vancouver.

Prabhu said...


i did a google search and ya tindora is kovakkai, subha ippdi emaanthuttiye :)

RS said...

kirthi, isnt that tindola? Man! I am confused now :)

Kirthi said...

I am pretty sure Kovakkai's north american name is Tindora. Check out a fellow blogger's link

Prabhu, i did a google search Kasturi Manjal and its english name is Wild Turmeric :)

Sorry subha :))

Kay said...


It is not Tindola since it is Manjal it is Mandela :)

Prabhu said...

Am totally confused about the appearance now.
I did a google image search on kasthuri manjal and landed with this:

dinesh said...

Kay - LOL !!!

Subha - Enna suhba idhu ? Ippdi oora emaathara post a podaraye...I thought I had learnt something today. Now I have to unlearn it !

IBH said...

hey subha, our chow-chow is called as Chayote here....lot of latin american dishes use Chayote....they make soup out of it...

and u get it in American stores Meijer and is cheap buying chayote in american shops than our indian ones!

hey you can look at this site for mostof the ingredients names in english and tamil and other languages!

i use this glossary site for some of my cooking :))

Prabu Karthik said...

seri adhaan evlo matter serndhuduche(tamil la enna, english la enna, image epdi irukkum etc)


nu oru wiki pottudu:D

tilotamma said...

So funny you should mention it - I had a very similar reaction to spotting fresh turmeric at my grocery store.

You say you live in kentucky, not Boston otherwise I would think we went to the same store!!

Subha said...

adhe dhaan! Thanks for the googling!:)
I plead ignorance to English names for certain veggies! Thanks for the mini-research!:)

Subha said...

Now you've introduced a new variable! What's Tindola? :)
If you read the comments section, you'd have still learnt something..:)

Subha said...

That's indeed valuable info. Thanks!:) I have seen "Chayote" in Kroger but I can never be sure. Alas, once I bought romaine lettuce thinking it was cabbage and i've never been able to trust my senses then on!:)
Oru velai erkanave apdi oru entry irukko!?

Subha said...

I think it is a common reaction for us tamils to see something that represents home and be utterly happy..:))

Shahryar said...


You can see a very clear picture at link above. In Gujarati it is also known as "giloda."

Shahryar said...

This is a good site with illustrations of exotic fruit and veg.

kamal said...

RS and Subha,

Tindola (Its a gujarati way of saying tindora .. actually I have never heard of tindora) ... now kasturi manjal .. that might be the same .. but it sounds like turmeric ... from gods feet.

You should try out parval (its amazing). Don't ask me where to buy it ...

kamal said...


Giloda, interesting ... Gilodi means a lizard :) .. and based on the gujarati I know .. to me giloda sounds like a lot of lizards or a big fat lizard :) .. but you maybe right .. I just thought giloda was amusing :)

jozef said...

My father is a spice planter.
we got kasturi manjal plantation.
If anyone intersted plz contact me .
My email id

jozef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.