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.
"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...:)