Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ladies Fingers and Gentlemans Toes

A few ideas had been stemming in my mind for my next blog post. Nothing seemed solid or interesting enough. Pondering over this, I was preparing good old vendaikkai a.k.a bhindi last Wednesday. I said to myself or rather to the hexagonal slices of the vegetable I was sauteing in my saucepan " If I am unable to think about anything else, my next post would be about you" . And so here I am , sitting and typing away about the good green vegetable.
By കാക്കര (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I have always remembered the English name for the vegetable as ladies finger. I really cannot imagine my fingers shaped like a bhindi(Alright !Alright!who called you ladylike?? I hear it!!!) but I wonder what prompted anyone to give it that name.  It was during my visit to the US that I discovered that its referred to as okra in those parts.I was amused to find frozen versions of it in the freezers there. In fact ice is the only thing that we would freeze back at home. Who knew that vegetables could be frozen?

There is a technique to be applied, while picking this vegetable, that I learnt from my visits to the market with my parents. You had to hold the pointed end and try to snap it. If it breaks with ease, it is tender and good to go into the basket. If the stalk stubbornly holds on, its not okay. Good old vegetable vendors of the local market were absolutely fine with their customers going snap-snap-snap before deciding which lot to buy. In the neatly weighed and sealed-in-polythene bag versions that we find in today's supermarkets how on earth can we apply this trick?

My paternal uncle believed that bhindi was good at getting the grey cells to work and would request his mother to make vendaikkai poriyal  on the eve of his Maths exams. If Kelloggs or Maggi learn of this secret the next Oats released in the market would be in bhindi flavour.
"Be it Maths or Hindi, have a cup of Bhindi" the jingle would go.

Thinking of these points for this blog post I went through the items in the weekly vegetable bill. "Gentleman's Toe - 500g". My eyes rolled in full circles a couple of times and I set about finding out which vegetable had that name. Ladies may be first but the gentlemen would always compete. Go Google and Eureka, I found out! Thats another name for kovakkai or the ivy guard.I really like that vegetable though some believe that its more useful for cleaning slates and blackboards :D. A friend recently told me that she read somewhere that it has a detrimental effect on ones memory.  I have been eating it for quite some time and there are things I would like to do a Shift-Del in my memory but they stick on with vigor.
By Aravind Sivaraj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Well be it ladies' fingers or gentleman's toes make sure the cook is good. Eat more vegetables. Have a healthy life ladies and gentlemen.




22 comments:

  1. Ladies Finger is one of my fav veggies. Many have an issue (including one of the Masterchef Australia judges, if I recall) with it because they feel it gets slimy while cooking but I personally love it a lot. It is pretty versatile too and cooks fast.

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    1. Yes it can get really slimy but it's quite yummy and my daughter loves it

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    2. Jaish: it was maths exam for sash two days before and I was making bindi fry. Sashank was casually asking whether bindi fry is for next day's maths test.

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    3. However you cook Bhindi, if you quickly deep fry it first for a few seconds in very hot oil, it seems to remove the slimy aspect. Once you done this you can cook it the way your recipe calls for either whole or sliced and you'll find the sliminess is gone.

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  2. I love lady finger and am okay with Ivy Gourd but didnt know it was called Gentleman's toes ! Why on earth did it get a name like that and why not ladies toes :D But i had no clue that it had a bad effect on memory !! Now let me ask Google baba.

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    1. Don't do that.... Google baba is accessible to the knowledgeable babas and the story building babas and we browsers can never know the difference

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  3. True the names are mysterious but may be the shape is responsible for this as you mentioned. After all what is there in a name as long as one likes them:)

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  4. I think some woman must have decided that if her fingers could make a meal, a man's digits should too. Only, it is too ugh to think one is eating toes! BTW, I gave them up when we had gone to Gaya to perform the shraddham of my in-laws. I used to love it before that. Thank God I came to know this name after giving it up! I don't like bhindi, and never heard the end of people telling me that it was the reason I didn't have any brain for maths when I was in school :(

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    1. Hi Zephyr, I am really glad to see you here... Thanks for stepping in.... I told my mom that if I had to give up something in kasi it would be brinjal as I hate it but then she told me it had to be something you really liked....:)

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  5. Bhindi is my fav vegetable and I remember carrying it in my lunchbox every single day for 2 months at work. My co-workers were fed up of it and I loved it every single day. Never knew about its good effect on grey cells. Must have it NOW as my grey cells are in freeze mode and I just cant seem to write!

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    1. Next month should be a Go Bindi diet then :)

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  6. Obviously coined by a man. The one part of our anatomy that doesn't gain weight. Imagine calling okra ladies waist and earning the ire of the 'fairer sex'!

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    1. Ladies waist?? That's funny Shilpa ha ha

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  7. Obviously coined by a man. The one part of our anatomy that doesn't gain weight. Imagine calling okra ladies waist and earning the ire of the 'fairer sex'!

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  8. Jaish.. a lovely post. You just rolled my childhood memories through my mind (wondering why it is called ladies finger and the snapping to find out it is fresh and all). :)

    This is the first time I am hearing about Gentleman's toe (Though I know kovakkai for a long time :P). Btw.. isn't it ironic that these 2 vegetable have the exact opposite effect? :P :D

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  9. Those 'gentleman's toes' were a new one on me. Thank God I am no gentleman :)

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    1. ha ha ...It was totally new to me as well...Should thank Mustafa Singapore for the knowledge....It was in their bill

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  10. Really? Ivy gourd is also called Gentleman's toe? :D Thank you for that. Can't wait to take that frozen pack out, cook it and lay it on the table saying it's just that -- Gentleman's Toe!

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  11. Like everyone above 'Gentleman's toe' is new to me too. Can't imagine I have been eating those too along with lady-fingers!!! *hiding my face*

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