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Vikram

eating trunks

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There's a street snack that's sold in Bombay that's always intruiged me, not that common, but you can find it fairly regularly at Chowpatty or near Fountain and a few other places. What's remarkable about it is the way it looks - a large cylinder of what looks like ivory wood, with a thin reddish tan layer outside. If you want to eat it the guy selling it will carefully slice a thin section from the cylinder, remove the tan park and give it to you. It tastes sweet and crunchy, a bit difficult to swallow since its a bit fibrous, but quite nice. One guy I asked told me its called kandhamul, but does anyone know what its English name is or what plant it comes from? Could this be what's called hearts of palm?

Vikram

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I don't know what it is, but hearts of palm are literally hearts of a palm tree, and they aren't woody.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Mongo, in Malaysia, people eat the hearts of coconut palms when they have to be felled or are felled by wind. They're called "ombok" in Malay (I'm not sure if my spelling is standard).


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Mongo, in Malaysia, people eat the hearts of coconut palms when they have to be felled or are felled by wind. They're called "ombok" in Malay (I'm not sure if my spelling is standard).

i stand corrected--i was going by the (apparently) american-centric ifnormation from one of the websites i posted a link to.

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even almighty google fails us when it comes to "kandhamul"; however, "kandamul" shows up on a few pages--mostly in reference to jainism, as a class of underground/tuber vegetables: "Anantakaya vegetables that grow underground". if it is a jain thing that might explain why it is a rare snack in bombay. this might also mean that asking a hardcore jain might be the way to go. though as i think about it jains don't eat root vegetables--so asking a hardcore jain may not be the way to go.

ignore everything i've said. carry on.

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You seem to be on the right track, Mongo. Brilliant job of searching without the "h".

One of the google listings is this biography of Sai Baba of Shirdi, which contains the following quote:

Kusha Bhau was fasting on an ekadasi day. And Baba asked him what food he took on such a day. Kusha Bhau said that he took kandamul, something like sweet potato. Baba deliberately distorted the pronunciation of the Sanskrit word as kanda which, in Marathi means, onion. So Baba picked up an onion an disked Kusha Bhau to eat it. The latter was in a dilemma whether to obey tradition which forbade eating of onions or the guru’s word. At last, as a way out, he sai do baba. If you eat it, I shall also eat”. Then both of them ate the onions. When visitors arrived, Bada made fun of Kusha Bhau saying, “Look at this Bamniya! (a belittling abbreviation of the word “Brahmin”) He is eating onions on the holy ekadasi day”! Kusha Bhau protested saying, “Baba ate it and so I did”. Baba categorically denied that he had eaten any onions. He said that he ate a sweet potato while Kush Bhau ate onions. To prove his contention Baba at once vomited and to the amazement of Kusha Bhau, pieces of sweet potato feel from Baba’ mouth and there were no pieces of onion!

Shirdi is in Maharashtra, so IMHO this seems likely to be the root Vikram is referring to. Is it something like a sweet potato and does it taste unlike onions?


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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mongo_jones and SKBhai, your links may provide the clues. This then may be the root that looks like a long brown shrivelled carrot. Vikram?


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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The Sai Baba anecdote is fascinating and it sounds like we're on the right track. I've written on fasting foods in the past on these forums, and they do often still include foodstuffs that have fallen out of common usage - water chestnut flour, for example. So this kandamul could very likely be what I ate. I don't think its a root though, it seemed too big, but then suran is a root and it can be huge. I don't think I've eaten a raw sweet potato so I can't say if it tastes like the kandhamul did. As I said, it was crisp and sweetish, a bit like a water chestnut but with the mealiness replaced by a fibrousness. I've asked some friends who might know about this, so I'll keep you all posted.

Vikram

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Water chestnut flour may not be in common use in India but it is in common use in Chinese cuisine (or perhaps I should write "some Chinese cuisines" :biggrin::laugh: ).


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Water chestnut flour may not be in common use in India but it is in common use in Chinese cuisine (or perhaps I should write "some Chinese cuisines" :biggrin::laugh: ).

It is also common in some regions of india, where water chestnut is readily available :biggrin:


anil

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Hi Vikram,

My first guess was that you probably ate the pith of the banana tree - but then again that needs to be cooked and is definitely not sweetish. It is a long off-white cylinder which is very fibrous. We add it to our bean ghashis - I simply love the stuff! Wish I could eat it more often. I've seen it being sold in Malayali foodstores in Dubai, so we Konkanis can't be the only ones eating it. Or are we?

Suman

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Nice to see you back Suman. Did you have a good visit home?

Thanks for the welcome Monica. It is good to be back on this forum. Had some great food in India and Dubai as usual. Brought back a tiny stone grinder which is doing its job very well. Episure, thanks again for your recommendations. I was so looking forward to eating at Vishala, but our hostess fell ill on the day we were to go there - so the plan had to be cancelled. My big loss, but I couldn't say that now, could I? :sad: We did manage to eat one meal out in Blore, though. Our friends took us to Samarkhand on Infantry Road. The food was nice, but I liked the interior even better. Feels like you're dining somewhere on the Frontier Province. Very well done, although the food is not cheap - in fact it costs almost as much as it does in this expensive city of Dublin.

Will post more about the new foods I ate this time - got to go now - baby's bedtime!

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Episure, thanks again for your recommendations. I was so looking forward to eating at Vishala, but our hostess fell ill on the day we were to go there - so the plan had to be cancelled. My big loss, but I couldn't say that now, could I? :sad: We did manage to eat one meal out in Blore, though. Our friends took us to Samarkhand on Infantry Road. The food was nice, but I liked the interior even better. Feels like you're dining somewhere on the Frontier Province. Very well done, although the food is not cheap - in fact it costs almost as much as it does in this expensive city of Dublin.

Pity, we must have been in Bangalore and couldn't meet up. My loss.

I agree with you completely about Samarkand, though I feel it is still attractive than 5 star prices. I may be developing recipes for the same owner's other ventures. :wink:


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Episure,

I presume you're based in Blore now. Next time I'm there I'll definitely be in touch (make it a priority in fact). In the meantime, look me up the next time you intend to cook fish on the banks of the river Shannon (or Liffey).

Wish I could make one incognito trip to India and eat my way through all the great eateries. :cool:

Suman

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My first guess was that you probably ate the pith of the banana tree - but then again that needs to be cooked and is definitely not sweetish. It is a long off-white cylinder which is very fibrous. We add it to our bean ghashis - I simply love the stuff! Wish I could eat it more often. I've seen it being sold in Malayali foodstores in Dubai, so we Konkanis can't be the only ones eating it. Or are we?

Bengalis eat it (the "trunk" of the Banana tree) as well. Its called "Thor" in Bengali.

It needs to be cooked. It tastes delicious.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find "Thor" here in the USA.

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What do you make with it? I have Chitrita Banerji's 'Bengali Cooking' somewhere - wonder if she makes any references to it? We call it 'Gabbo'. Mmmmmmmm.......

Suman

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What do you make with it?

You dice the thor into small pieces, and can make a dish with grated coconut and rice.

Or you can make thor with mustard paste.

Sorry, I dont have a recipe as I have never made it myself (but eat it every time I am back in Kolkata!).

If you search Google, you will find some recipes.

I found one here:

http://www.kolkatainformation.com/archive/thorer-ghanto.html

Have no idea how authentic this is, though.

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