There would not be any other place on earth which so depended on monsoon for their livelihood. Keralites have always found their dreams bloom as well as crushed into bits when monsoon played good and bad boy.. I have reasons to think they are slowly coming out of the cave and has started thinking alternative.. because cultivation and plantations have diminished drastically in Kerala, compared to the past decades. There was a time in my childhood when people had to do something or other on each and every phase of monsoon. And I anticipate that a time would come when our children would never know when the monsoon came or went, or what impact it had on people's livelihood.
I remember going with my grandmother when I was small, early in the morning to collect mushrooms which sprouted on the land just after a thunder storm. And I had doubts of my own.. on how the mushrooms sprouted after thunder storms. My grandmother had explained, "Well, they sleep a lot in the land, never wanting to get up because they are too lazy.. and then one day the thunder shouts at them with its bazzing loud baritone and they have no choice but to rise and sprout out." I don't remember if I had believed her story.. but i think it was really convincing. My grandma probably never knew about the theory of chemical reaction which took place in the humid atmosphere during a thunder bolt, which produces a gush of nitrogen needed essentially for the 'lazy guys' to sprout.
But I remember, those mushroom were inexplicably delicious to eat... an exquisite experience of a glimpse of heaven which God bestowed on the people of earth... How could I ever forget its taste on my tongue? It was so.. so ..wonderful. So when I saw mushrooms at the store, I thought of trying it at home the way my mom used to make. The 'nadan koon curry' which was served on the rare occasions after picking them in monsoon was a family favourite.. The store bought variety didn't taste as good as the natural but yet it turned out delicious in its own way.. and I had to live up the memories with it.
Here is the recipe..
Things you need:
Button mushrooms, washed and cut into small pieces - 2 cups
Garlic cloves, minced - 1
Red pearl onion/ shallots , minced - 4 to 5
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil , preferably coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Shallots, sliced - t tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig
Cook the cleaned mushrooms with a little water and all the other ingredients except that for tempering in an earthen pot. Cover and cook until the mushrooms become soft and well cooked and the gravy thickens. Now heat oil in a frying pan and add shallots to it. Saute until golden and remove from heat adding curry leaves. Pour it over the mushroom gravy and stir well until the flavours are blended. Serve hot with rice or chapattis.