Saturday, April 25, 2020

V is for Vadda Veda #AtoZChallenge

A Punjabi phrase today: Vadda means big and Veda is a verandah

Dear Readers,
Thank you for stopping by and reading my posts this month. 

You are familiar with the veda by now. Going down memory lane, I've realised that many of my childhood memories are rooted in this part of Papaji's house--the stretch we used to call vadda veda. Its expanse of criss-crossed red bricks acted as a broad bridge between the house and the garden. And like all the trees and the garden and Papaji and Beji, the veda, too, is no more. It lives on only in my memories. So, I thought I'd pay the vadda veda a tribute today.

Also, I'm lagging behind with my blog hopping routine. I hope to catch up soon. Sundays are good for that:)
Rose petal jam goes by the name of gulukund in India.  

The rose bushes in Papaji's garden stood as a hedge marking the perimeter of the veda. Their blooms were pink and of the Indian variety. They smelled divine. Although, Papaji's roses were not big, they were guttha (thick with plenty of petals) and his pride and joy. Syrian rose or Damascus rose as it is sometimes called comes close to the variety I'm referring to. I have one growing in a pot in my garden. When I went out earlier today to click a picture, the mature bloom shed its petals as I touched it. 

Papaji would harvest his roses and separate their petals when the blooms were plenty. I have vivid memories of pink rose petals spread out on sheets in our veda, drying in the sun. We were strictly forbidden to go near those resting roses. The petals would be covered with old dupattas to keep them dust free. 

My father recently shared his rose petal jam recipe with me. It sounds simple. He recalls layering the petals after they had been spread out for a couple of hours in the sun, with sugar-- like a layered cake --in a ceramic container (murtabaan). They were then left to ferment till the jam was ready.

This beautifully shot video shows the process using roses that look just like the ones that grew in Papaji's garden: Rose Petal Jam

In India, rose petal jam or gulukund is most commonly used in paan (beetle leaf) preparations. A few drops of rose water added to a sweet dish or just plain water can magically teleport one back to those summers of roses when pink petals rested in pretty poses.

Autumn and winter were all about Papaji's chulha (mud stove) and tasla (iron wok) located at the far end of the veda--at the very end of the property. He'd light a fire under the chulha, gather shakkar kandi (sweet potatoes) and chestnuts and makki (corn kernels). After the fire got going, he'd bury the tubers and the chestnuts in the embers and glowing logs. He would then start turning the sand in the tasla --which sat on top of this stove with a karchee (ladle). Once the sand was hot enough, he'd put corn kernels in, one fistful at a time. As they popped, Papaji took them out and put them on a plate while popping a few into his or our mouths if we happened to be nearby. The tubers took a long time to roast. We'd get to eat them hot and sweet--right there in the veda or he'd bury them along with the chestnuts in his kangadi for later.

He loved popcorn and even the un-popped kernels would end up sitting in his kameez ke boje (shirt pockets). He'd dig those out for us or for himself whenever he fancied. Papaji's pockets were mini sweet shops. He was capable of conjuring up golian (hard boiled candies), gudd (jaggery), mishri ki dullian (sugar crystals), un-popped corn kernels or roasted black chana (chickpeas), neje (pinenuts) and kishmish (raisins) anytime and every time we appeared within his orbit, from the depths of his boje.

Winters also brought the tandoor outside; into the veda. Beji would pat makki or aate ke pede (corn or wheat dough balls) effortlessly and expertly: transferring the steadily growing circle of the roti from one hand to the other. Thup, thup, thup of the dough ball changed to slap, slap, slap of the roti and finally ended with a dhum as Beji, the fearless, extended her hand holding the round, uncooked roti into the mouth of the volcanic tandoor and planted it on its inner fire wall. There was a rhythm to her magic. She did all this with bare, uncovered hands!

Mummy, her novice apprentice, would stand next to her with a thick ponda (kitchen towel) wrapped around her hand, holding a chimta (tongs) to pull out the rotis as they got cooked and put them on the lip of the tandoor to rest and roast a bit more (we were all fond of karaari (crispy) rotis). She'd take a step back and extend her hand far out in front of her despite her armour of ponda and chimta every time she had to do her assigned task.

We would wait for Mummy to serve us those rotis while we sat with Papaji on our munjhi under the Mulberry tree. Sometimes,I could see sparks flying out of the tandoor's mouth. But Beji would crack on with her roti making and baking nonchalantly. 

At the end of all the baking, water would be used to douse the embers. The tandoor would hiss and splutter as we'd get ready to open our mouths to spoons full of yoghurt with khund (raw sugar)--Papaji's standard dessert after lunch.

Summer holidays of running races and  climbing trees; of drawing stapu squares (hopscotch) with chalk pieces and getting our knees scraped while playing lungdi taang (sort of tag--hopping on one leg) and chchuppan-chchuppai (hide and seek) were spent in the bosom of our dear veda.

I wrote about another part of this veda, a grey cement water tank, and a few not so fragrant although funny memories in the A to Z Challenge of 2016. If you'd like to read, here's the link: Yoghurt Bath

Memories are like a ball of twine. The more one unravels, the more seem to unwind. I'm happy that through this telling, happy moments of my past keep lighting up one by one, like fairy lights on a string stretched across a time once lived and loved. Perhaps, these memories will twinkle for the ones I love in the times yet to be lived.
Are there any flower recipes from your childhood?
Did you like jam? Which one was your favourite?
If you'd like to share. I'd love to hear.
Stay safe and healthy and happy.
See you on Monday.

40 comments:

  1. Meethi paan with extra Gulkand! How i loved it! How basic and yet so rich those experiences of childhood were! And how those times most of us have had so many similar experiences! Etched in our memories! Papaji being a mini sweet shop with hidden treasures inside him so so cute! I am getting to feel as if am i have known them for long, as if we were some long lost neighbours sharing our childhood memories with eachother! I think this art of story telling surely your forte', my friend. You have made them immortal with your memories.Take a Bow!
    Like always i too have something to share :
    Its called Veppampoo Rasam ( Veppam = Neem, Poo = Flower & Rasam = soup)
    If Amuma served hot boiling water calling it a rasam, it would taste like a Divine Rasam. Thats her midas touch with many food but Rasam always topped the list. She had one rasam recipe for any sickness.
    The Rasam varieties were too many Pepper, Jeera, Tomato, Garlic,Lemon & Veppampoo Rasam to name a few.
    We as kids used to not be fond of pepper rasam as it was always associated with fever and throat pain. Veppampoo Rasam was made rarely as the veppam did not grow in my balcony. Apparently it has benefits to deworm kids. Its obviously a little bitter.
    The tiny neem flowers are very delicate, they need to be dried and stored.
    We also take pride in using only homemade sambar, rasam & dosa molaga podi( gun powder for idly/dosa)always. Till date i have not purchased any of these. So this rasam is almost the regular tomato rasam garnished with veppampoo fried in a generous spoon of ghee in the last. A small piece of jaggery to be added but its optional. The aroma of Amuma's rasam still lingers around me as i remember her making it in a jiffy and with such ease!
    I have some veppampoo if you are interested will happily share. :-)


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    1. I type this reply as I drool over the recipes and my tummy rumbles. Thank you so much for mentioning neem flowers. Our trees are in full bloom right now and I have been going outside every evening --taking in their fragrance and pinching a flower or two to eat. Now I know what to do with the rest.

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  2. We may have been far apart while growing up Arti but so many similar incidents are stitching the thread of our memories. Playing lungdi, hide and seek, oh and that sugar loaded yogurt.. ufff....I can go on and on! We never made gulkand with the clusters and clusters of roses from my mom’s garden but I fondly remember putting those roses in my hair everyday. It was like a ‘Pinkz’ speciality to have to have rose in her hair. I also used to offer those roses to many to our teachers to please them ;). Such sweet memories your ‘A to Z’ challenge has dug down not only for you but for many of us. Today I am giving you your e-jhappi back...the Punjabi version...kuss ke vali🤗.

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    1. Thank you for your jhappi Pinkz--and I am smiling broadly at the thought of you with roses in your hair--truly living up to your name:)

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  3. Hari OM
    Oh yes, flower and berry recipes abound here. Elder flower for cordial (or 'champagne), rose petals in jams, marigolds in marmalade, violets and nasturtiums for salads and sweets... YAM xx

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    1. Thank you for sharing a veritable bouquet of recipes dear Yamini. I love elder flower cordial --especially with lemonade. Marigolds in Marmalade is new--will give it a try.
      Violets don't grow in Doha but there's another beautiful edible flower called Aparajita--blue butterfly pea which I have started using in salads--found out recently how good they are:)

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  4. Why do I suspect there ALWAYS "happened" to be one of you about if Papaji was popping corn?

    My childhood jam memory is kind of a one-off. In general, the only canning done by either Mom or Grandma were of the vegetable/pickle variety. I'm not sure why there was no sweet stuff, but there wasn't. So my memory is of being absolutely stunned when we went half-way across the country to visit another branch of Mom's family... and quite literally, the first thing we did upon arrival was to sail into making a batch of sour cherry jam.

    I was young enough that I hadn't even considered the fact that real people might *make* jam... yet here was my mother, whipping it up like a pro! How could this be? And, given how good the results were, Why did this not happen more often??

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    1. Ha! your suspicions are very sound Jz. One of us was always about:)

      Just thinking about your little self looking a tad aghast at the discovery of jam being 'made' by people and that too by people you knew, makes me smile. Such innocence and such fantastic discoveries.

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  6. So many happy memories, you are blessed indeed. I'm boring when it comes to jam, I only make it with strawberries! I need to be more adventurous.

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    1. I love home made strawberry jam Keith. Please keep a jar aside for me. Cheers.

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  7. There are a lot of wonderful, local jams in Maine. My favorite is strawberry. I've never had rose petal jam. It sounds interesting. Many of my childhood memories are tied to food too.

    It is so true how once you start writing about your memories they seem to come back to you even more. I've experienced that too as I've blogged about past activities.

    Weekends In Maine

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    1. Actually rose jam can only be relished in small quantities Karen as it is very sweet. Strawberry jam, on the other hand--and the home-made kind variety is another story.
      I love a good dollop of strawberry jam on English scones with clotted cream. mmmmmmm...

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  8. Vaada Vedah, rose bushes, Gulukand, fresh popcorns and Tandoori Roti.....sounds like a wonderland... Wow! never cease to get amazed at your childhood activities and memories.. And your grand parents were so full of life and busy!! And they engaged you in such tender, endearing ways....

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    1. You are so right Ish. Beji and Papaji were indeed very hands on with us. I don't have any memories from the first six years of my life where they are not involved. Had a blessed childhood indeed.

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  9. Wow gulkand so much I love it... It's been ages since I have had it... And this homemade must be tasting even more delicious I am sure. I loved your narration so much that I felt I was a part of this whole nostalgia trip in that Vada Veda waiting for some tasty treat to land in my mouth while I waited for the same :)

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    1. Thank you Ira. My grandparents will be happy, wherever they may be now, to read your comment. They loved to feed and food was their currency of love.

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  10. I would love to taste rose petal jam! Grandma used to make strawberry jam. She also made one with green tomatoes and raspberry. See you on Monday!

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    1. Green tomatoes and raspberry---will try to look for a recipe on line. Sounds interesting.
      Warning about rose petal jam: shop bought ones may be too sweet.

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  11. I am not familiar with rose petal jam. My mother used to prepared many sweets. Those are some of my very abiding memories of childhood.

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    1. That's the thing about sweets---they linger on in our memories for a very long time.

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  12. I don't remember any recipes with flowers except for banana flower which we use to make curry/ dal and bajji. It's a tedious process, cleaning the sticky flower but is worth it.
    Such lovely and tender memories of childhood, I love them. <3

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    1. Thank you Srivalli. I have eaten banana flower subzi twice--once in Guwahati (the Assamese preparation) and once in Doha --made by a friend from Kerala. Both were yummy.

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  13. Jam has never been a favourite with me but my father loved it until he got the sugary D. We made sabzi with pumpkin flowers and used the flowers of rhododendron to make a sweet drink in summers. They said it facilitated blood purification. They still make it back home and I am missing it this time with the lockdown.

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    1. I have had Buransh juice on my treks Sonia and it gives the best rejuvenation--tastes good too.
      Beji used to make a subzi with pumpkin flowers too but I don't have her recipe. Would love it if you can share yours as we have half a dozen flowers growing in the garden right now. Cheers.

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  14. You had a great childhood. Just the mention of those dishes made my mouth water! Thank you for shring those memories with us. I am so glad that I found your blog. :)

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    1. You are very welcome dear Shweta and I'm glad I found you:)

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  15. I have a bumper crop of little roses like those in the last photo in my yard. They are bloooming and smell wonderful. I have never made jam from them.

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    1. Sounds divine Kristin. You could give it a try with a few blooms:) It's an easy jam to make --let me know if you give it a go.

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  16. I love rose flavored things. We don't have a lot of those, but there is rose ice cream in the summer, and I once had rose liquor in Greece... Mmm.

    The Multicolored Diary

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  17. How did they conjure all this and yet not post on instagram!!?? Truly magicians!!
    Looking at the chef in all of us, our grandparents must be laughing in their graves. They were artists, really.

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    1. They were true artists indeed--they did it all for love, and not to get noticed. Big difference, no?

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  18. Another wonderful remembering Arti, and your words and imagery are so vivid I feel like I'm standing right there with you, amidst familiar things I've actually not seen/experienced before. It's truly delightful. You make me want to try to grow roses again. I love them, but I've not had success helping them survive our winters. The rose jam sounds so wonderful, and it was lovely seeing the video. I use rose water a lot, both as flavoring and offerings, and just for the lovely delicate scent. While I've never made jam, one of my favorites made by a local co-op is blueberry lavender. I have to force myself to ration it out. :-)

    I love your comment about memories being like a ball of twine. I'm so glad your allowing us to peek as you unwind.

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    1. Blueberry lavender sounds divine Deborah. I'll keep my eyes open for one when I'm out and about.

      Thank you for being here with me while I share these snippets of a precious, beautiful childhood.

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  19. Hi Arti, I am late in responding, but surely I will complete your full A-Z.
    I pondered about your papaji's kameez ke boje, sounds too interesting, seriously it was full of naughty little things. How I wish I could have some of those things...
    Well, I used to eat Gulkand in my childhood days, but not the home grown one, but yes my father used to get some authentic one. And yes also I liked the Rose water cold drink, similar to Roohawzah, but have distinct taste of Rose petals. But yes sweets are not my best friends, so yes I have very few memories of them.
    I have once eaten Banana flower sabzi that my mother-in-law cooked, as we had lot of banana trees in our house, but surprisingly I can't recall its taste, it was soon after my marriage.
    And yes those childhood games are enormous, Lungi taang, pakadam pakdai, satoliya, tipi tipi toes, chain chain, posham pa and so on... its nice to revisit our childhood memories... love Arti

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    1. Ah! Posham pa---so many memories. Thank you Arti.
      I'm looking forward to reading your stories.

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    2. Sorry Arti, it was me Nisha responding to your post. Mistakenly I signed-off with your name (lol), just realized this mistake. Nisha

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