Aha, Mambazha Pulisseri!
Mambazha Pulisseri? What is it?
The season of mangoes has just ended. But one thought which continues to linger on I’n my mind (may be till the beginning of the next mango season) is the ‘mambazha pulisseri’, the magical, mouth-watering ‘kadi’ like (minus besan) special preparation, sweet, slightly sour and ‘hot’, the main ingredients being the juice of ripe mango, spiced, grated coconut and buttermilk. It is also called ‘mambazha moru kootaan’ (since buttermilk is also used in its preparation). Mixed with rice, like any other vegetable curry, this will go well with fried Madrasi papad or appalam, irrespective of whether you have a sabji (additional vegetable) to go with it). This is one of the ‘must-taste’ delicacies among South Indians.
Meticulous Preparation for the guests
A couple of months ago, when my bother and family was to visit us, during the mango season, this was the obvious choice to offer them, with rice, of course and papad (a must) and with a beans sabji.
While I know well the culinary skills of my wife and her adeptness in preparing the pulisseri, I could not take chances, while she was busying herself in the kitchen. In between I would peep into the kitchen, coax her and cajole her. She considered this as interference and cautioned me that my frequent intrusion into her domain would only take away her attention and the result would be very bad. I immediately obeyed. When ready, I got a call to sample-test. I was indeed overjoyed, since the final product, prepared so meticulously, far exceeded our expectation. I exclaimed ‘wow’, great! Without hesitation, I gave it a rating of all stars in the sky. Not only that, I began to wonder had she given it a really golden touch (the colour of the pulisseri was also golden), because her name Thangam itself is a synonym for gold?
The Guests Arrive
My brother and family turned up, slightly late. So, without wasting time, we all agreed we would have lunch soon. The menu was of course told to them, emphasizing the particular care that my wife had taken, and they looked forward to have a ‘kill’ – ‘oru kai parkkalam’, my brother said, signifying his intention to fully enjoy it.
As is natural, the usual gossips could not wait. In the meantime, my wife decided to heat up the pulisseri again for serving it hot. Some of our conversation distracted her attention and she also joined us in the conversation,which had also begun to get heated up by then.
Oh God, the Pulisseri is Gone!
Everyone had totally forgotten that something precious was also getting hotter in the kitchen, when the burning smell of the puliseri pierced our noses. My wife ran to the kitchen, only to find in the vessel charcolic remnants of the condensed pulisseri. It could perhaps be named ‘karisseri’ (kari – meaning charcoal). Our entire effort was lost. Soon we started blaming each other. I was the one so disappointed, naturally she too felt very bad and puzzled. Both of us had expected special appreciation from my brother and family. Perhaps they didn’t have ‘yogam’ (fate)’ for enjoying the super-delicious pulisseri.
A Quick ‘Remake’
We all consoled her. She was insistent on preparing pulisseri itself again, though we all thought of some other quick alternative. By then, she had started and in a few more minutes it was ‘ready’ she announced. When I tasted it, it was nowhere near the ‘original’ one. It had all the qualifications of being called a ‘seconds’. And within my mind I thought whether this stuff really qualified for being called pulisseri at all.
What an anti-climax!
The lunch was over, my brother and family left. You could imagine our faces and feelings. The only consolation for us was a somewhat jubilant (or derisive?) bye from them. This topic occupied our minds for some days and nights. This was the ‘Fait accompli!
The whole episode taught me a few lessons which, from now on, I have to deliberately practise. One, don’t brag about your wife; two, don’t invite anyone for lunch, when you prepare pulisseri; three, if you still want to enjoy it do it by all means and keep quite.