Do you look forward to summer,to be in your element or are you just sick and bored with all the hype
And what about all the competition, the Langda, the Himsagar, the Hapoos, running the rat race, do you really want to be there
Do you want to be the chosen one to be sent overseas or you would rather get your guts sucked out by the little boy on the dusty road
Do we even care what you think, no wonder you are sour at times but then your sunny soul takes over and you spread your warm yellow sweetness
But Mango, we really love thee.
I am not sure if the above is a food art that deserves to go to Indira for her Mango Manthram, but I will send it over and see.
Talking of mangoes, I love the hot, sweltering, Indian Summer. I am not sure I loved it as much when I actually survived it. But now when my Ma cribs about the temps soaring to the 40’s and it being extremely hot and unbearable, I sympathize with her audibly but secretly I am pining for that heat, for the relief that the whirring fan would bring after a prolonged power cut, the coolness of the watermelon sherbet that waited for me when I reached home after a sweaty bus journey, the cool feel of the marble floor soon after it had been freshly mopped.There is pure pleasure in seeking out comfort instead of it being served on a platter.
Now every summer my Ma would do this particular Puja called “Jai Mangalbar” each Tuesday of some summer month. I do not remember the details, it was kind of a fast or actually a vrata followed by a katha/story and Puja for the Goddess Mangalchandi who I am sure is one of the many embodiments of Durga. Only that it was not fast in the real sense, you went without breakfast in the morning and then at lunch instead of the usual, rice-daal and fish curry you had a special delicious spread taking full advantage of the summer bounty a la Mangoes. So lunch was “Chire Doi Aam” which means beaten rice or poha mixed with yogurt, sweet ripe mangoes, bananas and the whole thing sweetened with sondesh. This was also called “Falar”(Falahar or fruit diet) for some unknown reason as it was not strictly fruits that you ate.
This simple dish was so delicious that after having the Prasad for a a week or two, I decided to go the whole nine yards and jumped into the “Jai Mangalbar” bandwagon. It was summer hols anyway and I woke up late, so skipping breakfast wasn’t a big deal. A quick bath and a few mantras and rituals later I would join my Ma for this special lunch sitting on the cool floor of the Puja Room.
The strange thing is this concoction of Chire, Doi and Aam could be normally had at any day of the week without the “holy” tag and was often offered to me as an evening snack or breakfast during the summer. But there was some kind of a special feel about having it on those particular summer Tuesdays, sitting on the Puja room floor with my Ma & Grandma, the heady smell of the incense and flowers making the dish ethereal.
When I got the first ripe mangoes of this season, I was craving this simple dish. I had it for breakfast sitting on the dining table on a regular weekday, not exactly the same effect that the mantra, the katha , the incense and the Langda would induce in this simple dish but it was a joy none the less.
Chire Doi Aam
Soak 1 cup of beaten rice(raw poha) for a minute or so in water. The poha I get here gets soft very quickly and needs minimal soaking, you might need to soak yours longer till it is soft but not mushy. Drain the water completely and transfer to a bowl. Add about ½ cup of plain yogurt. Peel and add the flesh of one ripe, sweet mango. Add half a banana chopped. I added about 1 tbsp of jaggery instead of sondesh to sweeten it. You can add other forms of sweetener too. Mix well, umm... your fingers being the best mode as you can lick off them too. Eat immediately.
This healthy and ideal summery breakfast is my entry for May Mango Madness (WBB #22) hosted by Escapades. I just came across the Beautiful Bones event by Susan at Food Blogga, my Mom suffers from osteoporosis and I might be at risk too though I haven't got tested yet and so I thought this would be a easy simple brekfast that gives you your calcium from yogurt and bananas. Also vitamin B-12 and vitamin K may reduce fracture risk by increasing bone mineral density as well as the improvement of bone microarchitecture and mangoes provide a good source of both.
Trivia: Chandi is one of the most popular folk deities in Bengal, and a number of poems and literary compositions in Bengali called Chandi Mangala Kavyas were written from 13th century to early 19th century. These had the effect of merging the local folk and tribal goddesses with mainstream Hinduism. (The Wiki)
Personally I feel these folk cum religious rituals played a more social than religious part. In an era when the women were deprived of simple pleasures and denied good food, if you notice most of these rituals practiced by women folk of the house had good food as an important part of the process, thus giving the women an excuse to savor the nicer things which they were normally deprived of.