Kantola (Spiny or teasel gourd) subji
Spiny and bitter, strange green hedgehog like, wild, rare and not easily and widely available, not very well known nor popular, yet - very pricey, almost haughty!
Is this some sort of a mythical being? A hairy fairy – a leprechaun?
Well almost! It’s the magical Kantola, Kartula or Teasel/Spiny Gourd!
I had the much longed for opportunity to relish this much-craved vegetable after years!
Of course, in between lay the innumerable sorry attempts at buying umpteen packs of different brands of the frozen variety in Ozland and the ever- optimistic methods deployed to prepare the simple bhaji of my dreams out of the soggy contents of the packs.
But all that angst is forgotten when I sight the fresh vegetable, a delicacy par excellence! (And a tight little bomb of phytochemicals, fibre and natural insulin)
The thick skin and prickly spines add a crunch, while the firm pale flesh is a cheeky chew. The seeds are a good bite if tender, and a bit of a fight when not. The taste is indescribable, if somewhat bitter.
Greatly enthused I set out to cook this wonder-veggie!
You’d anticipate some elaborate process, but really, the slicing is the only task that requires an effort.
Sautéed till tender in a tadka made with a tablespoon of oil, seasoned with salt, chilli powder, dhaniya and jeera powder and a bit of sugar (optional) and shallow fried a little more, the bhaji is ready to be – devoured. Ok- with dal and rice or rotis or bhakris…
Recipe? … What recipe?