The sweet taste of home came in a crate this morning. Mangoes wrapped in paper so they would not be battered or bruised as the long journey through the worst roads that my home district of Dima Hasao is known for. But they came intact, as if they had just been plucked off the tree in our backyard, the same tree which saw many of our growing-up years. And the changes in our garden that reflected the health of the family. The years of my father’s fight against cancer and finally his passing away were also the years when the garden nearly went to seed. I feel blessed that I still have a surviving parent, my mother, to send us the fruits of the season and for my brother and nephews to do the needful to get the package delivered to us. Luckily for us, my two sisters also live here in the same city so we get to share all the gifts of my mother’s garden together. Healthy garden produce is also a way of saying that all is well, or surviving, or on the road to recovery….
These mangoes have been left to ripen. Fully ripe mangoes would surely rot in this heat and in the 350 kilometre journey. We were reeling at 38 degrees Celsius these past few days. It’s come down a bit today but the sporadic rain has brought no respite. I made a salad that’s good for a summer day. A little tart, a little sweet, and a little spicy. The ingredients that went in are:
1 tender cucumber
1 nearly ripe mango
1 green chilli
A small bunch of vegetable fern/daomalai
A teaspoon of coarsely grated pepper
Salt and sugar to taste
The juices of the mango for the dressing
Only the tender part of the fern was used in this salad. The fern was blanched and placed on iced water. The mango and cucumber were finely shredded. I made a bed of the ferns on the plate and in a separate bowl, I mixed the rest of the ingredients with the dressing and the seasoning. The single chilli was sliced lengthwise and placed right on the top. This salad goes well with rice, dal, and other accompaniments.For another salad with vegetable fern as the main ingredient, you can check out my earlier post here.