Kuku, my little cousin sister is a kindly, helpful child. Even after all the pressures of being a full-time engineering student, she still finds time to help her mom, who in turn, skillfully juggles her day job and bringing up two kids on her own.
Okay, back to Kuku now. On my recent trip home, she told me about her newly invented recipe, Arabic Tea. I was not surprised. I knew she always had the scientific inclination and with her spending time in the kitchen helping mom, the invention could have only been a pleasant side-effect.
On a shivering wintery morning, Kukku was busy studying for her exams at home. That’s when Rani didi, the part-time-help, came home to help out with the chores. Seeing Rani-di doing the dishes with a splitting head-ache, Kuku offered to make her a cup of hot tea.
As you would expect from a person with a big heart, Kuku decided to make the concoction, a little special. She took out some ginger from the fridge and started to peel of the skin but was unsure of how much of it to be used to make the tea, special. Now, Kuku may be an engineer-in-the-making and a bit weak in the tea-making department – she isn’t however ashamed of asking for some advice and sought Rani-di’s help.
What happened next is straight out of a Tamil movie. Rani-di stormed out of the kitchen calling “Aiyo Kadavale!” (Oh my god). The next line was even more melodramatic “Are you trying to kill me!!”
It did not take long for Kuku to figure out something was wrong. She took another look at the irregular-shaped rootstock – Aiyo Kadavale indeed; it was not ginger but a piece of Arbi (Colocasia in English) though with a striking resemblance to the former. The trouble with Colocasia is that it can cause severe itch (just like a Yam) when it is uncooked and exposed to skin. Far from the tangy taste that was meant to be infused from the freshly shaved pieces of ginger root.
With the timely intervention and a bit of Kadavul grace, Rani escaped the itchy throat on top of a splitting headache. With a good laugh and a strong tea (no ginger this time), she was cured of that nasty headache.
For the curious, here is the recipe (world-wide patent pending: Kuku )
2 cup water
2 tablespoons Indian black tea
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 inch Arbi or Colocasia , freshly shaved
Warning: Try this at your own risk – neither author nor the inventor takes any responsibility for the severe itching in the throat that it is bound to last for a couple of hours. Text book remedies for the itching induced by this special recipe include coconut oil or butter milk……or simply avoid it in the first place!