Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weaver ants, and ridge gourd recipes

I write about weaver ants, and also share a chutney recipe made from ridge gourd skin.

One evening, when we were walking towards the parking lot at our club, we saw some nests on the mango trees. The leaves were woven beautifully. The nest was surprisingly big, and we assumed that it may belong to some bird. But after a close inspection, we saw numerous red ants busy weaving nests. These ants were big in size, and looked as though their bite would hurt.

We clicked a few photos of the nests from our mobile phone; however, due to bad lighting, the photos aren't clear but have captured an essence of what I narrate. The nest resembled an out-of-shape ball. Each leaf was nicely woven to other leaves. No way could we see what was inside the nest. Around the nest, the big ants crawled hurriedly. They didn't seem to care whether it was day or night, but they had some important mission to complete.

Today, I searched the Internet for information about such ants, and found that they are called Weaver ants or Green ants. They are famous for cooperative work when building nests or protecting them. These ants eat harmful pests, and therefore, act as a bio-control agent. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaver_ant.



For dinner, I prepared sambar from ridge gourd. We (Kannadigas) call the sambar - Maskai. The ridge gourd is skinned, and cooked with dal, onions, and tomatoes. The cooked ingredients are blended with salt, garlic, grated coconut, chopped coriander leaves, and sambar power. Seasoning of hint, mustard seeds, and curry leaves are then added to the blended mixture, and boiled for a while. The sambar tastes yum with rice and a little bit of ghee.  (I didn't add fried gram to the sambar, today.)

From the ridge gourd skin, we prepare a chutney. This is my version of the chutney.

Ingredients:
1 ridge gourd (medium length)
4-5 pepper corns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 Green chillis
1" ginger piece (chopped)
2 tblsps freshly grated coconut
1" tamarind
A little chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash and skin the ridge gourd. Heat a pan, and add the skin into it along with a teaspoon of oil, pepper corns, and cumin seeds. Roast well. When the skin turns soft and dark Green, remove from heat. Add the grated coconut, and dry roast it for a while. Remove from heat. Roast the Green chillis on open fire. In a mixer, add all the roasted ingredients, ginger, tamarind, coriander leaves, and salt, and blend well with a little water. Remove the chutney in a bowl. You can season the chutney with curry leaves and channa dal. Serve this chutney with rice, rotis, dosas, or idli, or along with any snack.

This recipe is awfully simple, and you can vary the quantity of ingredients as per your taste. But ensure that there is a balance in taste. Let me know your version of this chutney and other dishes that you prepare from ridge gourd.

Ingredients

Ridge gourd chutney

Regards,
Asha

3 comments:

  1. I've never done anything interesting with ridge gourd. Now here's a recipe I would really like to try out. Thanks so much for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are welcome, Anita. We also make bajjis from ridge gourd. I just made some this evening. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I make a dry chutney using the ridges of ridgegourd.
    Delicately grate off only the ridges, roast in little oil alongwith sesame seeds, dry coconut (roasted and crumbled)add salt and seasoning (chilli powder), served as a chutney with rice and dal
    I will try your version next time I cook ridge gourd.
    Chitra

    ReplyDelete

Hi friends,

Thanks for visiting the blog site. Please leave a message to share experiments at your garden or to send me a feedback about my experiments. Even a simple "Hello" would make my day!

Regards,
Asha

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