Now that plastic bags have, at last ,been banned by the government of Maharashtra, most of us carry that good old 'pishwi' , for generations the accoutrement of every proud Puneite.You never leave home without it.
A sturdy cloth bag, generally made of khadi, but now to be seen in all colours and fabrics, of medium size, hung from the shoulder to leave all hands free, every man, woman and child owned one. Sensibly so. It comes into use for carrying notebooks, money, glasses,equipment, and vegetables. No man would be thought sissy for carrying a pishwi here...it isnt , after all, a 'hand' bag. And he would be doing what all real men do in Pune -The bhaji/vegetable shopping on the way home.
So I am glad to see it back again. Mainly because low micron plastic bags are not available for use by the local vendors of fruit and vegetables, shops and stores.Which means they are out of circulation, and are not going to clog our street, drains, open spaces, trees, barbed wires, railroad tracks and the Indian landscape, which was looking progressively more like a surrealistic wasteland of pink, bright blue and multicoloured plastic blowing in the wind.
Snake gourd makes one feel very smart about carrying the old pishwi. It never did fit in any plastic bag. Snap a snake in two and it fits comfortably along the shoulder strap.
Ingredients for a simple snake bhaji:
- 1 snake (gourd)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon rai/mustard seed
- 5 cloves garlic chopped fine
- 2 green chillies slit and deseeded
- Salt to taste.
Wash, peel and slice the padwal in half along the length . Take out the seeds, and chop into half inch circles.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a kadhai / or heavy bottomed pan.Put in mustard seeds and when they pop add the garlic and chillies.
Saute till lightly browned and add the chopped padwal. Cover tightly and allow to cook in its own juices for about 12-15 minutes on low heat. Add salt to taste.