The jackfruit tree is an evergreen tree belonging to Moraceae family and the botanical name is Artocarpus heterophyllus. Jackfruit is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been cultivated in India 6000 years ago.
The name of the fruit originated from the Malayalam work “Jakka”, the Portuguese used this and appended the word fruit to it, so it was Jakkafruit and now it is known as Jackfruit. In Hindi it is known as Kathal and in Kannada as Halasina Hannu.
I remember in childhood feasting on Sugarcanes during Shankranthi festival as it is a custom in Karnataka to distribute a piece of Sugarcane to friends and relatives on this harvest festival. We kids would tear off the tough skin with our teeth and chew and suck on the white inner flesh and spit out the roughage. My grandfather used to encourage us to eat sugarcane in this manner and used to say that our teeth would become stronger and remain healthy for a long time.
The botanical name is Saccharum officinarum, and it belongs to the family Gramineae (grass). In Kannada it is known as Khabbu and in Hindi it is Ganne.
“Kamakasturi” is a common plant found growing alongside the holy basil / Tulasi in backyards of most of the houses in South India. This common plant is the exotic herb known as Thai Basil or Sweet Basil used in most of the Thai and Italian cuisines. The strong flavor adds an element of exoticism in the dish.
Botanical name is Ocimum basilicum. Thai Basil plant grows up to 3 feet in height and has purple-green wide, lance-like fragrant leaves. In Thai it is known as Bai Horapha. The flowers are tiny white clusters blooming on a purple stems. The seeds are black with a white transparent jelly covering. The seeds are also used in various cuisines. I have tasted them in the Indian dessert Falooda. The seeds are known as Sabja in India.
“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” – Turkish Porverb
Reading newspaper in the early morning sipping a cup of filter coffee is the ideal way to start the day in any South Indian home. A cuppa is a must-have, to stimulate and face the day with enthusiasm. Some call it as “Caffeine fix” in good humor.
Also known as Okra, Bhindi (Hindi), Bhendekayi (Kannada) is a very popular vegetable in India. It is grown all over the country and used to cook a variety of dishes. The botanical name is Abelmoschus esculentum and belongs to Malvaceae family.
The vegetable is used in preparation of various dishes as well as in the paper industry and for extraction of fiber. It is grown in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions around the world.
Peanuts or Groundnuts belongs to the legume family Fabaceae. Botanical name is Archis Hypogaea. Hypogaea means below the earth. In Kannada it is known as Kadalekayi and Shenga, Moomphali in Hindi, and other common for peanuts are Earthnuts, Goober peas, Manila nuts, and Monkey nuts. There are different varieties of peanuts grown all over the world.
Peanuts are annual plant, which grows up to 1.5 feet. The leaves are opposite, pinnate, and each leaf is 1 to 3 inch long and wide.
Every December and January vendors would tie chickpea plants full of tender pods on their cycles and would cycle through the streets selling them. It used to be a tasty and protein rich snack for us kids during our Christmas holidays and would keep us occupied and away from mischief for a while.
Chickpea also known as Kadale in Kannada, Channa in Hindi and other common names are Bengal Gram, Garbanzo Bean, and so on. When dry and split, the peas are yellow and are known as Kadlebele or Channa Dal in Kannada and Hindi respectively. There are many different types of Chickpeas available like Dry Green peas, Dark Brown peas, Kabuli Channa etc.
I remember guests who would visit us at Mysore would always wish to take away a Sandalwood article as a memento and we would take them to Cauvery handicrafts to take their pick.
Sandalwood is synonymous with Karnataka as it grows in abundance in the wild. The tree is known as Shreegandha in Kannada and Chandan in Hindi. The forest area on the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala borders contributes the maximum of the world production of Sandalwood tree. The wood grown in the Mysore region is considered the best quality of wood. The state tree of Karnataka is undoubtedly the Sandalwood Tree.
“Open sesame”, the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity.
Sesame Seeds is a flowering plant cultivated for its edible seeds and the botanical name is Sesamum Indicum. It is also known as Til in Hindi, Gujarati and Bangla and Yellu in Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam. In southern US and Caribbean, sesame seeds are known as benne.
Sesame seeds is native of Africa and India and this ingredient has been around from 1600 B.C. India is one of the largest producers of Sesame seeds.