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Mouth-watering Medicine

Updated on October 18, 2017

Medicine and mouth-watering? Wow!

The festival of Diwali, though celebrated throughout India, has many regional peculiarities. With some communities in the south, the festival isn't complete without the making and consumption of a traditional medicine, which is both effective and tasty at the same time. It is supposed to primarily aid in digestion.

Diwali is not only a festival of lights but also one of sweets, where a range of exotic dishes are conjured up by passionate grandmas and devoured in uncontrolled abandon by equally passionate family members. The digestive medicine is a precautionary indulgence first thing in the morning, to counter the extravagance that is to follow right through the day and beyond.

The recipe for this neutralizing wonder as made by the grandmas in our immediate family circles is presented here in verse. Trust that you savor it!

Mouth-watering Medicine

Medicine, to a healthy person, is generally a swear-word;

Its voluntary and willing use, one would have rarely heard.

Here are, however, exceptions to every little rule in life;

Whether they apply to a state of serenity or that of strife.

A distinction that could be made between the old and the new

schemes of medicine, both of which are fairly given their due

importance in assisting us during our eventful earthly sojourn;

One addresses the system, the other tackles symptoms by turn.

The stomach is the seat and the initiator of many a discomfort;

With its undisciplined minion - the tongue; which is born to hurt

By every one of its acts: be it garrulousness or yearning for goodies.

The verbally whip-lashed would agree, so would overweight foodies.

Doggedly clever medicos of today and caringly crafty grandmas of yore;

Devised means to hoodwink the tongue into doing a more useful chore.

While current remedial dispensations are packed in sugar-coated sheaths,

Some of grandma's therapeutic concoctions are mouth-watering treats!

For 250 grams (approximately) of the Mouth-Watering Medicine.

—— 3 tablespoons ginger paste
—— 3 tablespoons ginger powder
—— 4 tablespoons carom seeds
—— 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
—— 2 tablespoons pepper
—— 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
—— 1 tablespoons long pepper
—— 20 nos. cloves
—— 2 nos. 2 inches long cinnamon sticks
—— 1 to 1 1/4 cup jaggery
—— 1 cup water
—— 3 tablespoons clarified butter

We will have a detailed look at one such dual purpose recipe;

While gratification matches the effort, health-care comes free!

Dealing with indigestion and flatulence is its primary function,

Even as it whets the palate; it is the perfect need-greed junction.

To list the ingredients, we have: Ginger of the wet and dry kind;

Pepper - both black and long; Cane jaggery, the darker you find.

Cumin, clove, carom seeds, coriander seeds, and true cinnamon;

Clarified butter made from cow's milk, and the inventory is done.

A glimpse at the recorded medicinal traits of the ingredients would be

A good way to appreciate why this dish is eulogized by popular decree.

Carom seed is said to be a digestive aid and an antiseptic, while those

Of coriander apparently help circulatory and digestive system flows.

Black pepper has a multitude of therapeutic features spanning insomnia,

Indigestion, constipation, joint pain, liver problems, tooth aches and hernia.

Clove and ginger are considered carminative; the former being as well,

an antihelminitic. Dry and wet ginger, from their flavors, are easy to tell.

Cinnamon treats problems of the digestive system and Cumin common cold.

Long Pepper is an expectorant and increases memory in both young and old.

Jaggery helps in treating throat and lung infections and is a wholesome sugar.

Clarified butter is said to be one fat that has no great effect on your figure.

That completes the introductions and we go into the recipe proper:

Gather all relevant containers and remove their tight stoppers.

Clean and arrange the utensils and other implements one would need;

Doing menial work as well has always been the poor chef's creed.

Pound and grind the dry ginger and sieve it well to get a fine powder,

(Grandma would hum with the pounding beat, her voice a tad louder);

Care for that ancient flavor? Then be sure to use a mortar and pestle,

And sing along, as she would with the beat, while you ardently wrestle.

Roasting of the seven other dry spices separately, is the next action;

Until their their aroma makes you miss the gates of heaven by just a fraction.

Ensure a medium flame; stir the roasting spices continuously and well;

Failing which, you are most likely to be staring at the dark gates of hell.

It is back to some brisk singing and wrestling, with mortar and pestle;

Pound the roasted spices to powder individually, and store each to a vessel.

With so much pulverization scheduled, you would run out of tunes to hum.

I have a host of grandma's songs recorded and shall with pleasure share some.

Transfer the seven powdered items one by one into a larger urn;

Add the dry ginger pounded earlier to the mixture too, in its turn;

Blend the combination thoroughly, until it has one uniform shade;

The fragrance would be heady, though the individual aromas fade.

With the dry ingredients out of the way, the wet ones march to the fore.

Scrape and peel the outer skin off from the ginger, and retain its core.

Wash it well, then cut it to thin slices, before grinding it to a smooth paste;

A machine would do, but it is a manual grinding stone, for the period taste!

Break the jaggery lump into small pieces; drop them into a bowl of hot water;

Wait until the chunks dissolve totally, leaving behind waste residue matter;

Strain it into another container using a fine mesh or a clean washed cloth;

A tranquil brown liquid results, all set and ready to go into the final broth.

We are at the beginning of the penultimate and most important step;

Take a little breather if you wish; perhaps a spot of water for a bit of pep?

Place a deep-frying pan upon a medium flame, loaded with clarified butter;

After it has melted, add the ginger paste and listen to its ecstatic splutter.

Keep stirring with a ladle, until the ginger is cooked and attains a golden hue;

Then add the powdered spice mixture and liquid jaggery, considering this cue.

Continue to stir the gooey dark paste on the flame for twenty minutes, if not more.

Stop when the paste consolidates into a lump and doesn't stick to the pan-floor.

Douse the flame and let the dark lump cool, till it reaches room temperature;

It would be time now for some celebration, an elated whoop, a satisfied purr;

Well, that is an achievement that dear grandma would certainly be proud of;

having followed her instructions to the dot, she would have no reason to scoff.

We reach the ultimate step of tasting the divine stuff; it is sure to blow you away;

Fasten your seat belts, place a little helping on your tongue; let it spread its sway.

Feel it melt and trickle down your tongue, esophagus, and into the digestive tract;

That you experience fleeting ethereal bliss, is a vouched for and documented fact!

Recipes of such dishes are incomplete without the customary disclaimer,

Which sure is a necessary and very useful unbounded-exuberance-tamer.

Nectar for one can be poison to another; the dish, though we absolutely relish.

I would urge you to consult a physician first to avoid a gastronomical skirmish.

Here is a second disclaimer for those who disregard the first;

And dare experimenting; to see their passionate efforts go bust.

My account is an embellishment of what is in the recipe book;

I am only a photographer and a poet; my wife is the real cook!

This was a recipe, which could be enjoyed even without having to taste it!

If it tickled your notional palate, then please leave your comments here.

Thank you.

© 2017 Ram Ramakrishnan

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    • profile image

      R Krishnan 3 months ago

      Excellent stuff, the poem, I mean,

      If the cook wants a compliment too,

      A hundred gram sample of the real stuff, via courier, would do !

      My grandma used to say 'keeping an old man's mouth watering is a sin not easily forgiven'

      Whether she, the cook I mean,

      Will take the right actions to avoid such a situation is yet to be seen.

    • profile image

      C.R.Ramesh 4 months ago

      Very good. Happy to see grandma immortalized for posterity.

    • profile image

      Shankar 4 months ago

      Hi Sridhar- great narration- makes it very interesting the poetic manner in which this great grandma recipe has been presented- I see you have international following and hope you got some feedback from them about their experience after making the "mouth watering medicine"- great photographs- and I must add- your wife keeps the kitchen super clean while cooking !!

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 4 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Hello Ram and good morning. I found your hub to be extremely interesting and well done. It keeps your interest from beginning to end. Great writing and terrific photos to enhance the hub. Very detailed and very well written. Was this one featured?

    • ghulam33 profile image

      Ghulam Hussain 5 months ago from quetta

      great things you have shared ,I really enjoyed your article

    • profile image

      Girija 5 months ago

      Great job.Very useful.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wow! You shared a wonderful grandma preparation which I miss very greatly nowadays. Even though I get some medicinal recipes at some weddings of my relatives, this one shared by you is very much missed by me. And your presentation style is also very beautiful and wonderful. I appreciate you very much.

      I think you can replace one word there 'wrestle' with "whistle" below pestle (where you stated grandma hums the songs). I miss those songs also.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A creatively - delicious lens ! Best wishes :D

    • SofiaGarvey profile image

      SofiaGarvey 5 years ago

      What a fabulous lens! I love your poetic approach!

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 5 years ago

      Interesting medicine. I never thought that it's possible to have a mouth-watering medicine.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 6 years ago from Redcar

      A nicely crafted lense. Loved the artwork.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Say ... I was initially thinking that Mouth-watering Medicine was distinctly an oxymoron ... but I guess not. Delicious!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I had to look again. What? No purple star or LOTD? This truly an amazing piece of work!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Another truly amazing lens Ram. It's always a pleasure to enjoy not only the content of your lenses, but the stunning artwork as well. Blessings headed your way.

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 8 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Very interesting recipes! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 8 years ago

      Yes please I want some!

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 8 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      What a beautiful and poetic way to present a recipe! Very interesting background about this medicinal composition. Thanks to the poet, photographer and to the cook!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      It was a pleasure to read the "poetic recipe". I can very well imagine how amazing it would taste. Waiting to prepare it and share it with my family.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thank you so much for the mouth watering recipe .I have had the pleasure of tasting it and it was mouth watering indeed. Thanks to Kamala aunty and also to Uma.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Its great pleasure reading this recipe. I made the same but without cinnamon and long pepper. I shall try the same again using both the items.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wonderfully crafted lens. I enjoyed your poetry, your photography and wife's cooking. I would like to try this recipe for Medicine but would sure not want to experience Gastronomical Skirmish! Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Utterly delightful and delightfully perfect..I enjoyed every line ful of it.


    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      This is fantastic and fascinating. Thank you. Your lenses are beautiful.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 8 years ago

      I love spices!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      I have never had the pleasure of reading a recipe like this before. Well done!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      I have never had the pleasure of reading a recipe like this before. Well done!