My earliest association with Ajwain has been in the form of ‘Oma water’ which was stocked up in every home and given to children from time to time to tackle basic stomach ailments. The Oma Water is a traditional concoction of Ajwain and water brewed together & bottled with a shelf life of like forever (we used to always have a bottle or two safely stowed away in the kitchen cabinet). Mum used to buy two or three bottles at a time from a door to door salesman selling homemade Oma Water. I swear by this magic potion even today as I purchase a branded one from Konkan Traders, during every trip to Mangalore. It’s called the ‘Omam Water’ marketed by ‘Western Ghats Pharmaceuticals’ – the makers of Cinth (the wonder oil for aches & pains), Cons and Cold Drops (their most famous products).
Nivole was also given to me in plenty after I delivered my son obviously for it’s medicinal benefits and to speed up my recovery. It’s best eaten with steaming rice or if you wish, just sip a bowlful of piping hot ‘Nivole’ complete with Ajwain, Peppercorns and Red Chillies ground to perfection. Yum! – enough to banish your ailments and bring you back on your feet in no time!
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of carom seeds (bishop’s weed/omam/ova/ajwain)
- 12 -15 peppercorns/kali mirch
- 1 long dry red chilli (Bedgi/Kumti)
- 1 tsp cumin/jeera
- 2 tsps coriander seeds/dhania
- 4 pieces of Vonti sol (dried skins of a sour fruit called Dheu * see notes) or 1 small ball of tamarind
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1 medium onion roughly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic (with skin)
- 1/2 medium onion sliced (for fon/tempering)
- salt to taste
2. Powder all the dry ingredients and then add the grated coconut, onion and garlic along with the tamarind/kokum and grind to a fine paste.
3. In a pan heat some oil and fry the masala lightly (as they are already pre roasted) and add sufficient water to form a medium thick gravy (not too watery). Add salt to taste, stir and bring it to a boil
4. Simmer for two minutes and in another pan heat some oil and when it is hot, toss in the 1/2 sliced onion and fry till golden brown.
5. Temper the gravy with the onions and your Nivole is ready! – Have some right away!Notes:
Vonti Sol are dried skins of a sour fruit also named as Dheu/Monkay Jack/Lakoocha/ Jaregay Puli