Of mologootal, mice and men

15Apr08

What is it about the humble mologootal that turns on every other Palghat guy? Just mention the word to your average Ambi, Mani or Kondai and you will behold misty eyes and a wistful smile as if the said Ambi, Mani or Kondai (or say Ramani, Srini or Balu) were reminiscing about mother’s milk and not a simple stew that originated in Palghat. I remember my Dad’s favourite version was the true-blue chakka-kottai mologootal (roughly translates to jackfruit seed mologootal). Many years ago, my brother, who has never so much as spent a single night in Palghat district suddenly affirmed his roots when he demanded his Punjabi wife learn how to make mologootal. So sacred is the mologootal that my aunt ruffled many a feather when she in a jocular attempt to demonstrate the ubiquitousness of this dish posted a recipe for fish mologootal (my sincere apologies to any fellow Palghat Iyer reading this post) on a family site! One of my earliest memories is being force-fed keerai mologootal (made with spinach and greens) by my Mom. While in Bangalore, Mom was pretty creative when it came to dishing up variations. If we found ourselves running short of veggies on a Sunday morning, she would simply saunter into the backyard, casually pluck a raw papaya and dish up a savoury mologootal with it. My grandfather, Dad and brother heartily approved, of course! When I married a Sourashtra guy from Chennai, I secretly gloated over my escape from Sunday morning mologootal … till my husband discovered the dish. Needless to say I now dish up this mainstay of Palghat cooking in Fremont, California, much like my grandmother must have in Melarcode, Palghat some eighty years ago. I have since surrendered to the might of mologootal – it, as they say, has the power – to turn the normally self-effacing and sometimes mousy Palakattan into a man with a purpose – a man who has discovered the joys of a mouthful of rice, doused generously with mologootal and laced with the spicy, piquancy of an accompanying thuvayal (a traditional chutney accompaniment). It makes him close his eyes and think of Ammai back home in Perinkolam or Puducode or Oththapaalam.

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2 Responses to “Of mologootal, mice and men”

  1. chakka kottai mologootal … yummmmmm.
    which reminds me that its been a few years since I had this variety of the dish. And the person who coined the phrase “a way to a man’s heart or whatever” must have had the this version of mologootal in mind.

    and and, time to go prepare something for dinner – a poor substitute for the mologootal.

  2. I was never a fan of the Mologootal when i was a kid… but ever since i learned cooking i started liking it very much – after all, it’s so easy to cook…but getting the right taste – that’s altogether a different question…:-)


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