Thakkali Vattal and Manga Thira

Inspired by the abundance of cheap tomatoes and the intensely hot days of May during a COVID-19 lockdown, I decide to make sun-dried tomatoes. Definitely worth it, despite the spells of rain (naturally) that threatened the enterprise. “Thakkali vattal-aa?” exclaims Maheswari. The name stays!

Thakkali Vattal

My mother (93+) quietly suffers through my complaints about the weather, how long the tomatoes are taking to dry, etc. Then two days ago, she says, why not make aam paapad? WHAT? Why aam paapad, for goodness’ sake? My mother used to make it, she says. Really? I had no idea, did they really make it in Palakkad?? [I associate it with the “नौर्थ” where I first encountered it in Delhi.] Yes, she insists, but I do not remember what it was called. But, but, but — how will you eat it? [No teeth, and generally complaining about the texture of foods] After soaking, she says. Why, why, why, why not just taste the mango now when it is juicy and good? Different taste, she says, simply. So here it is, my first attempt, a not-very-good-looking-but-definitely-tasty-even-if-not-quite-dry Manga Thira* aka Aam Paapad etc.

Manga Thira

*there seems to be a version of Manga thira out there that contains coconut and jaggery, so I am not sure about the name…


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