THE Hindu South African South Indian Indians have started their annual observation of the Purattasi Fast.
This religio-cultural period, which continues over one month, from September 17 to October 17, is marked by the total non-consumption of any meat or meat product. A strict vegetarian diet is followed for the entire period.
On each Saturday during this period, a variety of vegetables, accompanied by a selection of savoury delights and sweetmeats, are consumed after offering prayers and thanks for a good and healthy life.
Most families observe the third Saturday with the offering of a larger variety, usually nine vegetable dishes and an equally tempting variety of savouries. The grand old lady, vermicelli, prepared with fresh milk in liquid form with raisins and desiccated coconut and with papad, completes the dessert.
The significant prayer call by all members of the family is: “Govinda in the name of God we give thanks.”
The staggering variety of vegetable dishes eaten during the fasting period is fascinating if not breathtaking, and all are prepared with tongue-watering aromas.
To name a few - cauliflower and peas, cabbage plain or with potatoes, green beans, double beans, brinjal, herbs and many more, of which dhal is a must.
Adding to the wide selection of vegetables, the entrepreneurs cash in with their soya products. To titillate the palate, and of course the imagination, we have soya sausages, soya prawns, soya burgers, soya polony, soya mince, soya chunks and the new arrival, soya egg. How do you like it, sir — scrambled, soft boiled, sunny side up or omelette?
Just kidding. The month is all about veggies.
Happy Purtassi fasting to all our Hindus and remember, no booze.
Also, please do not pay attention to the rumoured arrival on the market of soya “walkie talkies” (chicken heads and feet). This of course needs engineering skills, and a fertile imagination to produce.