I was very fond of vendaikai/lady’s finger because I was told that I would excel in mathematics if I ate it. Liars! I used to ask my mother to prepare vendaikai pachadi because I liked the taste of it. My mother used to make vendaikai pachadi with tamarind and coconut. I discovered that if I cooked it with unripe mango instead of tamarind for the sour taste and left out the coconut from the recipe, I arrived at the most delicious salad (fried) of lady’s finger and mango.
When mangoes are in season we usually have a surplus that doesn’t keep for very long. We need to find ways to use them in various dishes. My mother used to prepare this salad for us because it didn’t require much cooking and we used to relish it with thayir saadham (curd rice).
These men be tiresome.
Anne Hughes, The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife, 1796–1797
There never was a truer statement especially when it comes to the eating habits of the men in my life. My father disliked the flavour of aniseed and refused to take us out to eat. He had to tour frequently in his job and had to eat in all sorts of eateries, and when he was home, he only wanted to eat what my mother cooked. It never occurred to him that we, particularly my mother, would want to taste something different and enjoy a respite from cooking. My husband hated anything that was gooey in texture; I can understand him not wanting to get liquid egg yolk on his moustache, but not his avoidance of porridge, ice cream, and fruits like mango. My son has a long list of foodstuffs he abhors, which includes all seafood, nuts, fruits, and most vegetables. I do not mind him not eating the first three, but I try to draw a line when it comes to vegetables. I noticed that he tolerated capsicum and cabbage in noodles and that inspired me to create this recipe.