To my horror I find that I am writing a series of food posts. Not very balanced in what is supposed to be a general blog about Katong, its residents and lifestyle. But sometimes, things just work that way. Today's post is about an unusual vegetable called drumstick, kacang kelor (pronounced Kah-Chang Kay-loh), or the seed pods of the horseradish tree.
This is a very unusual vegetable in that the exterior (the seed pod) is horribly hard and fibrous. But when cut into pieces and then cooked for some time, the exterior can be broken easily to get to the soft, juicy interior. This is the vegetable seen frequently in Indian curries, especially dahl (lentil) curries. But it really goes well in other curries as well, eg chicken, fish curries.
My grandmother's neighbour has a horseradish tree somewhere in his garden. Every now and then, he harvests the seed pods and my grandmother gets a share of his bounty. She passes much of this on to my mother. My mother used to cook it in fish or chicken curries. Then she realised that the meat was just taking up the surplus space in the pot. So now we have our drumstick cooked in vegetable curries, so that the main attraction of the dish is just this vegetable. After the end of the meal our plates are piled high with the thick, fibrous, remnants of the seed pods, all with their insides dilligently scraped clean. So here is a picture of kacang kelor, on the outside and inside.