Bhindi with ground mustard and fresh coconut : In the land of Indish, we are like this only!

Ice pice,” rings out the cry and the kids all run to hide…

Ice boys.” (Ice booooys!) I hear in a Madras school some years later and then, finally the penny drops!  That what was actually being played was a game of “I spy“! Indianised and apna desi version of course – usually an improvement on the original – just consider these “improvements”:

“Father promise” (low level commitment).

“Mother promise” (waay higher divine retribution if you break this one!), and above all…

“God promise” (we don’t even want to imagine all that can happen to you if you dare transgress a God promise!).

…all so much more promising than “crossing your heart and hoping to die”!

Sign in a “Meals-ready” restaurant : “Please don’t share two persons in one plate” – yes, our Indian thaalis are large and loaded but two backsides on one plate??? Plus, how will anyone purify the plate after that- even divine intervention won’t help matters here!

Wanted red faced groom”… huh???? This one foxed even me, lover of Indish,  for a while… till I figured out (it helped that it was a matrimonial ad, not someone looking for a caretaker for his horses!) that the advertiser was translating from his native Telugu. Thus-ly: “Erraga, burraga” – meaning a “fair-complexioned, healthy “ groom – that Indian thing about pale skin apart, aren’t most grooms today red-faced with embarrassment at all the ceremonies?!

Co -brother or co-sister” – in the complex world of Indian relationships and specific names for each reationship, this one is a real beauty and I am deeply upset with the OED for refusing to recognise it and include it in their list year after year…

“What a nose-cut that was!” Huh? Lakshmana and Surpanakha in the Ramayana? Naah… that was just li’l ol’ me cutting someone down to size! Literally translated from the Hindi – naak kaat diya uska!

Why do you want to take so much tension, yaar?!” Deeply philosophical when you think about it –  we opt for tension, right? Why make this obviously wrong choice? So much better than “Don’t get tense!” Our Indish way forces you to reflect on your choices – want or no-want tension?! Kya baat hai!

“Arre yaar, why are you eating my brains?!” Last I saw, there wasn’t much to eat and I really wouldn’t want to deprive you of what you need to make a living with! But again, what a beauty! So graphically descriptive of someone getting into your mindspace. Just consider the “propah” alternative – “Stop getting on my nerves” – well, it could be the nerves on your feet, for all I know!

“When I passed out of college” – quite true for the supine state of most of us who graduated college in India!

And on that note, here is a very non- Indish dish!


AAVAPETTINA BENDAKAYA KOORA/bhindi/okra with mustard and fresh coconut


  • Bhindi/okra – 300  gm. Cut into 1/2 cm lengths and dry under a fan for an hour or in an open tray overnight in the frig.
  • Grated fresh coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Red chilies – 2
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili – 1
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Sambar onions/shallots – 4-5  – optional
  • Cumin seeds/jeera – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt
  • Chopped coriander  – 2 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


Grind the mustard into a paste with a tsp of water. Add  this paste to the coconut, shallots, jeera, chilies and curry leaves and pulse to a rough crumble.

Heat oil in a flat pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida and immediately drop in the bhindi pieces. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Cover and cook on a low flame for about 7-8 minutes more, stirring occasionally till almost done. Remove lid, add salt and saute for a further 3-4 minutes till the “sticky” stuff is dried up!

Sprinkle over the coconut crumble and mix well till it coats all the pieces. Switch off and garnish with coriander.


Serve with rice, rotis and if you have leftovers, eat as a diet snack (snakes being served here!) The kick of raw, ground mustard makes this dish totally “world-class” – another thing we Indians love!