It happened many many years ago. I was a sixth-grade schoolgirl, and it was a sweltering hot summer day. I had taken some street-food the previous day. Mid-morning found me writhing in pain in my abdomen and running to the toilet, only to pass loose motions with phlegm and blood. This was repeated twice more and I was sobbing, all terrified and weak. My father rushed back from his jewelry and was getting me ready to go to the hospital. At that moment, who should come but my eldest cousin, Meera. Devout, fair and beautiful, with a pleasant, soothing way of speech, loving, kind and sympathetic to all, Meerakka (akka means elder sister in Konkani), an angel in human form, rushed to my rescue.
In her hand was a hamper of pomegranates. She asked me not to fear and bade me rest on the armchair. Quickly, she cut open a pomegranate and made me eat the seeds, completely heedless to the protests from my alarmed mother. Then she took the peel, and adding a pinch of salt, crushed it in our granite hand-grinder. To this, she added a little water and boiled it on the stove. She then made me drink the broth. I was apprehensive that it would be bitter, but Meerakka promised me that I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital or take painful injections. I was surprised to see the broth quite tasty, and I quickly swallowed it. In less than half than hour, my abdominal pain had disappeared, and within two hours, I was feeling ravenous.
By that time, Meerakka had prepared a special pouring curry for me, which she called dalimba solla khadi. Prepared from the peel of the pomegranate, it was delicious, when poured over hot rice. My mother served me just a little rice, fearing for my health. I was so hungry and the khadi so tasty, I kept clamoring for more. Meerakka assured my mother that there would be no problem whatsoever, and that the khadi would cure me completely. I ate my fill. The horrifying symptoms and the illness had vanished without a trace, and since then, I’ve never had amoebic dysentery. The healing truly was miraculous! Was it the pomegranate peel, or was it Meerakka? I really do not know, to this day!
I know only that I must share this wonderful recipe with you. Meerakka’s khadi is so delicious and easy to cook, that one does not need the excuse of an illness to enjoy this marvelous dish. But in case a person with stomach ailment does need it as a remedy, Meerakka tells me that the three courses should be taken successively. First of all, eat the pomegranate seeds, half an hour later, drink half a cup of the pomegranate peel broth, then as soon as hunger strikes, eat a little hot rice with a liberal pouring of dalimba solla khadi. Enjoy!