On a rocky patch in our backyard, a thorny bush, disguised as a creeper comes to life every summer. Under the scorching heat of the India summer, it produces an abundant of berries. In Goa, they are called 'Chunna', and they have different names in different parts of the world. 'Ziziphus rugosa' is a hardy plant, that loves a tough life. In Africa, there is a saying, which roughly translates to; 'when there is nothing to eat- there is always these berries'. They are green when raw and slowly turn translucent as they ripen, they are not very sweet and neither very flavorful, but studies indicate an abundance of nutrients.
Our breakfast today were Idli's ( fermented- steamed millet cakes) laced with a generous quantity of 'Chunna pulp'. The Idli's were not made from rice, but from 'pearl millet' (Bajra) fermented overnight. I used the previous day's left-over batter as a starter (about 3 tablespoons of fermented finger millet) and in the morning, added a generous serving of 'Chunna'. It so happens, using Chunna in breakfast is not new- traditionally it has been used in dosa's in certain area's of southern India- I, however, used them in the idli's and this is where an amazing transformation happens. The slightly sweet berries actually become much sweeter and when we ate the idli- it felt as if raisins were added to the idlis. Chunna had acquired a new flavour- Eureka ! what an amazing discovery!