Raw Papaya Chutney

I read about surrogate advertising today in the newspapers, and how it is used by tobacco companies to sell their products. A tobacco product called ‘Gutkha’ is marketed under the name of the innocuous sounding ‘Pan Masala’. Pan masala, till the 1970s didn’t carry any hint of tobacco. Till then, it showed only moderate scale of success. In the 1980s tobacco was introduced into the original mixture and since then the product sales grew by leaps and bounds.

The tobacco product is advertised as Pan Masala, so as to circumvent the law which put a ban on advertising of tobacco products. But the tobacco companies are nobody’s fool. All their target audience know what their ad is all about. Children as young as seven are falling prey to the tobacco menace. Maximum cases of oral cancer in India are due to consumption of tobacco products. Among these ‘Gutkha’ is the biggest culprit.

I remember when I was doing my internship, I once had a patient, a boy about 11 years old. He came with a problem stating that he couldn’t open his mouth fully. My initial thought was that he probably fell somewhere and has got some sort of trismus (or spasm of jaw muscles which causes  limitation in mouth opening). Imagine my horror, when I realized that the boy had a condition called oral submucous fibrosis. Put plainly, it means that the elasticity of his cheeks was completely lost, and the muscles in his cheek had gone rigid, like bone! The condition is irreversible. Do you know what caused it? You guessed right… Gutkha! The boy was  having gutkha since he was 7 years old, as many as four to five times a day!  I don’t know where he is right now, or even if he is alive… But I pray to God that other children as young as him do not get lured by these tobacco companies.

While there are some anti-tobacco drives going on in the country, I doubt if they are doing much to prevent the misfortune like that of my patient. Now I have heard that the government has made it mandatory from 1st of December 2011 for the tobacco companies to put graphic pictures of oral cancer patients on their packs so as to deter the customer from buying them. I don’t know how much this will be effective, but I sure do hope it works.

To the recipe, I am sorry I don’t have a picture today. I was being a lazy bum, and I thought that I might as well eat first and then click. But by the time I finished eating the chutney was all but gone, with a little bit remaining for my hubby (who is late… as usual!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw papaya peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp raisins
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp tamarind extract
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4th cup water

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the fenugreek seeds, and the fennel seeds. Once they begin to color a bit, add the cumin seeds. Add the chillies and saute for a minute. Now add the grated raw papaya, and saute for 4 minutes. Now add the turmeric powder, salt, sugar, honey, raisins and tamarind extract. Add the water and bring the chutney to a boil. Stir on high heat till the water almost evaporates. Remove in a serving tray and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!

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