Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sugarcane Juice (Ganne ka Ras)

In my unequal struggle with Hindi during Std X I had an earth shattering 15 1/2 marks combined in my first unit test, terminals and prelimins. My father concerned at my progress or lack thereof did the only thing a responsible Indian parent can do — looked for Hindi coaching classes. After much begging the Hindi teacher at St. Loyola's agreed to let me and two of my friends join his class of Hindi challenged pupils. We were thrown out of class on the very first day on account of laughing at a logo on the teacher's polo shirt. It was laughing buddha styled monkey, so it was a no brainer. Getting thrown out of class was a very common thing for vagabond students such as myself and one desperately needed a place to park in such an event. In Model Colony at the edge of Shirke's Sugarcane Farm, they had cleared 10000 sq. ft. of land and put some tables and bamboo chairs. And at one end there was a shed with a sugarcane juice machine. One Rupee for a tall, cold one. In this case a tall glass of sugarcane juice were the cane was cut after the juice was ordered. A few hot samosas on the side, and you were golden. Cane House was to the Model Colony teenager what a local pub is to an Irishman. I passed by Cane House the last time I was in Pune and there was a rusty tin door with a lock on it. The shed and the chairs and tables were still all there—in a state of complete disrepair. The rusty cane juice machine looked like it hadn't moved for many a monsoon. And the rich, black soil floor was covered with 'congress grass'. Juice from Whole Foods' organic sugarcane can never compare to the experience of a roadside gannawala or ghural. But in case you wish to recreate the feeling while watching Seinfeld reruns, here goes...

1 large Sugarcane (the part closest to the root yields the tastiest juice)
2" piece of Ginger
1 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Cut the Sugarcane and put through a strong juicer
Add ginger to the juicer, too
Collect in a jug / glass and add lemon, salt and pepper
Add ice cubes and enjoy cold

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