banana-tree-right banana-tree-left
A brown-ish robe with pink and blue designs of flowers all over.A robe, 18th century, probably Coromandel Coast,
Cotton, hand applied or painted and mordant dyed,
TXT.00875

The pomegranate: a colourful antiviral

One of the oldest fruits in the world, pomegranates were often used to perform rituals and believed to contain talismanic properties, and proven to benefit health, fertility and wellbeing.

The plant entered India during its trade with present day Iran. From cups made of pomegranate wood to textiles made of the naturally dyed arils, every part of the fruit, plant, flower and stem added value to human livelihood. In this chintz coat, we see designs of an unopened pomegranate fruit with small flowers scattered across the vines. The coat was either traded with a European/British man based in Indonesia (as they were the ones who wore such ‘dandy’ robes) or was made with the intention of trade with Persia.

Pomegranates also add a pop of colour and sweetness to many savoury dishes like in the tabbouleh-kosambari salad below.

Tabbouleh-Kosambari salad by Vaishnavi Kambadur

“Pomegranate’s connection with textiles intrigues me. It was used to dye kalamkari or chintz cloth in yellow. Pomegranate fruit and flowers also showed up as designs in textiles that were traded from the Indian subcontinent. Using the multiple places that this chintz robe travelled, my recipe is a mix of tabbouleh and kosambari salads that are local to Mediterranean and South Indian regions respectively”

List of ingredients

For 2 people
Time: 15 minutes (if the ingredients are ready)

1/4 cup Moong dal or Couscous
4-5 tablespoon Olive oil or Coconut oil
1/2 cup Carrot or Bell peppers (grated)
1/2 cup Cucumber or spring onions (chopped)
2 Green chillies (finely cut and tempered)
2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped and tempered)
2 tablespoon Coriander leaves or Parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon Lemon juice and some lemon zest
Pinch of salt (as per your taste)
1 cup or more Pomegranate seeds

Method

Soak the couscous or moong dal in water for 2 hours. If you’re using couscous then add it to boiled water till it becomes soft.

Drain the moong daal or couscous, fluff it while it cools down.

Take a large bowl and add moong dal/couscous, oil, grated carrot/chopped bell pepper, cucumber, tempered green chillies/garlic, coriander/parsley, salt and pomegranate to it.

Take 2 large wooden spoons and gently toss all the ingredients.

I like to add lemon juice and zest at the end. I usually add or remove ingredients based on what is available and add some pepper powder, garlic powder and onion flakes to give it more flavour.