Many would have spotted this special plant growing by the roadside, particularly on the outskirts of the city. But few would be aware of its culinary and medicinal potentials. Characterised by dark green leaves and thick bunches of tiny violet or yellow coloured fruits that contain seeds, pulp and juice, the plant Kaasi can be put to multiple uses.
The fruits are safe to eat. In fact, when unripe, they make for a tasty pickle. Bottle them in a jar mixed with some buttermilk, salt and a modicum of turmeric powder, and let the mixture sit for about a fortnight. Have the pickle with curd-rice to make for a delicious meal and to help keep the stomach germ-free. The Kaasikai pickle will put most other varieties of pickle to shame.
Another mouth-watering delicacy is made by frying the raw fruit which has been first sun-dried. This can be had as a side-dish. The sun-dried fruits can also be added to sambaar or rasam.
Boiling Kaasi leaves in water makes for a nutritious item that can be had with rice or chappati. Those suffering from stomach ulcers find it to be a very effective medicine offering quick and complete relief unlike any other herbal or allopathic prescription.
The plant is easy to cultivate, even in a kitchen-garden, and needs little special care or fertilizer to enhance its growth.