Enth, a Cycad and a Challenge for the Traditionalist!

When I made Chakka Ada, some friends got it confused with ‘Poocha’, a traditional kumbilappam (bottom right) made in Edana, the Indian bay leaf (bottom left).

Traditional poocha of my childhood was made with enthanga (top in picture) powder, processed from the seeds of enth trees in our land.

Enthapana, the Malayalam name for the tree suggests that it is a palm. But google tells me that it’s a cycad, trees of the Jurassic age, unevolved over the ages. Apparently no relation to date palms, which is termed a palm, though the look etc are the same.

Like in date palms, enth also have male and female trees. Male ones grow a big cone shaped flower while a certain type of bees transport the abundant polen in the cones to the flowers of female enth to produce bunches of enthaga.

The ripened seeds are washed, dried, skinned and powdered for exquisite use for poocha, porridge, sweets etc. By the way it’s also called sago.

Enth is declared as endangered. And the solitary tree in my land will not bear fruit or produce pollen, even if I am willing to do a manual polination.

The tree has rings, denoting each year of it’s life. So even if I plant some, it will be years before we can see fruits/ seeds. But at least it’s a pay back to future generations.

In the meantime let me make poocha with chakka varatty and rice powder, as I have edna leaves in my land.

Watch this space.

Enth, a Cycad and a Challenge for the Traditionalist!

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