Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Ward off the Evil Eye with Winter Melon

 There is a vegetable commonly available in TamilNadu known as vellai pooosanikkai which translates to white pumpkin.

Image credit: wikimedia commons

Apparently it is also called Ash Gourd. In these parts like Singapore and Malaysia, we get slices of something called wintermelon at the supermarket which looks and tastes quite similar and that is what I use for the vellai poosanikkai recipes. I am not sure if they are the same, if not they are definitely siblings!

This watery vegetable is quite big and oblong in shape. We add them to our curries and even make halwa with them . ( a sweet about which I had spoken in my H post.)

Another use for this vegetable is in a non food context. The poosanikkai is extensively used to remove "kan dhrishti" or the evil eye! It is believed that when anything good is happening , or anything is functioning well as expected, the onlooker's thoughts or envy can cast an evil eye that may have repercussions.  Babies, newborns, pregnant women, children, newly married couples,  new job, new home, new car, wealth, health, fame,beauty..... the subject's list is limitless!

Thankfully for this belief, there is a counter system in practise. There are ways to ward off the evil eye effect. Some light camphor and move it in a circle in front of the family members especially children. Some do the same with red chillies and then throw them in the fire. Some apply a small black mark under the child's foot with kajal( a paste traditionally made with soot used for eye make up). Some tie black threads to the bonnet of newly bought cars. Some hang pictures of donkeys or demonic masks outside of their homes. This topic needs a book on its own and a post can't cover even 10%.

Coming back to the vegetable, it is a common practice to light camphor on this melon, move it in circles and then crash it on the ground to ward off all evil eye effect.

At a spiritual level some believe this to be related to aura etc. Some say that it is just a superstition.It is the belief system I grew up in and if you ask me if I believe it, I would be lying if I said Not at all! Its a deeply engrained part of our culture. I don't know if its true but no one proved otherwise! Anyone can tell me something is beautiful. Camphor or the wintermelon can handle the effect! Ha ha  

Food from other lands:

I tasted wasabi flavored chips some time back. Its a Japanese condiment or paste made from a radish type plant as far as I know. It has a strong pungent flavor. Something that hits you on the head - that strong! Have you had wasabi before?

Food for thought:

Simple requests:



There are people that have to walk miles for drinking water or struggling for a fistful of rice. Let us do what we can !

This post is written as part of the A to Z blogging challenge, an annual event in April when many of us bloggers all over the globe publish one post every day for each letter of the alphabet(except Sundays)


  1. I don't think you can ward of evil eye with winter melon in Singapore. It being a clean city, we cannot crash the water melon on the ground.

    1. Of course yes. Even in temples we have designated places for coconuts.

  2. Good 👍 one Jaish

  3. My dear friend from Kerala introduced me to the goodness of ash gourd Jayashree. I even drink it as a juice sometimes.
    Wasabi I love, but it doesn't agree with me.
    How clever to pick these two together--exact opposites in 'taste' and temperament foods:)

    1. I never thought of that comparison... you are right :)

  4. Yes, I have tasted Wasabi but did not like it at all. Winter melon is new to me. Maybe we know it by some other local name. Some use a bit of mustard seeds and salt (or white flowers for infants) and warding off evil eye move your hand in circles in front of the person and chant some simple words to the effect that the evil eye be banished. (sounds strange in english).

  5. I don't know if we have winter melon here in the USA, but I have some grandkids graduations coming up and we do have ways to outwit the evil eye. I daily light candles and say a prayer for protection, naming them all - children, grandchildren, spouses etc.

    1. You can get winter melon (they call it ash gourd) in any Indian grocery store in USA.

  6. Excellent post - I love introductions to culture foods as well as traditions. I will look for this vegetable. Yes I've had Wasabi not really a fan. Seen the incense used as well as certain markings to ward off the evil eye.
    So glad I have gotten to know you through the A to Z
    War Torn

  7. I did not know about the Evil Eye thing and I write about magic all the time! Thanks for this new bit of knowledge.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side | A to Z of Conspiracy Theories