Naykuttypayar is an 'untouchable' delicacy of Mavilar tribe

wild peas
Representative photo

'Naykuttypayar' may sound a bit odd, but those who have eaten it will vouch for the great taste. It is a wild pea/bean which can be cooked as a delicious stir fry or curry. However, quite ironically, this pea cannot be farmed as it is infamous for causing severe itching in those who come in contact with it.

Mavilar tribe speaks a unique dialect, a combination of Malayalam and Tulu. They are mostly seen in Hosdurg taluk in Kasargod district. This tribal community is known for following unique culinary practices.

It is said that the Mavilar tribe got its name from an herb called Mavilavu. Like all the other tribes, the early Mavilar used to hunt and eat wild tubers. Later, they settled as agricultural labourers. They still follow many unique farming practices like the 'punmamkothal' and 'poithukollal.' The naykuttypayar is one of the favourite food items of the Mavilar tribal community.

As it cannot be farmed, the naykuttypayar sprouts on its own and spreads into wilderness as vines. Naykuttypayar usually grows abundantly during the Malayalam season of Thulam. Covered with thick hair-like skin, these beans are harvested before they become too ripe. Delicious stir fries and curries are made using naykuttypayar. However, one should be very careful while plucking these peas. If your skin comes in contact with the-hair like structures on the pods, then it would cause severe itching that wouldn't go away easily.

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