Choti Idli

Mummy was always adding new pans, pots and cooking gadgets to her kitchen collection. Sometimes she discovered a new recipe needing that special gadget and other times she simply found a better, newer version of a gadget she alredy possesed. Whatever was the reason for her new purchase, we always benefited from it. She either bought the new gadgets for us or passed on the older version. Idli stand to make choti (small) idlies was one such purchase she made while visiting my brother in…

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Aam ki meethi chutney

Mummy made this sweet chutney using amiya, hindi name for unripe, green mangoes. Amiya’s tart flavour makes it a good choice for pickles and chutneys. Every year, when amiya was available in the market, the sweet chutney is amongst one of the many pickles/chutneys mummy prepared. After making a big batch of chutney, she stored it in several clean glass bottles. One of those bottles used to find a permanent place on the dining table because we consumed the chutney in variety of ways almost…

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“Mixture”

“Mixture” was the name given to the stew like mixed vegetables mummy prepared when root vegetables are in season. I must confess that I did not like this as a kid but grew up to appreciate the simpicity of the dish and the natural flavours of the vegetables it highlighted. The combinations of the vegetables work very well together, providing different textures, flavors and color to the dish. This was also one or Papa’s favorite thing. The success of this recipe is dependent on finding…

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Soup

If ever I were to plan whole week’s menu, I always add making soup to the list. But by the time I am done making the dinner, making soup feels too much work and there is no time left to execute the multiple steps required. Mummy had broken down the steps and simplified the process so in winter months, we could have soup every day. She prepared a big batch of concentrated concoction for the soup, boiled vegetables blended and strained, ready to be served…

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Bajare ka pua

Bajare ka pua is one of those things that Mummy made and I always enjoyed but never got around to cooking it on my own. Bajare Ka Pua also turned out to be one of the last things Mummy made that we were fortunate enough to try. It is always going to hold a special place in my heart for that reason. Best way to describe a pua is to call it a sweet fried bread. It has the sweetness from gur (jaggery) and slightly…

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Mooli Tamatar Ka Salad (Radish/Tomato relish)

In our house (as in most houses in India), it was common to serve raw ‘salad type vegetables’ with the meals. We called it ‘salad’ though we ate it more like a relish along with all other food. The choice of vegetable to serve as ‘salad’ depended on what was in the season. Cucumbers, tomatoes in summer and radishes, carrots in winter. I love the one mummy made with radish and tomatoes. It is visually very appealing and very falvorful and her special touch was…

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Tahari

Tahari, a vegetables and rice dish, was a sunday lunch staple and was also prepared any time a sumptuous meal had to be prepared in a hurry. Mummy made this also on the day of Basant with yellow color of tahiri matching the yellow colors of Basant. Mummy made tahiri using gobhi (culiflower), matar (peas) and gajar (carrot) making this dish very colorful. Mummy was a stickler for finely grating the onions instead of chopping it. I think this made the onion masala really stick…

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Shimla Mirch Aaloo

Mummy made bharwan shimla mirch (stuffed green bell peppers) with the stuffing made out of potatoes flavored with methi and saunf (fenugreek and fennel seeds). Since the recipes for making stuffed peppers is more elaborate, she had a simpler version that provided all the flavors with half the fuss. In this version, she cut the green peppers and potatoes and prepared it with the same masala as the one used for stuffing. When I made this last week, we ate it with parathas (pan fried…

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Appams

The reaction from people of all ages who taste the appams for the first time is always the same – they find it delicious and they always assume that making it must be really complicated. I cant describe how surprised and pleased I was when Mummy introduced Appams to me several years ago in 2001 or 2002. I had eaten something similar in Bangalore but had no idea of how to make it. I was even more pleased to find out that Mummy had got…

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Simply Palak

Mummy thought about feeding us good food that was packed with good nutrition. One time when I was little anemic, she advised me to add more palak (spinach) in my diet. ‘Adding other ingredients like paneer or potatoes (as in usual spinach dishes like palak paneer and spinach with potatoes) will prevent you from eating lot of spinach’ she insisted. She gave me this spinach recipe with just 3 ingredients (not counting salt and oil) that allowed me to add more spinach to my diet…

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