We all have a favorite dish our mothers and our grandmothers made for us as children, but today I am not writing about how my mother and grandmother make the best food in the world, it is more about the realization that our mothers and grandmothers are not always going to be around to make our favorite dishes for us. I learnt this the hard way when I was living in Chandigarh. I was pregnant with my first child and overwhelmed with a craving for a dish that was made for us in my mother’s home.
My strongest influence – as with most cooks – is my mother. She is my inspiration in life. Her passion and enthusiasm is expressed in the way she lives, in her work, in her love for her children and in the food she cooks for her family. I live in the same city as my mother and wisit every second week or so when she is in town. And every time I go home, my mother cooks up a storm of all my favourites. Last Sunday we went over after ages, she’d been travelling. My schedule in the interim had been extremely busy so it was a welcome break.
But a bowl of Khatta mug a lentil preparation was the perfect antidote, the sign of mom being around and all being well with the world. And with perfect timing since someone on my FB page had asked for the recipes. These three dishes from the vegetarian cuisine of Gujarat are an ideal Sunday meal, just add chapatis and steamed rice to complete.
Whole Moong beans cooked in beaten yogurt and spices.
1 c whole green moong, cooked (reserve cooking water
1 c sour yogurt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp green chilli-ginger paste
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Heat oil in vessel, add mustard seeds and let them splutter, add hing and curry leaves. Once leaves crackle (almost immediately ) add the green chilli - ginger paste and saute a little, do not allow it to burn or stick. Add the red chilli powder and the sour curds beaten with 1 cup water from cooking moong. Add turmeric and the cooked moong. Add salt to taste. Bring to boil and then simmer and adjust consistency if required. Gently mash some mung to give body to the curry. And let it simmer. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves and serve hot with hot steamed rice and Batata nu shack.
Potatoes cooked with tomato and Gujarati spices.
11/2 c potatoes, boiled peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
a pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
6 mm. (1/4") piece ginger, grated
1/2 tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp corriander-cumin seed (dhania-jeera) powder
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
For the garnish
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Place pan on a flame and heat oil. When hot add asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Add turmeric and chilli powder, green chilli and ginger. Add the tomato and allow to cook untill the tomatoes are soft. Add the potatoes, coriander-cumin seed powder, sugar and salt, mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve hot.
4 cups grated carrots
1 tbsp oil
A pinch of hing
2 green chillis, slit
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
Heat oil in a saucepan and when it is almost smoking add, mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. Let it all fry for about 15 seconds and add grated carrots and let carrots just about warm up. Take of flame and sprinkle hing, salt, lemon juice and fresh coriander. Toss well transfer to salad bowl and set aside until ready to eat.