The smells have wafted across the kitchen,
and the years alike…
still warm and luring.. still as reassuring…
We could never tell,
if it was the extra butter, or sugar,
or a pinch from the big blue jar,
she kept hidden inside the creaky cabinet.
We recently ran a contest called #MyKitchenDiaries asking you to share your answers to the following:
a) What’s your one favorite dish from childhood, your Mum/ Grandma could always pull-you-out-from-your-Hiding-Corner with?
b) And what do you think made it so Special, a Secret ingredient, the generous Helpings, or just all that Love?
We’ve been so overwhelmed by all the entries that we just had to share them with everyone! So here’s goes (prepare to salivate a whole lot! Good thing we warned you.)
“Aalo, pyaaz aur til ki chutney” (potato, onion and sesame chutney) only those from the hills, can identify with this dish. It is not actually a dish but an accompaniment. However, one can eat it with dal and rice, with parathas or even with plain rotis. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are no meal boundation for this chutney. And the way my mom prepared it, was out of this world. Just the waft of ground roasted sesame would increase my appetite like no other dish could. With a couple of slit green chillies in there – mom’s improvisation to the chutney – and the chutney could give any pickle a run for its taste.
– by Divya Rana (via facebook)
My grandmother made the most awesome pitle in the world and my mother follows in her footsteps. Pitle is like a thick sambar made with tamarind, toor dal, a ground spice paste and a wide variety of vegetables including but not limited to carrots, beans, bitter gourd, white pumpkin, yam, brinjal and even peanuts. They are added in a sequence to the cauldron of boiling water beginning with the slowest cooking like carrots and ending with brinjal. At least that’s the way my grandmother made it – she was always disappointed with my mother’s shortcut of cooking all the vegetables together! Every community that pitle it has its own recipe and every family, its own nuances and every generation its own shortcuts. Some even have a specific utensil that they cook it in. Pitle is also an excellent way of combining unused vegetables leftover from the rest of the week’s cooking. (b)For my brother and me, and for my numerous cousins spread across India and abroad, it is the shared food memory that binds us. It is soul food we have grown up eating at home that comes closest to communicating a sense of belonging to a community. Nothing beats the anticipation of a meal with pitle – a small mound of steam white rice, a dollop of ghee slowly melting on it, and over it goes a generous helping of pitle. I sometimes believe the problems of the world would cease to exist if we made and shared a meal of pitle with more people.
– Saritha Rao (via facebook)
My kitchen diaries there are so many things I still relish about my grandma’s n mom’s cooking! My grandma was a vegetarian but with love she would cook fish for us n also feed with her own hands! That no one can replace it! And my mom’s meatballs n sweet jaggery paratha which I still relish it whenever I’m visiting her it is that special simple ways of cooking n their love which goes into it makes it very special!
– Geetu Advani (via facebook)
My granny made the most superlicious, yummiest of gobhi paratha….till date I haven’t tasted another like them. Her secret ingredient was to add pomegranate seeds and cream in the dough and her touch and love coz even with same ingredients I could never replicate the taste……*nostalgia
– Nidhi Chandna (via facebook)
I always remember the cake my mom used to bake for us . She didnt have any sophisticated oven or baking tools, just a simple oval shaped baking container placed on sand and baked on a gas stove. The taste was heavenly – a simple sponge cake, no elaborate decorations. I remember taking it to school on food festival and it was empty in no time. Now I bake myself having all the latest gadgets in my kitchen but I still crave for that cake she baked. I know why it tasted so good, because she had added so much love into making it. I miss my mom and if I had the opportunity to time travel I would love to go back to my childhood. Love you mom.
– Ashvini Salunke (via facebook)
It isn’t necessarily a “pull-you-out-from-your-Hiding-Corner” dish but it is definitely something to look forward to whenever it’s made. My grandmother makes “thepla” but really, they are dhebra. Anytime she makes them, it’s always a treat – super fried, spicy, amazing goodness. Sometimes, they would be packed for roadtrips. Sometimes, they would be packed for picnics. Sometimes, she would make them just because it’s Sunday and there was nothing else going on. And each time, there would a discussion about whether they’re called thepla or dhebra. What makes it so special, you ask? Probably “just all that love” and memories.
– Prashna Bulsara (via facebook)
My Grandmum’s Akki Votti with kymbhu curry and my Mum’s Chicken Pulao and many more dishes. Its their special hand and LOVE!
– Sujaya Narula (via facebook)
I am indeed proud to say that I was the only granddaughter who spent quality time with my Maternal Grandpa. He used to tease my father and at that tender age I would get angry and bite him,scold him or even apply ink on his shirts while sleeping,since I was only kid he never scolded me instead he would carry me to the kitchen I would sit on the island slab and make Bread dipped in Egg,Sugar,Cinnamon Powder and we would give different stories of how he learnt this simple dish. After this we would go for a walk with our doggie Tommy and he get me a small (tiny) packet of Banana chips which I would finish before returning home.
SECRET INGREDIENT was the first grand-Daughter:Father relationship n during the time we spent together I was never scolded ,punished, advised for my naughty,witty childish talks later this made me woman who voices her opinion n decisions without the fear of being judged, now I feel sorry for my siblings and cousins who couldn’t spend time with him.
– Aishwarya Mahesh (via facebook)
Dodhi man Ghosht. I loved the sweet taste of Dodhi with cinnamon and mutton! It is not found in most Parsi cook books!
– Feroza Jussawalla (via facebook)
My India trips now and my fortnightly weekend specials back then have been deemed incomplete without mummy’s Chana masala, followed by her uber special gaajar halwa. Ever since I can remember, this bowlful of awesomeness served with her yummiest, softest and droolworthiest pooris have been something I used to WAIT for with utmost impatience . Whether it is the caramelized onions or lingering aroma of frying garlic in the Chana masala, or the locally powdered atta or that subtle crispy flake in the pooris, or the ghee fried DEEP RED Bombay carrots with the Pull-me-out-of-ANYWHERE wafts of crushed cardamom filling the warm Sunday afternoon air, or simply the unmatched loads of love, devotion and pampering that went into it all, this combo by mummy was, is and will forever be TO DIE FOR! *droooool*
– Kavita Rao (via facebook)
When I returned from school on blistering afternoons in Calcutta, my mother wouldwelcome me with ‘dal paani’. Incredibly ordinary stuff. It was the stock she kept asidefrom thedal she cooked. She added lemon juice to it. A pinch of salt and refrigerate it. Of all the wonderful things my mom made, somehow this stands apart. I would hold the steel tumbler with drops ofcondensation tricklingdown its chilled surface, throw back my head and gratefully go glug, glug, glug. Refreshing, healthy and elegantly simple.
– Pankaja Srinivasan (via facebook)
My mom’s “Tomato Sambar.” Yummmmmm. She made this for lunch and whatever was left over would be served for dinner. Do you think, there would be any leftover? No way. You are supposed to serve the sambar over rice and eat it, but I would literally drink it. I love sambar, period. No body can make it like she did. Miss you mommy and your wonderful cooking.
– Jyothi Krishnamurthy (via facebook)
My Mom singing chanda mama door ke to me watching out her bedroom window up at the bright stars when I was five years old. I also remember she bought me a kitchen set. Mom made my favorite besan ke ladoo & we would sit & have cookies & tea. I love my Mom.She is the best mom.
I can never forget the taste of besan ke ladoo she made, Us swad ko kohi bhi halwai match nahi kar sakta because it has the ingredient of Love.
– Hema Kumar (via facebook)
On the grocery list
Sometimes we would spot
“Kashmiri chillies” and “Cashew nuts”
Off Dad would go, returning
With newspaper wrapped
Parcels tied with string.
And Mum would put
Away the bright red chillies
And the creamy-white cashews
Carefully away from the
Eyes of the light-fingered
One Sunday afternoon
Unexpectedly with no guests
Awaited, neither birthday
Nor anniversary.. On the
Dented old aluminium
Plate, laid out symmetrically
Six Kashmiri chillies
A handful of cashews
Pink onions, a hand of ginger
Two heads of garlic
Cinnamon, cloves, poppy-seeds.
And you knew.
Early lunch because
Dad needs to rush off to his
Weekly card-game. He drums
His fingers impatiently as
The four women of the house
Laying the table, rolling
Rotis. Mum refuses
To hold the pressure-cooker
Under a cold tap. “It will
Take away the flavour.”
Finally, it arrives. Filling
The dining room with
Its fragrance. Redolent
We imagine, of houseboats,
Lovely maidens serenaded
By madcap swains. Someone
Gave Mum the recipe
– Sulekha Nair (via facebook)
I close my eyes and I can instantly smell a sweet milky aroma beckoning me to the kitchen. The warm aroma carries with it the most gentle hint of cardamom and earthy sweet carrots. From the doorway of the kitchen, I see my mother labouring away, the wooden spatula in her hand scrapes off any bits of the ‘halwa’ that dare to stick to the bottom of the cast iron kadhai. Her hair tied into a low loose bun and her garden chiffon saree drapped snugly, the pallu wrapped once around her waist and its end tucked in tight. She won’t let me have a taste. ‘Wait for the right colour’ she says. So she continues to labour away, constantly stirring the wooden spoon. She will not stop till the ‘Right Color’ arrives- a glossy bright hue between orange and red. Since waiting for the ‘carrot halwa’ to cool seems like an impossible task, we engage in a game of snakes and ladders. The halwa is served to me on a ceramic saucer, whose cup has long departed after a faithful fall. The taste of the halwa is a memory that brings with it joy to my heart and water to my mouth.
– Neha Mahyavanshi (via facebook)
a)” Do pyaza kathal (jackfruit) ” Though my mom is not present to feed me that scrumptious food but memory of her adept cooking of that dish makes me rejuvenate with the flavour n aroma of the same. I remember the fresh n raw jackfruits especially used to come from my village.No doubt the quality of jackfruits from my village would not be available anywhere in the vegetable shops.The way she roasted spices in mustard oil slowly n pieces of jackfruit got soaked with spices was incredible. b)sabut masala(condiments) as secret ingredient like cinnamon,nutmeg ,cloves,cardamom black pepper n bay leaves left the whole home brimmed over with its seeping smell. No longer we resisted our appetite to to gorge on the dish as moreover she poured her love.
– Tanuja Singh (via facebook)
My mom made the most exotic sweet and sour mango chutney in the world; we could eat it with rice, paratha, mathi, or simply lick on it endlessly, for there were two types, one with grated mangoes and the other with sliced ones.
Mom made it from mangoes that grew in our own orchard in Haldwani, near Naini Tal, and I’m sure the chutney carried the fragrance of our garden and of the breeze that came whistling down the beautiful hills!
– Satbir Chadha (via facebook)
Whatever my mom used to make for us used to be awesome but “arbi ki sukhi sabzi” used to be out of this world n u ask why..simply because my mother my ma used to n still makes for it….everything is special n no secret ingredient is needed when it is made by mother for her children.
– Juhi Upadhyay (via facebook)
Urad Dhal! Its perhaps not the most conventional dhal that children like but till date remains a favorite. I have made this many a times with her recently with her carefully guiding my every move but it is never the same. I think the special ingredient is of course her touch which can’t be replicated. But also, she’s known to order a very special urad dhal that a farmer far away from town brought into the local market to sell. I also think the fact that it was cooked on a traditional open flame stove with wood burning below really created that taste which I don’t think I can ever replicate no matter how hard I try.
– Prathna Tiwari (via facebook)
My mother was no chef, yet when it came to innovation and creativity I don’t think any one could match her. I still miss the Egg bhurji with cauliflower or boiled peas served with thin parathas, that we would get every time the cook was on leave….I think the special ingredient was just love.
– Payal Bansal (via facebook)
My mother makes so many wonderful dishes but the one nearest to my heart is a Roast Brinjal chutney or Begun Pora as we call it. It is generally made during winters when there is an abundance of big brinjals in the market. So, as our father and we siblings sit around a bonfire to keep the cold away, Mom brings a brinjal for us to roast.
In between swapping stories, sipping hot tea and taking turns in turning the brinjal, we make sure that the brinjal is not burnt and done properly. A chutney is then made with onions, chillies, tomatoes and coriander leaves. The smokiness of the chutney tastes best with hot steaming rice. I think it tastes so good as it’s a collective effort of the family.
– Navaneeta Nath (via facebook)
“Achar ke masale Ka parantha” is my favorite dish from childhood. Back then there was no buying achars and fag end of the year… Probably spring, only the masala remained in the big earthen jars. We ate thick paranthas with grooves filled with achar masala for our evening snack. The lasting memory a dish creates makes it so special… Call it cooking with love, or my moms/ grand moms speciality, it’s magic is in the memory, every time you think of it, it brings a smile to your face.
– Namrata Dalela (via facebook)
My maternal granmother used to make these oh sooo fragrant meethi rotis. She simply used to make more when I would ask het how is soo tasty. Once I had something similar in a classmate’s lucnhbox, and she told me its gur (jaggery ) and saunf (fenel) that lend the magic to these, ofcourse under patient loving slow tava baking .while these just melt in the mouth, the hot bihar thekua is a much crunchier version, which I discovered a couple of years back.droolll.
– Meera Narula (via facebook)
Three special women – could turn anything coming out of their kitchen into magical and exotic, however ordinary and mundane the dish may be…
Grandmom – Punjabi kadi with melt in the mouth pakodis, dipped in the smoothest besan gravy. Flavours of fenugreek seeds, ajwain, zeera and hing married together for a perfect happily ever after. Secret Ingredient – Water( believe it or not)
Mother in law – Suji Halwa – suji dry roasted to perfection, the ghee and cardamom aroma lingering way after the whole dish had been savoured. Secret Ingredient – Water.
Mom – matar pulao – The whole colony knew what was cooking, one patila was not enough ever…always left you wanting more…. Secret ingredient – Water.
Other than the common secret Ingredient water( the trick was in how they processed it, temperature, quantity and stage of use) another was, they loved what they were doing – creating a dish for the hungry, drooling lot – us.
– Meera Aggarwal (via facebook)
I have delicious memories of my childhood days when my grandma used to give us poha soaked in milk, sprinkled with jaggery, and garnished with grated coconut and chopped banana as a teatime snack…..yumm was the word!!
– Lily Nair (via facebook)
Granny’s Puran Polis’! The huge tava-sized polis were a meal in itself and I would end up having breakfast, lunch, snacks, as well as dinner of those. What made them special was, the clinking of granny’s bangles as she rolled them, the thump of the puran-loaded poli as she flipped it on the tava, the aroma of home-made ghee as it melted on the piping hot poli, and granny’s twinkling eyes full of warmth and love as she served us.
– Shrutika Dhake (via facebook)
For me, nostalgia spills when I think of me, my siblings, and various other cousins demanding that simple “chilke wala aloo” from my mom as kids.Those were times when the term ‘junk’ was not heard of , and we got a high on even the simplest of preparation.. We sat by the staircase that was adjacent to the kitchen window and which also led to the terrace in an old styled house, waiting for our piping hot aloo to be popped out through the window. Back then, feasting for us wasnt all about the grandeur of the set table with bone china crockeries, or the designer fork and spoon. It was just bare hands, solid steel plates, dhania pudina chutney as dip, unpeeled baby potatoes cut in halves, sauted just right in oil, jeera, hing, dhaniya powder , kashmiri mirch, haldi, salt, and, of course ma’s unconditional love and affection.
– Anita Sharma (via facebook)
The one dish that has not lost its appeal over the years for me is “Kelful” bhaji. It is a typical Maharashtrian dish made from the banana flower with loads of coconut, garlic and black chana. It has been the ultimate comfort food right from my hostel days to date, when I crave it in the US. It is quite laborious to clean the banana flower and the sap stains your hands! but I think the effort is all worth in the end when the vegetable is served hot on your plate with rotis and rice.
– Roohi Mandrekar (via facebook)
The dish would be ukarpendi – it is a preparation made of wheat floor and is awesomely hot !! it has only 3 ingredients – turmeric, salt, green chillies, Flour.But with that there is a huge nostalgia. My granny (she is no more) used to make it everyday when we returned from school. we also loved eating it everyday!!!
– Sanmitra Shrinivas (via facebook)
My fav dish frm childhood was FRUIT CUSTARD,my dad always made for us. Wenever our dad culd find possible tym he used to make this yummy sweet dish for us. Me n my sis never use to eat varried fruits🍎🍊🍓 but it was my dads fruit custard we always ate up all possible fruits via it. (B), I think my dads hardwork. Love for me n my sister n concern of providing us wit vital fruit nutrients made this dish very special 😘… my dad knew fruit custard was the only way he culd make us eat fruits so yay he kept making us fruit custards n he still does it for us….! One of my best n fav dish…💖
That one special dish which my grandma makes and the memories I could relate with my childhood is “kharwas” its made from condensed milk and looks like cheese but tastes very yumm and often eaten as a dessert. I would wait to go home from school wenever this dish was to be prepared. And my grandma adds her special touch to it by adding “kesar” to it which makes it stand different from other kharwas. It tempts me even with the thought of having my grandma made kharwas :p
@apurva.d2i (via instagram)
I only rememeber the hints of savour of my nani’s ‘maa ki daal’ and dip soaked rotis… who knows what her secret ingredients were. But i remember leaving all my friends and games behind and running to the kitchen the moment i heard the pressure cooker whistle, empty thali in hand, mouth watering ready fr the very first serving!! What made it especially special was the care with which she would make me sit in her lap, dip each tiny peice of roti in the daal, soak it till it got soft and soggy and feed me like a baby bird… it was beyond words~the taste, the flavour, the aroma , even the lingering after-taste!! Maa says it was the caramalized onion garnish she used, but well no matter what maa says even she never made the same daal ever again… sometimes i feel deprived at others lucky i got to ever taste something as heavenly from my nanis own hands… *mouthwatering* 🙂
@captarushi (via instagram)
The one favourite dish that i always loved having was Dal-Baati made by my Mom which had such a delicious taste that even today when it is made I couldnt resist having it.!! It was made with so much of love and affection and yes that extra ghee made it even more special.It really tasted so yummy for my tummy that I always wanted to have that in dinner.!!
@lee_3060 (via instagram)
My Mum used to make ‘Shrikhand’ and had to keep it away from me before i slurrp it down before everyone sits for a meal. She used to add Mangoes, Cardamom Powder and Kesar. But the #secret #ingredient used to be Pureed Mango Pulp that she added for flavour and texture and ofcourse love. Iam still DROOLING while writing! 😋
@nooneusesmyname (via instagram)
There was this mithai called godpapdi which my dadi would make.. Nd something i couldn’t resist it. That little extra pure ghee would do no harm.. Those were the days of being dadi’s favourite grandkid and eating godpapdi.. Special ingredient was ❤ PURE GHEE WITH PURE LOVE❤
@queenimeghani (via instagram)
My favorite dish from childhood is a dish called “Pindi Miryam”. I am mouth watering writing this too 😍 My grandmom makes it. It’s a very simple dish made of ridge gourd/snake gourd. Small pieces of boiled gourd is put in water and a bit of maida is mixed to make it semi solid and grinded green Mirchi is added. Once it is cooked, traditional tadka with lot of coriander is added.. It’s special to her and have never eaten anywhere else.. It tastes best with hot rice 😊😊😊🍛 The most special ingredient according to me apart from the grand mom’s love and affection is the chilli.. Spicy!!
My favorite dish was and still is Aloo ka Paratha! Every time I would be upset with my mom for not buying me a toy, a baloon or something I liked at the market she would compensate it by making me Aloo ka Paratha for breakfast/lunch the next day, that meal was a simple and easy way for my mom to get me out of the hiding corner, and make me smile 🙂 but the secret ingredient that made it all the more special was the white butter my Nanii and Mom prepared at home and served with the Paratha! Even the thought of it makes my mouth water 😛 I just relieved all my childhood days.
@miss_prettiness1 (via instagram)
krishnamaharana @jaypore : #MyKitchenDiaries : My favorite childhood dish was yummy cabbage kheer prepared by my sweet mom.I remember I used to hate cabbage sabji but had a sweet tooth so mom surprised me completely by serving me cabbage in such an innovative way.She used to garnish it with rose petals n it tasted heavenly 🙂 I think the efforts she made to make her kids eat what is good for their health n retain the taste too made the dishes tasty n it was served with so much love …dat no one can beat Maa ke haath ka khana .
adityathegunner @jaypore #MyKitchenDiaries like they say a way to a man’s heat is through his stomach same holds true for me. My favorite dish as a kid was Rajma Chawal ( I’m pretty sure it’s every Punjabi’s favorite. Lol ) what made it special was the love with which she made it..like they say when a mother cooks she puts her heart into it…that’s exactly what made it special for me
chinza_ @jaypore #mykitchendiaries my favorite was the aampanna my Grandmother used to make in summers of us it was always a perfect balance of sweet and sour ☺the special secret ingredient were the pieces of the raw mango in it…yummy!! I can totally get the taste of it even now 💕
divya_gattani @jaypore #MyKitchenDiaries My Fav Recipe from my Grandmother’s Kitchen is not anything fancy but very Desi and a recipe which is close to my heart. This recipe has taught me the Value of food & yes Fusion cooking. She used to make *Daal-Chawal-Masala* Parathas from the left over Chawal and Daal. U won’t be able to judge it used to taste soooo freaking yum! Thats the Goodness of food from her hand. 💛😊
ziminsta #MyKitchenDiaries @jaypore the recipe from my mum’s kitchen that i find absolutely unique and yum is “Pumpkin Kheer”. It’s different and its got this perfect blend of khoya (i think thats also called mawa) along with cream, milk and sugar and obviously the star – pumpkin. It’s as simple as it can get and i could lick the bowl in the end. It’s a dish that will always take me back to memories of my childhood (and obviously my darling mum) : )
madzster @jaypore #MyKitchenDiaries – The dish that always managed to lure me right into the kitchen was my mom’s famous Ghee Masala Dosa.. The heady intoxicating aroma of the spicy Potato Masala being made and then when it is delicately placed between the folds of a crisp orange-red Dosa , all a work of art! The #Secret #Ingredient ? Loads of home-made Desi ghee infused with affection
kriti629 She stood only 4 feet tall but was always bursting with energy. My badi naniji’s kitchen was a foodies dream come true. Very few get a chance to meet their great grandmas and I am a lucky lucky girl to have tasted her haath Ka khana. I cannot forget the taste of gajar ki kanji, a popular old world winter drink, while soaking the sun on her verandah in winters. I am pretty sure the secret ingredients were always immense amounts of patience while cooking and oodles of love for her children, grand children, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. She lived to be 97 and no one has ever been able to replicate the kanji after her passing. #mykitchendiaries @jaypore #MyKitchenDiaries
prriyankatanwar @jaypore #MyKitchenDiaries My favourite dish from my childhood is my mom’s aloo ki kachori..which she used to make on holi every year..and serve it with boondi ka raita..the secret ingredients were obviously her unconditional love and cute little ajwain seeds which used to add a unique flavour to it..no matter how much I try. .never have been able to replicate the blissful taste..