For many, the lockdown days have been the time to try out different things. Noted lyricist and professor at the Thalassery Brennen College, Madhu Vasudevan has been revisiting his childhood memories associated with the delicious culinary heritage of his hometown in Onattukara. Madhu has shared the pictures of a few local dishes that he had cooked on his Facebook page and even wrote an endearing note about it.
Madhu begins his Facebook post by saying that he is a ‘vayarukazhukipilla’ (a local term for the youngest child). As a kid, Madhu shared a very close bond with his mother and often accompanied her in the kitchen as well. “I learned many things as I liked being with my mother always; cooking is one of them. She hadn’t particularly taught me anything. However, I would watch her cutting the vegetables, grinding, adding the ingredients and even washing the vessels. One day I asked her how flavours were created. She said, “Son, there is flavour in everything. You only have to like it.’ Not just in the matters of food but what she said became true in all the instances in my life. I have no aversion to anything as I follow this principle. I do not show aversion to non-vegetarian food just because I don’t eat them. Moreover, my mother’s advice helped me enjoy the unique essence of all the art forms. I consider it a blessing from her,” wrote Madhu.
Madhu had stayed alone in different places as part of his studies and job. He says he never found any difficulty in feeding himself as he has always been passionate about cooking. He decided to cook some of his favourite dishes as he had more time to spare during the lockdown days.
Madhu writes he prefers listening to the beautiful concerts of Seetha Rajan and Seetha Narayanan while cooking. “I am very particular about two things when it comes to cooking. One, I have to finish cooking as soon as possible and the next is to clean the vessels that were used then itself.
Though I watch the cooking vlogs of Veena, Neetha, Nimasha, Anu and Mia I don’t follow their recipes. My aim is to recreate the dishes that my mother cooked for me as a kid. It would be 60-70% closer to my mother’s dishes. But, there is one item that I have not been able to nail. That is the wheat roti that my mother used to make by pressing her fingers on the dough over the tawa. I tried making them multiple times, but I couldn’t succeed in making it perfectly.
As the years passed, I realized there was a secret ingredient in the roti that she made. Apart from the wheat flour, coconut, sugar and cardamom, my mother would add her love for her favourite ‘vayarukazhukipilla’. How many of you, who speak with nostalgia about their mother’s cooking, can recognize this ‘big’ secret in their dishes?” Madhu concludes his Facebook post.